Beauty and the Bugs

I am always slightly disappointed when I find a new creature described as ‘common’, when they seem very exotic to me. I rescued this Rose Chafer from the dogs a few days ago as it emerged from the cuttings in the herbaceous border. It was positively luminous and the photograph does not do it justice. Apparently they favour roses but maybe this one has a varied diet.

I thought I was very clever this year in my efforts to save the Clematis flowers from the annual field mice/voles feeding frenzy. I covered the low drystone walls with the cuttings from the nearby Pyracantha with very satisfactory results. Sadly, I did not extend the practice to the Clematis Montana Grandiflora and the contrast is striking.

Clematis Montana Grandiflora

The only flowers that survive the small creatures are those that are high enough above the plant to require mountain climbing skills. If last year is anything to go by the foliage will survive the onslaught once the flowers have gone.

I am still playing with the design of the garden whilst the weather plays with my ideas. I have been trying to line a curved walk with resilient trees that provide early blossom. The cherry and crab apple trees are doing very well despite the exposure and this photograph was taken this spring just two years after planting. However, there is one stubborn corner where nothing survives. I will have to work out what the problem is before I consign another tree to  death.

The wildflowers are taking over in the new beds in the copse where I have planted a few more shrubs. I have yet to see a cluster of flowers that clashes and these two ramping-fumitory and groundsel are no exception.

This is another ‘common’ bug that is new to me. I found it difficult to identify as this specimen had a distinctive amber green thorax where most examples were all black – it is probably a Bibio marci fly or one of the Bibio species. While they like hedgerows and meadows this one spent the afternoon on the rug hanging on the line so maybe it has refined tastes.

My herbaceous border is full of bugs, but compared to many other gardens the flowers seem to be emerging late. This Dicentra ‘Burning Hearts’ is one of the few to show face. I don’t blame it as warm sunny days have been few this year and the wind can still be blistering.

I am very fond of this lantern but have to find a new home somewhere else in the garden as it is only visible in Winter and Spring and it is completely hidden by the neighbouring herbaceous plants all still reluctant to emerge.

I love the architectural appearance of massed Ribwort plantain flowers. It is a good thing as they have found the perfect home here as they would cover every space if I did not remove a few.

While I think that this is a Hairy Shieldbug it is a very unfortunate name as it does not do justice to the beauty of the creature. I do not usually see them at this time of the year but my herbaceous border is proving to be a gathering place for many insects. I would like to think that my practice of leaving all foliage until April is helping them.

Another successful pairing of wildflowers the Creeping buttercup and Ground-ivy. I have mixed feelings about the former as its name should be galloping buttercup to reflect how quickly it spreads. It can also be as difficult as dock to remove so any culling has to be done early.

It is hard to list all of the merits of ground ivy which provides a carpet of flowers for months on end and is very popular with bumble bees. It is only surpassed by the of flowers of Ajuga reptans shown against a background of oregano in my rockery. Sadly the bumble bees are too quick for my photography skills.


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