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Agreeing with my daughter.

11 comments


As many of you know my youngest girl, Victoria, is following a career in wildlife conservation. I’d like to think I had something to do with her choice as I have encouraged both my girls to consider the wildlife from being tiny. In the last 2 years she has focused particularly on the butterflies and moths that visit our garden. [Over 200 different species since lockdown March 2020]

In this time I have let some British natives, stay at the back of the borders whilst others have been specifically grown and planted in a more prominent place.

The blackthorn is now in flower and these 2 Small Tortoiseshell were having a feed on it yesterday.

About an hour later a rather tatty Comma butterfly stopped by for a feed. Probably lured from hibernation by the warmth and sunshine. Certainly lured me outside.

This beautiful Peacock butterfly happily sun bathed for about 15 minutes.

We also had a pair of Brimstones doing their courtship dance.

In the front garden next to the blackthorn I have left a couple of dandelions that I will deadhead regularly. They make excellent fuel stations for a range of insects virtually all year round.

Another Peacock settled and she also managed a close up of its ‘eye spot’. On my lap top you can zoom in on it and see the individual scales that make up the colours.

If wild flowers are not for you and you’d be surprised at what are British natives [Snakeshead fritillaries, primroses, cowslips, thrift, oxeye daisy, bugle to name just 6] then consider growing single flowers instead of the more showy doubles.

Doubles have extra petals and these have been made at the expense of male and female flower parts, so there is no pollen for the bees/moths/beetles and no nectaries to produce the nectar either. Some doubles produce very little viable seed, so again less food for the birds and small mammals.

If you hate mowing the grass then cut it less frequently, leaving it slightly longer then the clover and daisies can flower too. We are struggling to get OH to do this and I know he doesn’t like me leaving the stems over the winter. But he appreciates the wildlife that comes into the garden.

Oh whilst I remember found 3 lily beetles on the fritillaries today. Now as it is an alien I am more than happy to crush them.

Wonder how the plants and animals will cope if we get the snow they are threatening? Luckily I still have piles of leaflitter and logs dotted about.

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Comments

 

superb , nature is a great thing to have interest in,. wonderful photos . I always leave a part of longer grass too . We do get grasshoppers , I love garden for wildlife , we also have hedgehog, newt, and frogs also mice , not everyone happy I guess for mice but I love them

30 Mar, 2021

 

Lovely photos and wonderful to see all those butterflies so early in the year. You must also be very proud of your daughter's choice of career. I am trying to have something in flower throughout the year for the pollinators, and leave a small area of grass unmowed and the rest slightly longer to allow the clover, selfheal etc to flower. The warmth yesterday brought out the mining bees, they were flying low above the grass, soon I hope to see signs of their nests. Lots of ladybirds around as well, so pleased, as last year saw very few. What do you do about rosemary beetles? They are very pretty, but I think they are alien as well, are they very destructive?

31 Mar, 2021

 

Hi Numbersfarn, they are originally from southern Europe and the RHS advice is to tolerate them if you can as birds/frogs etc will happily pick the larvae off the plants. They suggest hand picking the beetles etc off plants in the garden. Or gently shake the plant with a sheet of newspaper underneath to collect them. They like lavender and sage as well as rosemary. I didnt find any last year but they are pretty widespread. The RHS have a reporting system if you find the.

Paul I totally agree and we have all that you mention and as long as the wood mice etc don't eat my seeds i am happy to see them.
The butterfly photos are Victoria's and that skill is going from strength to strength.

31 Mar, 2021

 

Very interesting and informative blog with smashing pics added, Eileen! I can understand your pride in both your girls. Victoria’s pics are fab, what a lovely nature she must have too.
I didn’t realise the beetles likes rosemary and sage too! Gosh, I’ll be keeping my eyes peeled.
My neighbour has given us some wildflower seeds, which we have to sow as soon as we can. I would love to keep the grass a bit longer, but, as it’s such a small patch of lawn, I think it looks so untidy in our garden. So, we try to have other options to maintain wildlife and keep them fed and happy. Plus the bund hill is a haven, fortunately, full of different naturalised plants at times.
Hopefully we don’t see any snow at all, next week..

31 Mar, 2021

 

Your daughter's photos are very clear - not easy to do with mobile subjects! Wonderful.
It's a useful reminder to us all to try and garden much more with wildlife in mind. We have been getting rid of most of our cabbagey DA roses (sacrilege, I know) because although they look beautiful I suspect that type is not much use to small buzzies. We also have very few double-flowered plants. I'm adding more conifers for winter bird protection (it was all deciduous here), and leaving stems to overwinter, so getting there.. Still got to work on OH re. cutting the grass less and installing a pond!
There are lots of really good wildlife gardening books out there. Perhaps we should start a blog to list them. Most of the ones I use would be available as second hand options.

31 Mar, 2021

 

That was a really interesting read and your daughter's photos are wonderful.

1 Apr, 2021

 

Thanks ladies.
Her photography has come on in leaps and bounds and she has lots of patience just to sit and wait.

1 Apr, 2021

 

It was lovely to see all those buterflies Seaburn! Your photography is brilliant getting them so close without them flying off! Everytime I get my camera out , whatever it is always flies away!
Are your lilies early or is it last years photo?

2 Apr, 2021

 

The butterfly photos are Victoria's so I cant take the credit, she was sitting still for hours. Flower photos are mine though Rose.

The lilies are just poking through, the last photo is an Crown Imperial fritillary, and sadly lily beetle like them too.

2 Apr, 2021

 

Victoria has made a super career choice, and well done to her on those lovely butterfly photos.🙂

4 Apr, 2021

 

Your daughter, Victoria, is obviously very patient so as to be able to get those wonderful butterfly photos!

I can't remember having seen any butterflies as yet this year. They seem to be getting scarcer as time goes by! 😞

It's the same with bees, I have seen a few just lately, but they also seem much scarcer. 😞 In fact one landed on the leaf of a plant on the balcony & I thought of taking a pic - the thought had hardly entered my mind when it flew away again! 😞 Must be camera shy! 😂

5 Apr, 2021

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