Friday, 10 July 2015

A Beautiful Unexpected Visitor, But Not Everyone Is Pleased....

Hot here today.

The dogs and I have been hugging the shade, except for the times Ted has lain out in the full sun, panting. Daft Creature.

Pop has been content to flop out in the shade because yesterday she started marathon training with her dad. They did a twelve mile run together and were out for about an hour and a half. She returned gratifyingly exhausted and hasn't quite got her mojo back yet today, for which we are all grateful as there's been a deal less bouncing, licking and cleaning Ted's teeth than is usual in this house (she and I are about to go and flop out on the sofa and catch up on Murray in the tennis. She is so funny- she now recognises the twang of a tennis ball and comes running, leaps up beside me and settles down to watch).

I was enjoying the wildflower garden this afternoon when a whisper of wings announced the arrival of a Rather Special Visitor. One whose paper-thin wings have carried them across vast expanses of land and water, perhaps even all the way from Africa, to land here in our Hampshire garden.

Allow me to introduce you to Vanessa cardui, the Painted Lady.


We've never had one in the garden here before, so her arrival threw me into a bit of a Butterfly Tizzy. She hung around too- an hour maybe. Most gratifying of all, her preferred nectar sources were plants in the new wildflower patch (that paid off then, eh?) 



As well as the ridiculously over-priced patio daphnes which  you may remember cost fifteen quid each and arrived the size of five pence pieces. They have somewhat redeemed themselves this afternoon....


I did take a lot of photos because this is the closest and longest I've ever been to a PL, and after my so-far fairly fruitless Purple Emperor searches, it felt like a present from nature to be thankful for :o)





Not everyone in the garden was chuffed to see her. These little chaps were absolutely furious...



The Skippers have set up home in the wildflower turf area next to the daphnes, and will not tolerate anyone else muscling in on their territory (apart from the Vole, whom they seem Quite Happy to co-exist with. I have caught him at the top of the dried stalks of Red Campion in the middle of their patch three times this week. Honestly, he is the most laid back vole: he barely bothers to hide when he sees us coming. It always makes me smile). Incidentally, have you ever noticed how amazing Red Campion seed pods are? They look like little cups brim full with seeds. Beautiful. 




I was watching Vanessa (you'll notice we're on first name terms), when I became aware I was being watched, and watched rather grumpily. It didn't take long to find out who was staring hard at me...


I appeased him by taking his photograph too. I don't think it worked, because the next time Vanessa flew over his leaf he shot up into the air and chased after her, before settling back on his leaf with an infuriated look. 

Luckily, they don't seem as incensed by the Gatekeeper whom I am assuming has hatched out today. She/ he has established base in the clematis which is right next to Skipper Central, but so far there have been no major ruckuses (remember the two white dots in the black circle for Gatekeeper as opposed to one white dot for Meadow Brown? You can see them well in this pic)....


The Whites are tolerated with equanimity too, apparently....


As are the bees...


And the beetles too...


Whilst I was enjoying all of this, I noticed the leaf cutter bees have been busy on the roses and the clematis. I wish I'd seen them in action...


They makes these perfect circles or semi-circles in the leaves then glue the resulting discs together with saliva to form cells in which the young develop. I even found where they'd been putting them...


Into a hole in the pergola right next to where the clematis grows. Not far to go eh? Clever little things.


The garden is looking wild and billowy now, with the first tinges of Autumn in the air (to me, anyway). Apples are coming on...


Borage is blooming...


Most of the marigolds have finished, with just one or two later arrivals still looking good...


Everlasting sweetpeas are in bloom but I've seen very few Brimstones about to enjoy them this year..

Poppies are everywhere, a mixture of flowers and plump seedpods...


Self-heal is coming into bloom all round the garden..


The Hollyhocks are blossoming beautifully...


And the Cornflowers seem to be having their best year. I was once told they like their roots deep in the soil and it seems to be paying off here.


I'll leave you with a Song Thrush egg I found in the woods this morning...


My treat to myself (we won't mention the two enormous boxes of Emma Bridgewater stuff that turned up after her recent sale...(whistles quietly to self in a nonchalant way remembering that husband will be reading this and only one box was admitted to)......



And a pic of a sleepy Pop dozing in the garden....


I think I have persuaded M to let me get another hound. We'll choose the time carefully, possibly next Spring to coincide with maximum outdoors opportunities for Puppy Potty Training. I am after another JR....Because we haven't had enough punishment already :o)

Hope all are well?

CT :o) 

28 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed reading this post and the humour you injected. into it. It was wonderful that the Painted Lady stays so long in your garden adn your photograhs are beautiful as are all the other shots of butterflies and insects. I feel if i popped into your garden I would be able to take you round and tell you what is in it. Fascinating stuff adn of course I lovethe 'dog' shot! But another dog!! Wow!

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    1. I'm hoping she'll be back for more nectar tomorrow (make the most of the daphne) :o)

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  2. Three terriers? You are brave.

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  3. Your wildlife patch is beautiful. As for the plates? These old things? I've had em ages

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    1. I'm learning that off by heart, Rach :o)

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  4. I wonder what T & P will make of another hound! T will probably roll his eyes in a sort of resigned way and P will be leaping around in a state of constant joy at having someone to join vole watching club with her!! Sounds as though it is all go in your garden, especially with the butterflies fighting over the best flowers! Hope you have a great weekend! xx

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    1. Honestly, you do know them both so well! I read out your comment to M who agreed you'd got it spot on :o) Have a good weekend too, my friend x

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    2. I am sending a link to this post to my friend who is a butterfly and moth enthusiast - your photographs are so good.

