I have stopped gardening to write this in my blog before it goes out of my mind. I have just watched something amazing. Whilst going around putting new pheremone into some of my Box tree moth traps - more of that later - I spied a Red Admiral butterfly on a flower, of the wild 'self seeded' budlejia. I was able to get very, very close without it flying away and I watched while it put its ingenious long, uncoiling tongue/proboscis down into each tiny flower. A budlejia bloom consists of hundreds of tiny flowerlets. The Butterfly, seemingly unbothered by my presence, held on to the swaying bloom and patiently sent its tongue into each tiny flower - I watched it fascinated for ages and marvelled at the perfection created by nature/God. No human intervention could pollinate a flower so effectively and do it with such beauty! This put me in mind of something I had chanced upon the previous afternoon. Out of the corner of my eye I saw something quite large and green flying near my succulents, mystified I moved closer and was just in time to see a leaf cutter bee disappear into a small hole in the compost of a seed tray, pulling inside a neat circle of leaf ( I have noticed tell-tale segments removed from some nearby roses). Ironically I had only just recently read about this bee. Apparently they make the circle of leaf into a cone, in which to lay their eggs! What were the chances of seeing this bee - I count myself blessed!
Ironically, whilst on the one hand marvelling at the beauty of butterflies I am endeavouring to trap box tree moths in order to try and save my box hedge, which at the moment is verdant and beautiful. However, the next round of caterpillars is presumably just around the corner...it occurs to me that some people are making a fortune out of box tree moth misery...replacement syringe of pheromone is £11...
I have spent the day in the brassica corner, weeding, cutting back and generally tidying. Quite late in the day, whilst working on the Brussel Sprout bed, which were looking beautiful, I spot my first cabbage white caterpillars. Some are still small and clustering together on the same leaf - still causing considerable damage - I snip off the entire leaf into my bucket, some are full size, and on their own individual path of destruction. I try to remove everyone I can see, but light is failing and I will have to return in the morning.
Patrick has been off today, and he managed to install all of the reinforcement steel that needs to be in the mushroom house hole, he then starts making doors for fruit cage. James was heroic today and must have brought about 40 barrows of sand into the kitchen garden in preparation for concreting tomorrow. After practising, Aideen and James get on with more of the organ pipe fence. A bit of drama over the last few days has involved 4 horses (3 ponies and a foal) left in the neighbouring field to our Kitchen Garden. They appeared yesterday and very quickly escaped. Diane, Aideen and James attempted to contain them whilst I tried to obtain assistance from the council/RSPCA/Police. The horses ran into the graveyard, then ran across the road into the wild grassland opposite us. Interestingly this morning the horses were back in the field next to us...inevitably this has consumed time, with frustrating talks with Police, trying to convince them to contact the owners to avert a potential accident on the road. Later Diane persuades me to organise giving the horses some water. So we push a wheelbarrow containing four watering cans and a half barrel for them to drink from, down to the field - I can see where this is heading...as if I do not have enough people and animals to look after!
I may not have mentioned a stray pumpkin plant that has seeded itself amongst my cucumbers. It has produced quite a large pumpkin that is hanging from its main stem. I decided that this was probably becoming too heavy for the plant, and I've made it a netting sling to support it.