I thought I’d link with Flutter and Hum and her Wednesday Vignette, visit to see some interesting combinations and there aren’t always plants!
On Thursday I showed a small butterfly that I saw while taking images for my post about the Slope on Thursday. From a quick look through my Collins Butterfly guide to Britain and Europe (why is it not just Europe, Britain is part of Europe isn’t it?) I had thought it was a Skipper. Continue reading
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
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.
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.
Today I saw a butterfly I don’t remember ever seeing before. It was happily feeding on Sedum flowers that are just opening now; it seemed unconcerned that it was sharing the nectar with several honey bees.
I think it is Lang’s Short-Tailed Blue, Syntarucus pirthous. Any better ideas please let me know!
The gardens is full of butterflies and bees. They love the Lavender (this is a good reason to keep it).
I have seen Swallowtail butterflies, a black and white butterfly that comes rarely to the garden that I never manage to photograph and there was a mucher larger humming bird hawk moth, again it was too quick for me. Even the bees tempt me because they seem slow only to fly off as the press the shutter; I have numerous images of only sprigs of lavender when I hoped I was taking bees or butterflies drink necter.
I usually cut the flowers off the santolina before they open as I don’t like their colour, but having left them this year, I find they are visited by numerous different insects, so perhaps I should always leave the flowers for them.
And these are from last month that didn’t find their way into a post.
But not all the visitors are harmless. Rosa Molineux has been ravaged by one kind of insect that I’ve not noticed in the garden in other years.
So if you know what they are, what can I do about them (organically).
I can’t leave you with this horrible image, so here’s a swallowtail from last month.
I used to be terrified of wasps but now, in the garden, I’m happy to see them – they eat aphids, here on Sedum, and butterfly eggs and cabbage white butterfly eggs and small caterpillars. The sedums looked really sick, ants were milking the aphids until the wasps arrived to clean things up.
And there are always lizards who don’t usually wait around to be photographed!