Whether it is Cabbage Whites fluttering around your brassicas or Peacocks on the Buddleja they are everywhere at the minute, thanks to warm dry summers and a mild winter they are enjoying a bumper year in 2019. Wonderful and mesmerising as they are to watch as they make their delicate way around the flower beds they strike fear into the heart of any vegetable gardener. My Brussles were covered in a fine green mesh, to stop the butterflies but not harm the birds. However the Cabbage White butterfly could give the SAS or a Ninja lessons in covert tactics to find ways into impenetrable places! My brussles now look like this, as a result of the orgy the butterflies had inside the nice mesh protecting them from any predators!
Maybe I will just grow brassicas as a wildlife friendly gesture. It does make you wonder just how much nasty chemical we injest on Christmas day with our perfect shop bought Brussels. I do find you can normally just about keep the plants going by picking off all the eggs and caterpillars you can find and miracle growing the plants to help them produce more leaves. I don’t like using sprays on food and would rather take my chances. I have taken off the mesh in the hope that I may intice some birds to come and help themselves to Breakfast, Lunch and Tea!
All the talk of Butterflies this week did however get me thinking about how the Cabbage white finds the brassicas in the first place. Apparently their feet and legs have sense organs that can taste and females taste host plants in order to find appropriate places to lay their eggs. These receptors (called chemoreceptors) are nerve cells on the body’s surface which react to certain chemicals. We have similar receptors in our nose and on our tongue.
I have also spied, Brimstone,Red Admiral, Painted Lady and small Tortershell but they didn’t stay still long enough to take a photo. Before leaving this topic, there are only a few days left to enter the big butterfly count for this year. Head to https://www.bigbutterflycount.org and download the chart and send in the results of what you see.
Western power, Excitement in the garden on Tuesday morning, apparently there was an electricity cable that connected two housing estates running through the middle of a Rose bed a Herbaceous perennial bed, in full swing and running close to a lovely mature sycamore. They couldn’t narrow the fault down further than 20m either side of the middle of the rose bed and needed to dig a big hole! well by the time I had finished my 4 hour stint they had still not quite decided where to dig the hole, so sadly I will have to wait until next week to look upon the scene of carnage and devastation that awaits me. I really should have taken pictures of the ammount of men, trucks and diggers that were around but I didn’t think about it til later on. Apologies.
Returning to prettier thoughts, my Brown Sugar Dahlia is opening beautifully. I have made the front border corals and oranges as the brick is a very yellowy orange brick and red just looks dreadful against it. This Dahlia is looking fab with the Anemanthele, pheasant tail grass.
Continuing the orange theme, as it is one of the colours of the season, this is one of my favourite crocosmia, ‘Emily Mckenzie’ is much more of a burnt orange than the common variety. ‘Dusky Maiden’ is also a favourite of mine as it has bronze coloured leaves complimenting its orange flowers well. The yellow variety ‘George Davidson’ is slowly growing on me. I will try and get a picture for next week of it in the border which has started to sway my feelings.
I will leave you this week with my Wall of Beans! I was trying to see if you trained beans sideways, as you do with fruit trees, it would make them produce more beans. Well, firstly you need to be out there about 5 times a day re twyning the beans around the horizontal wires as they naturally curve upwards so they are sort or horizontal until I was busy for a day or so and then they sneaked back to vertical. However my wall of beans as saved loads of space over a wigwam or traditional bean row and allowed for secod sowings of Peas and Beetroot so it has not been a complete failure. We are harvesting beans now but I am not sure it has made much difference to the size of the harvest. Please ignore the running to seed lettuce we have not got round to eating! Happy days in the garden x