Saturday, 18 July 2015

Pottering around the garden

Our front and back gardens, combined, are quite small. Nevertheless, whenever I go to water plants, do a spot of weeding or dead-heading, I always have my camera with me. The chances of finding a rarity are almost zilch but the commonplace can be of great interest. And you never know...
Epiphyas postvittana on garden furniture. Stefen Hill,
Daventry.  30 May, 2015

A small moth fluttered past my head and settled on a garden chair. It was a Light Brown Apple Moth, Epiphyas postvittana, and it obligingly waited until I had a picture before making off. Ordinary? Well, not really for it is an Australian moth which appears to have been accidentally introduced into Cornwall sometime in the 1930's and has since spread rapidly to become a very common insect.

The front garden is taking shape and the general appearance I find pleasing although some changes will be made over the next month or so.
Allium nigrum in a back border at Trinity Close

A tall onion has popped up in the back garden. From whence it came I know not. In fact I wasn't even certain that was an onion; it had no alliaceous smell - or if it had it was very faint - and I thought it could be an Ornithogalum (a genus known collectively as Stars of Bethlehem). In fact I was able to identify it as Allium nigrum, a handsome plant that is very welcome. Chris told me later that it was one of a batch of bulbs she had planted last autumn. 

Moving on a month the Passion Flowers are now in bloom. They look exotic and indeed are exotic, with the species we grow, Passiflora caerulea, hailing from South America.
Nevertheless it is very hardy (although some of its close relatives are distinctly tender).

Passiflora caerulea, a white form. Trinity Close,
Daventry.  14 July, 2015

We have a white and a blue specimen and, although I thought twice before planting them I am pleased to note that they do attract some wildlife.

A hoverfly was investigating when I went out to inspect. I made no attempt to catch it and am assuming that it is a species of Syrphus.

The slightly bluer and more 'authentic' form finds a home at the end of the garden. It is not, theoretically, an ideal spot but it seems to be doing well.

The mines of Chromatomyia horticola on a hollyhock
seedling, Trinity Close.  10 July, 2015
I have a few seedlings of hollyhock, Alcea rosea, growing nicely in pots. One of them bore a mine formed by the larvae of an agromyzid fly, Chromatomyia horticola. I suspect it will do little harm but I'd rather it wasn't there. Oddly enough, some mature hollyhocks in the border are untouched.

Aquilegia mined by Phytomyza aquilegiae.
Trinity Close, Daventry.  18 July, 2015

Mines, this time in the form of a blotch, were also disfiguring Aquilegia leaves. The insect responsible is Phytomyza aquiligiae, a common pest of this plant. It too is an agromyzid fly.

No doubt I'll find other mines ere the season is over, but this record takes me to the 100 total of invertebrates recorded in our little garden.

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