And so to Houghton Lodge, which boasts what I have been mistakenly calling a hypochondriac all week because my rather tired brain couldn't muster sufficient cell wattage to drag up the real word, which is of course hydroponicum: a novel way of growing plants without soil.
This is from the website: "Hydroponics is a way of gardening without using soil. Instead plants are successfully grown in a nutrient enriched perlite and vermiculite base (so light, it is miraculous for those of us with bad backs – there are no more heavy bags of compost to lift!). It is used extensively for the commercial production of tomatoes, lettuces, flowers etc."
If that is hard to visualise here is a picture....
They looked a tad anaemic to me, but they were growing. Undoubtedly.
Houghton Lodge was built as a fishing lodge around 1800 and has provided the setting for several BBC dramas (Wilde, The Buccaneers, the odd Miss Marple). It has acres of pretty gardens and a lovely stretch of the River Test where I spent quite a lot of time dragging M round the banks looking for Water Voles (to No Avail). Oh, and there is also an Orchid House full of enigmatic-looking plants...
I do have more Ancient Houses to show you from this week (particularly a 14th Century Manor where I very nearly met TVBF No 1 (as hinted at yesterday), and where M was very nearly cast as an extra in Wolf Hall), but as I don't want to Over-Excite you all I shall save those for another time.
So by way of a contrast with Old Houses, here are some pics of a recent Moth Outing to keep you all going (until next week when the box will be out again and a Fresh Batch will be here). I was hoping to get the box out tonight, but it is raining :-(
I haven't totted the moths from this batch up yet, but we're already over 150 species for the year so I'd say we're On Target to go beyond last year's total of a little over 300, which is great. We've also had a new flutter in the garden- a Large Skipper. I saw three today- they've never been here before so I am hoping this is a result of the changes I've made to the food plants in the garden :-)
The keen-eyed among you will notice that the first two pics are not in fact of moths - they are a first instar common shield bug (Bit Gorgeous) and what off the top of my head is I think a nettle weevil respectively. Both found in the garden this week and therefore added to the sixty species of insect I have so far noted down for this year in my garden survey. Sadly, I rather suspect the weevil is dead, but I liked the way the camera has captured the individual drops of moisture on the flora so I have included him here.....
|First instar common shield bug (a baby)|
|Dead Nettle weevil (or else very good at playing statues)|
|And another Buff Arches I discovered holding on to a stem outside|
And this one is a Common Footman....
The Elephant Hawkmoths are here in abundance now- six in the box this week....
This little moth has a Big Name For A Small Person- Lozotaeniodes formosana only measures a few millimeters in length but is an amazingly patterned and coloured creature.
The Peppereds (evolution in action) are still present, although so far this year I've only seen two of the Melanistic forms (but that's two up on last year so who's complaining?)
Riband moths come in two distinct colour choices, both of which are present in our garden and helpfully showed up in the same batch so I could include them here...
This is the Small version of the Angle Shades. I always think they look like they're wearing Velvet Cloaks....
And finally, a moth I have only seen in pillar form before. This is a Vapourer and I was jolly glad to make his acquaintance. I say he with confidence, because his wife has no wings and can't fly :-(
The disgusting back-drop he is taking his own life in his hands to sit on is one of our window sills....my house-keeping just doesn't get any better, does it? I think we must all be proof against every germ that exists in the world, given the grime we are exposed to, as aptly illustrated by the murk on that window sill. Yuk.
Have a nice evening all,