Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Unexpected Item In The Potting Area

If you share the rather relaxed attitude to the garden that I have, you can often come across unexpected lovely, and sometimes not so lovely things, small pleasures which tidier gardens may miss out on. 

There are weeds. I know there are weeds.

In fact there are quite a lot of "arisings" which have not yet made their way to the "unplaisance". But lots of things come up in the garden which can turn out to have  beneficial effects. Now I'm obviously not talking about horrors like Couch Grass and Bindweed here, and I do my gardeners best to keep such things at bay, but I do allow many things to self seed, and if I like the look of them when they grow I just leave them. Even if it looks to someone else like I have just failed to weed properly.

So the little bit of apple mint by the strawberry bed has turned into a bit of a hedge, and likewisethe odd comfrey plant in the path. But passing the apple mint yesterday on my way to the greenhouse, I noticed this eye catching chap

so I had a closer look, decided I didn't know what it was, and had to nip indoors and check it out online. Turns out it's a Scarlet Tiger Moth (Callimorpha dominula), -the scarlet bit's on the underside so you see it when it flies off - and it loves to feed on comfrey! So that's my bit for wildlife, and a good excuse for leaving the comfrey growing in the path. Bees also love comfrey flowers, so it's useful for the "June gap" when early flowers are over and high summer ones not yet out.
So anyway,when I eventually got to the greenhouse, the first seed tray I lifted revealed this somewhat warty gentleman having a nice after lunch siesta. We seem to have a healthy population of frogs and toads, despite the presence of grass snakes, I guess it's all a question of balance. One thing we don't have a major problem with is slugs though, this rather fat toad looks as though he's been enjoying regular slug banquets.
It was all he could manage to do to waddle off (toads tend to walk rather than hop like frogs) in a huff to find a quieter spot where no one would come along poking about with trowels and generally ruining the ambiance of the restaurant.

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