|Mines on False Oat-grass, Arrhenatherum elatium.|
Byfield, Northants. 17 June, 2015
Yesterday morning (Wednesday, 18 June) I had a stroll along the edge of Byfield Pocket Park and was much exercised by leaf mines on False Oat-grass. Many leaves had been affected but whatever had created them had up and gone. The most likely culprit seems to be a tiny moth, Elachista gangabella, known as the Yellow-barred Dwarf. But without the larva or imago (adult) I can't make a positive identification, and there are other possibilities.
|Gorse Shieldbug in my garden|
Stefen Hill, Daventry. 17 June, 2015
We were off in the evening to Wardington, visiting Pettifers, a very fine garden much featured in gardening magazines. It was an outing arranged by the Boddington and District Gardening Association. The backbone of the garden consisted of - perhaps predictably - fairly mundane plants. Rare and unusual plants are all very well but dependable and long-flowering species are required for a good basis.
|Linaria dalmatica showing the long spurs on the flowers.|
Pettifers, Wardington, Oxon. 17 June, 2015
I was much taken with a glaucous-leaved toadflax, Linaria dalmatica. Toadflaxes are closely related to snapdragons but the former have petals so shaped as to form long spurs. These structures, which contain nectar, can be easily seen in the picture. Dalmatia, a long coastal region of Croatia, has produced many fine plants and I have Geranium dalmaticum in my front garden at the moment.
|Aquilegia petals are also spurred.|
Stefen Hill, Daventry. 19 June, 2015
Speaking of spurs, Aquilegia plants, though quite unrelated to toadflaxes, bear a similar structure. The word Aquilegia refers of course to an eagle (Latin aquila - eagle) as a spurred petal bears a fanciful resemblance to an eagle's bill.
|A petal showing the hooked eagle's bill.|
The shape becomes more obvious if a single petal is removed, showing the hooked bill facing left. It is so tempting to get a ball-pen and draw in an eye.
|Tropaeolum speciosum at Pettifers.|
17 June, 2015
|This Rhamnus species (Rhamnus cathartica?) formed|
a large tree at Pettifers. 17 June, 2015
I wandered around as the evening gloom began to descend, very much enjoying the wealth of plants but by now I was almost alone. It was time to join the others in the house where wine was being served.
All in all I was too busy to feel ill and it turned out to be a very interesting day.