a french garden

Big fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite them

6 Comments

Check out the red mite or tick on the side of the fly!

The vermin only teaze and pinch

Their foes superior by an inch.

So, naturalists observe, a flea

Has smaller fleas that on him prey;

And these have smaller still to bite ’em,

And so proceed ad infinitum.

Taken from “On Poetry: a Rhapsody“, Jonathon Swift (1733)

I was taken aback when I saw this robber fly on my hydrangea about to tuck into a smaller fly while he himself was being made a meal of by a red tick or mite on his side.

So what’s inside the mite – bacteria, ‘phages, viruses, prions?  Mmm, first poetry, next philosophy, I think I prefer to keep to observation.

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Author: afrenchgarden

Born in Scotland I have lived in England, Iran, USA and Greece. The house and land was bought twelve years ago in fulfilment of the dream of living in France that my Francophile husband nurtured. We had spent frequent holidays in France touring the more northerly parts and enjoying the food, scenery, architecture and of course gardens. However, we felt that to retire in France and enjoy a more clement climate than we currently had in Aberdeen we would need to find somewhere south of the river Loire but not too south to make returning to visit the UK onerous. The year 2000 saw us buying our house and setting it up to receive us and the family on holidays. The garden was more a field and we were helped by my son to remove the fencing that had separated the previous owners’ goats, sheep and chickens. We did inherit some lovely old trees and decided to plant more fruit trees that would survive and mature with the minimum of care until we took up permanent residence. The move took place in 2006 and the love hate relation with the “garden” started. There was so much to do in the house that there was little energy left for the hard tasks in the garden. It was very much a slow process and a steep learning curve. Expenditures have been kept to a minimum. The majority of the plants have been cuttings and I try to gather seeds wherever I can. The fruit trees have all been bought but we have tender hearts and cannot resist the little unloved shrub at a discount price and take it as a matter of honour to nurse it back to health. This year I have launched my Blog hoping to reach out to other gardeners in other countries. My aim is to make a garden for people to enjoy, providing shady and sunny spots with plants that enjoy living in this area with its limestone based subsoil and low rainfall in a warm summer. Exchanging ideas and exploring mutual problems will enrich my experience trying to form my French garden.

6 thoughts on “Big fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite them

  1. Eek! Brilliant buggy post. Super picture and the poem just caps it all off to perfection,

    Like

  2. Great observation, and so the world of nature is full of attackers and foes, only man has as his greatest adversary other men! Christina

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  3. This insect is a robber fly. The family Asilidae.

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    • Thank you for the identification, I was not inferring that it was a flea in the literal sense more that it was an insect (like the flea) that is not held in high regard by humans. Are you an insect enthousiast?

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