Here’s another green/brown shieldbug I came across in the garden, lurking in a corner, possibly looking for somewhere to hibernate. This is the common green shieldbug.
According to the Wildlife Trusts, the black dots distinguish this from the southern green shieldbug. The common green was once restricted to Southern England, but has recently become widespread across much of England and Wales, due to the effects of climate change. Nature really is on the move because of the changing climate.
I found it upside down, as in the featured image. The crazy world of insects doesn’t bother much about gravity.
They’re also called stink bugs because of their reaction to being disturbed. I’ve never come across this feature.
Our small apple tree in a raised border by a fence usually has a crop of 20-30 smallish apples. About half of these are usually riddled with bugs and/or bird peckings. I don’t use any pesticides.
This year I recently picked the ‘crop’ – just ten apples, but each rather larger than usual. This summer’s weather must have somehow encouraged this by shining and raining at the right times, as I’d hardly bothered to thin them out.
The funny thing is, there were no blemishes on the apples, no peck marks, no bugs, no caterpillers, no sawfly larvae, no aphids… Now this is scary. We know about declining numbers of insects, but NO BUGS AT ALL? And no birds fancying a tasty peck? Even the army of slugs enabled by the lack of deterrent couldn’t be bothered to climb up.
I have never known such an occurrence before. Another piece of evidence of the alarming reduction in the natural world that is taking place before our eyes. What will future generations say when they look at David Attenborough’s films and literally cannot believe their eyes, and that this wonderful biodiversity was all lost by negligence?
So yes, there are more important things than unblemished apples.
The comma butterfly has a quite outrageous outline shape, supposedly helping as camouflage against a background of dead leaves. This was an occasional visitor to our garden, usually only seen on a few occasions during the summer.
You can’t see the comma that gives this butterfly its name from the top. For this you need to see the underside, as in this earlier post.
The colour match with the buddleia and phlox is not wonderful, but that’s where it deigned to linger…
New to me, this day flying moth, a Silver Y, was flitting about rapidly on the lavender, never staying still for a moment. Out of maybe 100 shots there were just a few that were not too badly blurred and relatively in focus. This was maybe the best, head-on, proboscis in flower.
Spring. What a great time to be spending a lot of time at home, when we are lucky enough to have a garden. The daily progression of some of the plants is quite remarkable. Here, individual allium flowers are just starting to come out, 6 petals and 6 stamens each; there was just a single one a couple of days ago. Just look how many individual flowers there are, burgeoning out. Soon it will be a huge ball of flower.
It’s nearly three years since I last saw a mint moth in the garden. It doesn’t mean they’ve not been around, they’re just so small (under 2 cm) and fleeting. This one was in a similar place, on a forget-me-not flower by a patch of oregano, which they’re said to like as well as mint.
These moths fly by day, as well as by night. Seen close up they have an amazingly furry body. This is probably the first of two breeds within the year in England.
This was a telephoto shot, whereas my previous post used the camera’s macro facility and is slightly sharper.
This plant is ubiquitous in our garden, the ultimate survivor which spreads rapidly in some areas every year. The patches are quite pleasing, with green variegated leaves all year and splashes of purple flower in spring/summer. But get in close and it’s magnificent!
The posh name is lamium purpureum, and the popular name is dead nettle, due to its resemblance to the common nettle but lack of a sting. With such close-up beauty, its third name, purple archangel, seems far more appropriate!
With the unusually sunny April weather, the fruit bushes/trees in the garden are all suddenly bursting forth in their various ways to flower and then fruit. Lockdown gives the time to look daily, and the speed of development is quite astonishing.
History suggests this development is perilously early, as the danger of a frosty night is ever present until June. We shall see.
Hoverflies love this fine weather we’ve had recently. It’s difficult to get a good shot when they’re hovering, but later in the afternoon they often settle for a bit of sunbathing, on a fence, or in this case by the pond.
It’s difficult to believe that we would only just be home from Houston according to our original travel plans. We’re just left with family Zoom time and memories, including this pretty bottle brush tree, one of my more successful ventures into gardening in Houston. This one flowers well, early in March. It’s easy to see why it has the name.
These plants originate from Australia. They appear to be happy with the Houston climate.
The most striking flowers in the garden at the moment are the blue muscari in the flower border and the yellow marsh marigolds by the pond, now taking over from fading daffodils and tulips.
Click twice to see an image full screen.
The name marsh marigold is said to refer to its use in medieval churches at Easter time as a tribute to the Virgin Mary (“Mary gold”.) Also known as water buttercup or kingcup, amongst many other names.
Blue muscari is also known as grape hyacinth, corresponding with the resemblance of its hanging urn-shaped flowers to bunches of grapes.
Now well established, both plants come back reliably year after year with little attention.
Having coffee in the spring sunshine today, on impulse I grabbed the camera to shoot some spring flowers. Then this over-wintered peacock butterfly presented him(/her)self, wings a bit raggy and faded, but still beautiful, first sunning himself then feeding on those very flowers.
Click twice to see those furry wings and body, antennae and feeding.
It’s the time of year for spiders in the UK. This garden spider was sitting in his web outside our patio window, just waiting to be photographed through the glass, or rather waiting for an insect to get caught in the sticky web.
According to the Wildlife Trusts, this is the UK’s most common orb web spider.
There it was, flowering in the garden. Familiar-looking and vermilion, but I couldn’t remember what it was called and ended up asking my far more knowledgeable neighbour. “Crocosmia” she said. I was none the wiser.
But I took a photo of one virile, prehistoric-looking budding stem because of reminded me of a dinosaur’s head – maybe a pterodactyl?
Fast forward a few days and we were talking again, me and Mrs Greenfingers next door, and she dropped into the conversation the other name for this flower, which I remembered right away. Montbretia.
I couldn’t help thinking that naming this version of the flower Lucifer was rather appropriate. It’s light and bright, and has a devilish look to it when seen from the angle photographed.