Monday, 1 June 2009

Painted Ladies for Pentecost

The Painted Ladies (Cynthia cardui) have arrived, just in time for Pentecost! The East wind and the fine weather have brought them from the Continent in extraordinary numbers, arriving last Saturday - there must be several dozen in the garden, lighting it up like little tongues of flame, tiny creatures of the Holy Spirit, the great creator.
Painted Lady on Borage

Another visitor brought by the East wind is the Hummingbird Hawk Moth (Macroglossum stellatarum). Like the Painted Lady it erupts from Europe, but not quite so frequently - I suppose I see it every 2-3 years. I remember when I first saw it, aged about 11 and a passionate collector of butterflies and moths, in my Grandmother's garden about 5 miles from here, during the family August holidays. I suppose that must have been a second brood, born in Ireland. What excitement! A fast and difficult prize, I eventually captured one in my net, which I killed with chloroform and set carefully to add to my collection. Now I regret it, becaue my collection has been lost over the years, and the memory of my first sight of it is a much finer treasure.

It promises to be a good year for foreign visitors, and I await another, the Clouded Yellow.

Today, Whit Monday, I have been labouring in the garden. The last vegetable bed has been rotovated. The climbing beans have been planted amid a strange tapering row of bamboo canes of different sizes - 4 different varities, but two left over from last year, Runner bean Polestar and French bean Blue Lake, may disappoint. A last row of Charlotte potatoes has also been interred - much too late, but we will see if anything comes of it. And 2 dozen young leeks. This is not an organic garden, and I have resorted to blue slug pellets in an attempt to banish the slugs, which are as ravenous as ever this year. I have also reseeded one of the Us of Yew with grass, and added more seed to some others which were patchy.

Bearded Irises, brought back from France

Susaana's Labyrinth garden is looking gorgeous too, with lovely bearded Iris, Russel Lupins, Oriental Poppies and Roses. And the first flowers are showing on her famous sweet peas.

Roses, Lupins and Poppies

Japanese Irises in the Patio Pond, with Cistus behind


Daniel & Sonja said...

Yes I've seen a few "Painted Ladies" too and probably more varieties of butterflies already than in the whole of the last two summers! Can you tell me the name of the one with yellow wings with black veins on them - I saw two of those for the first time a couple of days ago.

Joc Sanders said...

Daniel, from your description it could be a Green-veined white (see here ).
Or if it is *really* yellow a Clouded Yellow (see here ). is an excellent site for identifying our native butterflies.