Gardening with Nature on the Edge of the Atlantic

The Little Picture

This Vapourer moth caterpillar has picked the perfect background to show off its dramatic coat – you could hardly call it a disguise! It always amazes me that I can find just one of these creatures a year when there must be many more around for the species to survive. This one was on a tiny wildflower on the gravel and I have no idea how it managed to get any food. I wish it luck.

I nearly missed this new wildflower to my garden as it was growing amongst some wild carrot plants. I think that it is Wild Angelica, Angelica Sylvestris although it is pink and has not chosen a damp part of the garden for its new home. I am hoping that it will become a permanent resident although the Common centaury (Centaurium erythraea) made an appearance two years in a row in the same area and then disappeared.

I don’t normally feed the birds in summer, but needed to use up the peanuts from last season. The most common visitors to the feeders are Blue and Great Tits, Greenfinches and sparrows. This is my only chance to see these birds, as they spend most of their time in the trees where it is almost impossible to catch sight of them. I can’t identify the bird in the top right corner.

This little Blue Tit looks as if it is having a quick nap which I am sure is well deserved.

I have dotted the copse with shrubs to soften the area and provide sheltered spaces for myself and the wildlife. The hydrangea like the cool shaded spaces and retain their vibrant colours for many months. It has become a very pleasant place to sit and relax and is far cry from the windswept area of the past.

The garden is full of Hairy shieldbugs this year. Usually, they congregate in the Sea and Wild carrot but this year they are favouring the Hebe and this Lamb’s Ear (Stachys byzantina). The latter is the perfect background for a photograph making it easy for me for once.

I think that this is a slightly younger Hairy shieldbug as it was almost a translucent orange in the sunshine.

I was fascinated by this wasp as it fed from the leek flower that I am hoping will provides seeds for my next crop. Unlike many of the bees that I see this individual seemed to draw a grid on the flower head and systematically worked its way around the whole flower missing nothing.

This wasp seemed totally unfazed by my presence as it set about its meal. I have never studied a wasp so closely and saw the beautiful yellow legs for the first time. They shone like gold in the sun.

This is another first in my garden. In fact, I have never seen a grasshopper (Omocestus virdulus) before. I only noticed it as it was hopping across an exposed piece of rock behind the house. Once in the greenery it was almost impossible to see so I don’t expect to be so lucky in the future.

The hydrangea enjoying one of the less frequent sunny days. The recent rain has taken its toll and they are becoming dull long before they should probably as they are more exposed than those in the copse.

The birds have been constant companions as I sit in the copse when the weather allows. On windless days the constant fluttering of wings is a nice background sound and is even soothing. I was rather disconcerted by what seemed like the occasional ‘crash’ but it appears to be the young birds ‘bashing’ into leaves as they manoeuvre through the dense trees and find their wings. This little robin is a constant.

This robin took at least five minutes to have a thorough wash and almost emptied the bath in the process. No concerns about water conservation here.

I finally managed to get a clear photograph of the tiny wine flower at the centre of the flower of this wild carrot. I do think that this is one of the most graceful wildflowers to populate my garden. It is a firm favourite with both the red soldier beetle and various shieldbugs who populate it in large numbers so it is useful as well as beautiful.

My cherry trees have decided that ‘Fall’ is truly here and started to change colour in early August. Much as I like the new coat, I would prefer to defer autumn for couple more months.


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