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List Time and Decoy Butterflies

10 May 2019

The first thing I do today is write a list….it is just over two weeks until the next “Open Day” and there is lots to do….apart from removing caterpillars – and that is what I do next. I am on a bad section of hedge and end up removing more than 100 caterpillars. I keep at it for more than an hour and then move onto a different job – dead heading the Pansies. I have got Pansies everywhere, gorgeous, earnest little plants, beautiful and generous with their flowers especially if you bother to dead head them. This is actually quite a satisfying job – probably anything will feel more productive compared to “caterpillar removal”.

I then decided to plant out some Brassicas and this meant another of my “mad professor” ideas – plastic butterflies. I read somewhere recently that if you cut out butterfly shapes from waster plastic such as a milk carton or margarine tub and thread them onto a fishing line and suspend them over your cabbages, they will deter Cabbage White Butterflies. This is because butterflies are very territorial and if they see butterflies already hovering over the cabbages, they will fly away….well, that is the theory and it is certainly worth a try because I would really like not to have any more caterpillars to deal with.

I plant out a tray of “Tweed” Swede into one bed amongst the companion planting that is already growing there. Then I plant a tray of Collard Cabbage – Champion and Chinese Cabbage ( very healthy looking plants) Scarvita & Atsuko. I put the hoops ( blue water pipe) I use for netting along the beds and attach my fishing line plus butterflies. They look quite good and a Cabbage White that is hanging around near by does not come any closer …Another project to monitor and it will be absolutely brilliant if it works.

The bee man comes to check the Bee Hives and seems very happy with them. All four hives have a Queen – the most recent Hive with the huge swarm that he brought from his own house apparently has a very big Queen. Ironically, the original Hive is now the quietest but he thinks that this is probably because it has recently been split three ways to produce two further Hives and also the Swarm that is no longer with us.

I rush inside with minutes to spare and to help Aideen put the harp in the car for our evening rehearsal and you would think that would be the end of my gardening for the day. However, we return from the rehearsal at about 10.40pm and having put on some brown rice for dinner ( we do eat late chez McHughs) I go out to the polytunnel to pick some lettuce leaves for the salad. I realise that some Sweet Peas need tying up and stay outside to do it. Needless to say, this takes too long and on my return, the rice has boiled over. We do manage to have dinner on the plates before Midnight but I am glad that I have made the most of today as tomorrow we have a Concert and that, combined with Music School in the morning and a rehearsal in the afternoon, means I will be out all day from 8.15am until at least 10.45pm. – no time for my garden but the Concert is a very nice programme of Russian music.

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