Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Of cabbages and kings...

Not too much to report for today. I had a relatively ‘awake’ day, which is always a bonus - unless you count my reluctance to shift myself from the settee in order to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors! Mind you, I kept myself busy with lots of admin work, so I wasn’t being a complete couch potato. However, I did make it out of the front door and into my garden towards the end of the afternoon, whereupon I clambered onto the roof to investigate my vegetable plot, had a natter with one of the neighbours, and had a decidedly one-sided conversation with my tomato plants.

The remaining cabbages continue to provide a feast for the local caterpillars and slugs, the former being mainly Small White butterfly (Pieris rapae) larvae, plus today, an as yet unidentified singleton. Fortunately, the adults seem to be ignoring the Curly Kale collection as a suitable egg-laying spot, with one exception, as come dinner preparation time, a cluster of small yellow eggs was discovered nestled under one leaf. Believed to be those of either the Large White (Pieris brassicae) or Small White butterfly, these are now residing in a container within our cottage, being lovingly tended by the Small Person.

Back down at ground level, the Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea) is continuing to flourish. My feet are very firmly in the pro-Ragwort camp - for some useful Ragwort information, see: - as it is such a valuable food source for not only the Cinnabar moth (Tyria jacobaeae) caterpillar (which feeds exclusively on the plant), but also for a whole host of wonderful buzzing insects, and I welcome the plant’s annual return to our garden with open arms! The back garden sunflower is happily proving very attractive to all manner of ‘mini-beasts’, as are those around the front of the house. Today’s visitors included the usual black ants (Lasius niger), an oh-so-shiny metallic green fly (species unknown - I’m ashamed to say that my dipteran identification skills are akin to those of wannabe ornithologists when first presented with a warbler, or other ‘lbj’…), and a cheeky-looking froghopper (Philaenus spumarius), now freed from its protective ‘cuckoo spit’ protection. And, whilst inspecting my pea pods, a Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) settled on the wall to bask momentarily in the early evening sun.

Meanwhile, just in time for dinner, my OH arrived home, bright-eyed and enthusiastic after a day spent ‘botanising’. As well as a passionate regaling of a most enjoyable day, he came armed with surprise gifts from his botany mentor - a beautiful home-grown bouquet of fresh herbs for me, a handful of huge, organic peas for the Small Person (with specific instructions that only she should do the shelling), and a pale green gourd for all the family to share. The peas soon made their way to the vegetable steamer, contributing to a much-appreciated (and eagerly-devoured) feast of home-grown goodies!

Tomorrow, all being well, I hope to spend some time working on a piece of land that myself and friends are converting into a wildlife garden, but that project deserves a post all of its own, so that’s me for today.

Best wishes to all.

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