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  5. There JR's?? We've got two and they drive us mad. ;-)

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  6. How exciting to have that unexpected visitor, I glad your wildflower patch and new plants is paying such dividends! You are brave planning on having 3 dogs, I'm sure they will have a great time having fun together! Sarah x

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    1. I've gone from having two dogs, three horses, five hens, a guinea pig and a puss cat, to just the two dogs. I think another furry member of the family is about due x

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  7. Wow, that egg is gorgeous, and your butterfly photos are stunning, I'm so thrilled that the painted lady turned up and loved the wildflower turf. Your blog is such an inspiration and an education to me, it really is. Love it! Sometimes I find that shops pack things that could go into one box, into two boxes, to spread them out a bit. When they do this, it technically only counts as one box. Another doggie, lucky you. Me and the littlest boy are after a dog of our very own. I don't see it happening any time soon though. One of his best dogs is a miniature schnauzer that he sees on the school run most days. And he has a picture of a petit brabacon in his Observer's Book of Dogs that he is SO in love with. But really, anything would do. CJ xx

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    1. Thrush egg blue is an amazing colour- wish we could replicate it more faithfully, but then nature always looks better I find. I'm so pleased you find the blog helpful and interesting- that's so nice to know :o)
      It is a shame about the wasted packaging space in boxes of linen and crockery isn't it? But then I suppose they fill it with padding to protect everything (I have made certain I explained this thoroughly to M) :o)
      And oooh! Yes! You guys MUST get a doggy- you would all LOVE it. You're already walking and outdoors people so technically you're there already :o) It's so good for children, both small people and teenagers- L will hug the dogs and tell them his troubles when he doesn't always want to tell anyone else and they have this wonderful ability to lift him. It's the unquestioning love and loyalty and the comforting soft warm furriness. I honestly couldn't be without T and P xx

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  8. The butterfly drama should have a name,like a soap opera!
    The shelter where Laurence is staying has a room full of JR pups...probably from a puppy mill raid, now they all have a chance of a fabulous life.
    Jane x

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    1. They were so funny, those ferocious little Skippers. Hearts of lions.
      Now, that's what I need, a rescue JR pup. T was a rescue at only 10 weeks old. I think (now I have permission) I will register with some rescue centres and keep my fingers crossed. Hope your back is feeling more comfortable now x

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  9. Your blog is just so beautiful, and you write so well! Your pictures are so clear and detailed too. I love visiting you :)
    You can never have too many small dogs. I love JRT's and have been thinking of getting another one too. They are just so special :)
    Have a lovely weekend x

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    1. Thanks my dear, so glad you enjoy it :o)
      Yay for JRs! We should form an appreciation club :o) I just love their bravery and humour. Poppy has me in stitches sometimes with her antics x

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  10. well, this is the second, rather serendipitous mention of daphne -- i may have to succumb, although the price tag of the shrubs at the garden centre rather gave me pause. still, if they're beloved of the flutters, then i might cave in.

    a moste enjoyable poste -- 'twas lovely to visit your patch this morning. i'm glad i'm not the only one thinking autumn is in the air -- i'd be tarred and feathered if i mentioned that out loud around here, but i felt the whiff of it...i really did. it's in the wild things....and i have a feeling it's coming early...things seem ahead of schedule....

    another JR? you are very brave. we had two at a time for a spell, although our Tyler Bean was quite aged when the Emma-dog arrived so the full effect of two JRs wasn't quite felt....but i've witnessed it. oh my! :)

    xoxo

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    1. We've got two larger daphs as well which are FAB in late winter/ early spring. The bee folk love 'em :o) And so do we- the smell. Oh My.

      I noticed today that the autumn migration has started on the east coast of the UK- so the birds know it's coming as well as we do :o)

      Pop managed to escape out of the garden for the third time today....and that was AFTER going upstairs (where she isn't supposed to go), jumping on F's bed and sticking her head out the window to wave goodbye to us as we went out the drive. I think I am prepared.... :o) xx

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  11. I've succumbed to the sale in the end but have been very well behaved so have only ordered six mugs - decorating the new kitchen is my excuse, still I'm hoping Mike is out of the way when the box comes! Are you really getting another dog how exciting! Autumn is my absolute favourite season & I do believe it has it's very own scent. Lucky you seeing a Painted Lady, we seem to be inundated with Meadow Browns which is still a blessing really. Take care x

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    1. Having a new kitchen to decorate is an extremely good reason to get some new EB stuff- I bet you can't wait till it's all done :o) xx

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  12. Another dog? Are you a glutton for punishment? lol
    Glad the Painted Lady paid you a visit and the wildflower meadow is looking great. I've noticed that behaviour with the skippers too. They don't seem to mind that they are a fraction of the size of the larger butterflies! Great seeng where the leafcutter bees are depositing the cut bits of leaf. Flowers are looking beautiful. xx

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    1. Skippers are really brave little things, aren't they? xx

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  13. The Painted Lady photos are stunning, have seen one this year but did not have my camera, did not realise how big they were, your wild flowers have come up lovely, mine planted from seed are just starting to flower , it will be a surprise to see what they are. Also I have a leaf cutter bee, but not found were they are nesting.
    Hope you have a lovely week..
    Amanda xx

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    1. Good luck with the wild flowers- have been really pleased with ours, first time I've planted them in the soil rather than a pot and they've done really well xx

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x