The single biggest problem they face is that I don't know which moth laid them and therefore finding the correct food plant for them is going to be a challenge. Moths tend to eat trees and shrubs such as ash, poplar, willow and rose, but many are plant-specific and will only feed on one or two types of plant material. The best I can do for them therefore is put as many of these native food sources as I can find in the box with them and hope one of them is the right one. Even so I have to say I am not overly hopeful for their survival.
A second batch of moth children arrived last night, hatching out on the wall in the breakfast room above the window which just shows how tiny their eggs are- I hadn't even known they were there! These ones have very small sharp hairs all over them, but I'm none the wiser as to species.
All our moth children are now in a big plastic container together (moved there very carefully with cocktail sticks because they are too tiny to handle with your fingers without damaging them) and they have everything from ash to hawthorn to fuchsia and rose in the pot with them. All I can do now is cross my fingers, wait and see if any survive, and look for holes on the plants as a clue to what, if anything, they are eating.
It was whilst I was hunting food plants for the moth children yesterday that I found an extremely tiny baby frog on the lane outside the house. Concerned he would be squished by a passing car I scooped him up (gently) and carried him back to the house (in no small amount of excitement I can tell you) where M took lots of pictures.
Denise (at the marvellous Much Malarkey Manor) had made me Very Jealous Indeed earlier this month with her tiny frog, but it's Alright Now because I have one of my very own. Isn't he sweet? A perfect miniature froglet.
I put him up by the pond where there is shelter, water and food in the form of grubs and insects so hopefully he will be OK and grow into a Large Frog. We do get froglets in the garden from time to time so I'm on more confident ground with him.
While collecting willow for the moth children I discovered these extraordinary eggs under one of the willow leaves. Stupidly, I brushed the accompanying very small spider away thinking they were moth eggs and she may be damaging them, only to discover after doing some research on their very distinctive shape that they were in fact spider eggs and she had been busy laying them! I felt terrible. Stupid Interfering Human. I was very cross with myself.
They are amazing things aren't they? And about twice the size of their mum, which is why I didn't put two and two together sooner.
You can see the female spider, of genus Paidiscura pallens, on top of the egg on the left.
As with the Moth Children, as I am responsible for moving these eggs from their tree I will now look after them and see if we can hatch them out and return them to the wild safely. Even though I am generally Not At All Keen On Spiders, these ones are tiny so I reckon I can just about cope, plus I owe them. I've also rescued some Large White butterfly eggs from M's cabbages (well, from M really) which we have waiting to hatch in another tub. Hopefully they won't contain parasitic wasps as has happened before.
It is a Time of Wild Children it seems.
Some other things going on in the garden include....
Cape Gooseberries Growing Well
(even if it does look like a hot air balloon. Don't let that fool you- you'd be in terrible trouble if you tried sailing off into the sunset underneath one of these. You'd last approximately 0.000005 points of a second before crashing)
M's Colourful Sunflowers Bedeck The Front Wall Cheerfully
Borage Blooms Beneath The Sunflowers In A Very Blue Sort Of Way
The Cinnabar Moth Children Are Now Officially FAT, bordering on OBESE
Because They Have Done THIS To All The Ragwort
(never mind pulling the stuff up by hand- all you need are some Very Hungry Indeed Cinnabar moth children and the job's done)
More Sunflowers Are On The Way
(this one, rather endearingly and appropriately, is called "Teddy." Which is the plant name by species, not a name I have Christened it with. I know I can be silly but I've not quite reached the level of giving individual plants people-type names- yet)
We've had some rain at long last...
Which refreshed everything (and washed the patio furniture so I don't have to. Thanks Rain :-)
The Plants had a wash too, and then turned their raindrops into show-off type jewels...
(wish the camera could capture smells- this one is beautiful and washes over you whenever you're near it.)
Wild Sweet Peas
Hollyhock (fab colour)
Having had Trouble With Butterflies at the start of the year, it seems that ever since getting fed up with my total and utter failure to photograph them and heading off to the Tropical Butterfly House, out Native Species have been flocking round me like no man's business, as if to prove that they are every bit as beautiful as their Fancier Foreign Cousins.
This Green Veined White was Sitting In The Greenhouse last night and was Pretty Amenable To Photographs, although not Remotely Amenable To Rescue, as I discovered to my cost when I tried to free her. I suspect this was because she was having far too much of a laugh watching me getting Wrapped Up In Squash Tendrils and Falling Into Tomato Plants as I tried to reach her. Has anyone else been Viciously Attacked by the Extremely Sharp Hairs on these plants this year?
And then today, whilst out walking with my lovely friend Mrs Massey and my lovely son L, and our lovely dogs Teddy and Oscar in Ampfield Woods, we saw these beautiful butterflies which are New For Me. Apologies for slightly dodgy pic quality, it was taken on my mobile, because how could I walk past and not get a picture?
Silver Washed Fritillary (male) on Common Fleabane
And then, the Most Remarkable Sight I have yet seen in terms of butterfly behaviour. A Green Veined White inside a squash flower.
You can just make her out deep inside the cup of the flower
I wonder if she was the same one from last night? She was there such a long time I almost started to get worried about her, but I've just checked and she's gone now, so All Is Well.
Right, I'm off to bring the washing in, sweep the floor of Cleo's room which looks like it's been carpeted with a Unique And Interesting Mixture of white fur, bird seeds, broken up Ted biscuits, bits of thread, tissues that have accidentally been through the wash and the odd ancient sock to a depth of several inches, but in reality is just covered in cat hair and Other General Utility Room Detritus because I've done no housework in it for several months; after that I have to clean up Teddy's watery sick which he's kindly left on his rug at my feet, collect the eggs from the hen house before the rats get them, heave L off the computer and forcibly eject him into the garden for some sunlight, and, oh, probably a thousand other jobs that need doing...
Till next time, enjoy whatever you are doing and have a pleasant evening all.