April 8th 2016 No apologies

I mentioned that we have been walking in the local lanes as part of my husband’s rehabilitation; it is a great time of year to be doing this as day by day the wild flowers are beginning to flower just as much as in the garden.

A couple of day’s ago Richard returned full of excitement; he had just seen one of the sheep in a field very close to us give birth; well, to be totally honest  he didn’t witness the actual birth but he arrived on the scene moments later when the umbilical cord was still attached to the lamb and it had just got to its feet.  The following day I went too; this may or may not be the lamb he saw!

New lambs are so snowy white in comparison to their mothers

New lambs are so snowy white in comparison to their mothers

It is unlikely that the two lambs are twins; they aren’t bred for that here; the lambs are a by-product of the need for the ewes to produce milk for our local famous Pecorino cheese. Continue reading

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Making me smile this week 3rd February 2016

Weather-wise it has been a mixed week with a couple of days of really warm sunshine and blue skies and the rest rather grey with a cold wind.  On Monday I began pruning the wisteria on the pergola at the front of the house.  I wish I’d taken a photograph immediately as the new structure against the blue sky was really making me smile a lot, against the grey sky today it looks far less impressive.  Continue reading

Looking good today – 13th November

I’m not managing to post as much as I would like at present.  I’m working in the garden more than writing about it, plus I am still having issues with our internet, often too slow to upload even the smallest image.  Hopefully today I will be able to join Gillian and her ‘Looking good’ meme. Continue reading

The Slope on Thursday 23rd October and Olive oil update

Firstly I’d like to thank you for making my 500th post such a special event.  More people than ever before joined in with a post about the foliage in their garden, or a particular plant or foliage seen on a visit to an arboretum or a nursery.  If you haven’t read them all you can find the links in yesterday’s post. Continue reading

The slope on Thursday – A little autumn colour!

Monday and Tuesday were perfect autumn days; perfect gardening days too!  Sunny, warm but not too hot it was a pleasure to be in the garden.  Wednesday afternoon brought sheet lightening, thunder and lots of rain which continued intermittently overnight and into the early morning.  There is a strong breeze too today making the drying leaves rustle on the trees.

I know that autumn is here even if I want to live in denial a little longer; I know because the days are becoming shorter but I know most because the shield bugs are coming into the house to find suitable hibernation sites, I carefully remove them, not daring to squash them because of the pungent, long-lasting odour they emit.  I’m sure that during summer they don’t produce the odour so it seems to be a way of protecting themselves while they are hiding.  Strangely I have the impression that very few survive the hibernation process as I find lots of darkly coloured ones dead.  There are many kinds of shield bug (aptly called smelly ones in Italian), the type that come into the house are, I think, Piezodorus lituratus or gorse shield bug; the name obviously references the bad smell they emit. Continue reading

A Butterfly Day

Monday was a lovely day in the garden, the sky had scudding clouds and it was windy, for some reason the butterflies thought it a perfect day and fluttered about every time I passed any of the plants they were feeding from.  The wind, of course, made it challenging to photograph them, but here are a few I managed to capture.

This moth was flying by day, not sure what it is on this Sedum

Either a long or Lang’s short-tailed blue (you’d think it would be easy to tell them apart!

Silver studded blue?

With the wings open you can see why they are ‘blues’ – closed you can’t see the blue at all

This one definately looks like it has long tails!  Feeding on the newly flowering rosemary

The caterpillar of the Swallowtail butterfly likes fennel to feed on and to make its chrysalis.

The first picture was in the morning, by early evening it had climbed up to the fronds of the fennel where they usually make their chrysalis.

There was a Swallowtail flying around in the morning but it wouldn’t settle to be photographed.  I think it was confused as I have Brassicas in the same bed as the fennel, in fact they are now rather swamping the fennel so the butterfly could sense there was fennel somewhere about but couldn’t quite locate it.  Just shows it’s worth planting different smelling things together to confuse predators.  The fennel would have been more obvious when the eggs were laid of this caterpillar.

Not just butterflies – I found a stick insect on the wall, if they are on sticks they are usually invisible.

I’ve never seen so many Carpenter bees in the garden all at once as there were on Monday. This was alone feeding on Salvia

But there were dozens on the Perovskia

They look like shadows in the image, I hope you can see them.