In an English Country Garden

As I am enjoying it so much I am beginning to think that taking a year out to explore nature should become an annual event!!!

The past few days have been largely spent in English country gardens starting in our own on Saturday when family were visiting. We went bug hunting and were delighted to find several that we hadn’t yet listed plus one lovely bonus. Peter lifted an old log to see what was lurking and we were surprised to find this little fella!IMG_8689 Smooth newt

A smooth or common newt, what a treat. It was especially good as it sat still and gave all of us, old and young time to have a good look at it. More logs were lifted and more critters found including millipede and centipede. Also a caterpillar had been lurking for a day or so, the best suggestion is that it is a Miller moth.

Hoverflies were busy too, these ones were deffinitly drawn to purple, dahlias and roses but each time the purple ones.

We arranged to spend a couple of days with my sister beginning on Sunday as it was to be their village garden party. Calamity struck on Saturday as Janice took a flying leap and ended up in A & E with two broken ribs…ouch! The decision was made that we would still be welcome to visit and it meant we could fill in for her at the garden party. So Sunday afternoon found me sitting at a table with a large jar filled with sweets taking people’s guesses as to how many there were! I met some lovely little children who were very keen to win, as it happened an adult did! The garden party was held in their Norfolk village, in the grounds of  ‘The big house’ and very beautiful it is too. Peter, Lynn and family came to join in the fun and support the cause. When I was talking to the house owner, Peter joined us and being bolder than me, asked if I could moth trap there one night. Having explained what was involved he kindly and without hesitation said we could. It was arranged to do it that night as they had some young visitors staying that might enjoy seeing the catch in the morning.

So in the morning we were joined by Arthur, Florence, Harry, Magnus (all delightful children) and parents to see what we could find. The number of moths was disappointing (to us) but at least there was some variety. I suspect this fella and his three friends may have had a moth breakfast snack before we got to it! I had no idea how noisy Guineafowl are, my goodness I wouldn’t like my neightbours to keep any!

I was pleased to see a Poplar hawkmoth which I knew would impress young eyes (older ones too of course). It was good to be able to show the contrast in shapes, sizes, and colour as we had the lovely yellow Brimstone moth, Setaceous Hebrew Character and other varieties.

No pictures of them but there were several Large yellow underwings which I am sorry to say are not a favourite of mine. When they open their wings they are beautiful but when they walk they scuttle and remind me of cockroaches!

The Coxcomb prominent was a hit and as one of the children said, “It looks like a bit of wood” my favourite of the morning was the Maiden’s blush.

It was a real joy to be able to introduce people to a different side of moths and I hope it might spur them on to a bit of an interest, I also hope to get a chance to moth again in that  rather large English Country garden one day or I should say night.

Back to spend the rest of the day with Janice (ouch) and Chris and later Peter and family came to visit. Bless the children they all came in rather gingerly having been warned not to rush and hug Janice!

I had several wanders around thier lovely English country garden and found that bees like it every bit as much as I do. I am not sure how they fly once they are covered in pollen but they do.

Peter and Lynn found this, as yet unidentified bug, it looks like a grasshopper but didn’t behave like one, any ideas? Later we got the hose out to try to encourage frogs to come out of hiding, they didn’t oblige but we all enjoyed the rainbow effects created. Foolishly when taking these pictures my camera was still set on macro but I hadn’t realised.IMG_8795 bug

That night we put the trap out and popped out to it a couple of times in the evening and there was plenty of activity. Sadly in the morning it was almost empty so we will never know what we missed. I think next time we try there I will position the trap in a more accessible part of the garden and maybe take moths out during the evening, worth a try I think.

We spent another lovely day with J & C, Janice is coping well with her ribs and Chris is taking care of her beautifully. We satyed for a BBQ lunch with some of their friends that we haven’t seen for well over ten years and it was a smashing time. Time to think about heading home but not before we stoped at yet another garden.

I find birdwatchers by and large to be a friendly, helpful bunch and since mothing I find the same to be true of them. One such person is David (a birder and a moth man!) and he had found a Cypress pug, only the fourth for Norfolk. He had kindly invited people to drop in to see it and as it was more or less on our route home we did just that. A bad picture I’m afraid but it is a record shot for me to have. Next a peek at David’s garden to see where he moths so that is four English Country Gardens!IMG_8818 Cypress pug

Home and time to get ready for the arrival of September, I wonder what that will bring.Having chosen the title for this blog I felt the need to listen to the song of the same name, it speaks of flowers, bugs, birds and it finally reminds us to, not forget the Robin, so I didn’t, although this one looks rather worn.IMG_8801 robinMy advice to one and all is, when you get the chance get out in an English Country Garden, big or small they can be a real joy but…don’t follow my sister by going flying with a bang…get well soon Janice!

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