Garden Patrol

I make regular patrols round the garden, keeping an eye out for the nasties and trying to nip any problems in the bud.  Well, it sounds virtuous and it is a lot easier than weeding.

Happy lily

I keep an eye open for red lily beetle, so feared and hated in the U.K. but so far no problems here.  Perhaps in the countryside my lilies are more isolated and there are not enough hosts for the beetle to take hold.

It is good to see I am being helped in the garden. I’m not sure what the ladybird was eating but she was giving the Echinacea bud a thorough grooming. There are a lot of ladybirds in the garden this year on the flowers and on the vegetables.

I do tend to be distracted by the insects in the garden but the flowers and trees get attention too.

Pomegranate flower

Will the pomegranate grown from seed by my husband ever have fruit?

Hazelnuts ripening

The green hazelnut tree is coming on nicely.

Red hazelnuts ripening

The red hazelnut tree leaves are losing their dark red tinge and taking on a green colour now.  But who will get the most hazelnuts this year, us or that red squirrel that just discovered our garden last year?

Chestnuts just forming

Will we get chestnuts for the first time from our chestnut tree?

Then I check out the Buddleias for butterflies.  I planted them as they are extremely fast growing and smell very good when they are in flower, just what I needed to fill up the emptiness along the fence when we moved in to the house. I never regret planting them but they get heavily pruned with the chain saw in the autumn.

Swallow tail butterfly – Papilio machaon

However, I never have found them especially good at attract butterflies – but there is always the exception.

Papilio machaon chrysalis

Actually, I am sure it had nothing to do with the Buddleias.  It was really my tomatoes that attracted him into the garden.  I had found a chrysalis of the Swallowtail earlier on a tomato plant and it was empty when I went to check on it after I saw the butterfly.  I cannot prove it was the butterfly from the chrysalis as I did not see it emerge but I am tempted to think that my tomato plants do a better job at attracting butterflies than my Buddleias do.

Pink Hollyhock

Should I have more Hollyhocks next year?  They are very popular with my bumbles and I never have to sow them as they self seed.  I just have to dig up the seedling and put it where I want it; I like all the colours so what comes up will be a surprise.

The bumble bees seem to have so much fun in the Hollyhocks turning round and round and becoming coated in pollen.  I thought they were after the pollen but now I’m not sure.  I can see them drinking from the base of the stamens and they do not appear to be carrying excessively heavy pollen sacs.

There must be some nectar or sap which is worth collecting.  They seem to be only holding onto the stamens to give them a good grip to reach the base of the flower with their proboscis.

Oh well, back to the weeding.