Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Dilly-dallying around Danetre

Daventry, or to use its old name, Danetre, has lots of little areas of greenery around the town centre, but probably no more or less than the average town of its size. Today, with my small amount of shopping complete, I strolled around in my usual nosy fashion to see what traces of wildlife could be found. I use the word 'traces' as realistically nothing dramatic was likely to be discovered.

I dumped my shopping in the car and wandered off in the direction of Homebase (there are some convenient conveniences there) passing some scruffy blackthorn shrubs at the edge of the car park. The leaf margins bore pustules caused by a mite,  Eriophyes similis. This will occasionally attack domestic plums but, other than being disfiguring, it causes no harm.

Unsightly but causing little harm. Eriophyes similis causes pustules
 on leaves of blackthorn. Daventry town centre. 21 August, 2018
For some strange reason a plant of Swiss Chard had been planted in a concrete container along with more conventional plants such as Hylotelephium spectabile (formerly known as Sedum spectabile).
Swiss Chard is an attractive species but it was still a surprise to see it used in
an ornamental planter. Daventry, 21 August, 2018
One leaf of the chard bore a huge discoloured patch caused by the leaf miner Pegomyia hyoscyami. This was a new record for me, making me inordinately pleased.
The fly Pegomyia hyoscyami had caused large patches on the leaves.

This will attack beetroot too (a close relative of chard) but is not really a problem as the affected leaf can be simply picked off and discarded.

I was rather surprised to find ivy already in bloom as I tend to associate its flowers with autumn. Bees will not complain as the flowers are very rich in nectar.

Is mid-August an early date for ivy to bloom?
Daventry town centre. 21 August, 2018
Bees were also busy at flowers of Hypericum calycinum but for a different reason. The R.H.S. suggests that 'Hypericum provides bees with pollen and nectar'. In this they are wrong: there is pollen in abundance but no nectar is produced. Furthermore, despite the busyness of the bees this species, known as the Rose of Sharon, only occasionally produces seed.

Hypericum flowers yield no nectar but bees readily visit them for the
 abundant pollen. Daventry town centre, 21 August 2018

So there Dear Reader, you have it. Just enough interest to make my dilly-dallying worth while.


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