It’s been a while since I’ve dipped my foot in the waters of SOS, having been somewhat distracted by a summer of emotional family reunions, significant birthdays, house maintenance and a staycation or two, but things are settling back down and I find myself keen to share some interesting things from our garden this week. As the post will be flitting through a range of things, including visiting butterflies and birds, I thought that the post title rather appropriate.
So here are my six gardening things for 21/08/2021:
1) Jersey Tiger Moths
Jersey Tiger moths (Euplagia quadripunctaria) have been visiting our garden almost daily throughout the last month. (I know it’s more than one, because their markings are slightly different in the photos that I’ve taken.) These pretty moths fly during both day and night. They appeared in our garden for the first time last summer. Their increase has caught the attention of Butterfly Conservation, who added the moth to its species of interest for this year 2021 Big Butterfly Count. According to the interactive sightings map it is indeed appearing in numbers all over the country.
The moth is particularly noticeable in flight as it flashes its bright orange hind wings.
Have you seen one?
2) Angel’s Trumpet
I’ve not grown Angel’s trumpets before, but have always thought that they look spectacularly exotic, so this year I bought seeds from Thompson and Morgan (Datura meteloides ‘Evening Fragrance’ ). All of the seeds germinated, but I edited the first two out of the compost thinking they were something else (silly me!). I planted the rest out, along the edge of a raised bed in the vegetable plot, where they’ve grown furiously, if in a little bit of a convoluted form. They are flowering now and while I can’t say that I am overwhelmed by their scent, I do adore the shape of the flowers, from elegant furled buds to brazen trumpets. It’s a great plant for easy drama!
3) The Bower Plant
Sown last spring and rather abandoned in our cold greenhouse all of last year, amazingly the little plants made it through the winter and are now flowering:
Not quite the bower they were collected from, but it is a start!
4) Persicaria amplexicaulis ‘Rosea’
This border-filling, soft pink, wand-waving perennial came my way, as carefully moss-wrapped divisions, from Cathy@ramblinginthegarden in the spring. They are doing wonderfully and I am very grateful to Cathy!
5) Patty Pans
In addition to my usual courgette ‘Defender’, I am trying out Patty Pans this year.
So far they are doing well. They are hilarious to look at, more tricky to pick than straight courgettes (being like cogs fitted tightly between the stalks). They are probably less productive (a good thing given how many courgettes we are giving away???), but are just as tasty. I haven’t got round to stuffing any yet. I suspect that presented like a fleet of UFOs they will be a dramatic addition to dinner!
6) New bird visitor: A Lesser Whitethroat
The pump for the bubble fountain gave up the ghost a couple of weeks back. It was sad to see birds hopping over the rocks looking for their usual spa bath, with no success. Fortunately, Steve worked his magic and it is all working again now. This morning when I heard the chinking I associate with our resident Garden Warbler, I went out with my camera to take a few pictures. Well, I’ve never seen the fountain so busy! I sat down and started to click away. (I even took a video to capture all the different species coming down to the water, but it is so shaky that it will never see the light of day). And that is how I accidentally took some pictures of a sleek grey bird I’ve never seen before. I put some pictures on twitter for help identifying the species and 15mins later the consensus seemed to be that it was a Lesser Whitethroat (Curruca curruca). Here it is:
Cute whiskers round it’s beak, don’t you think? Happily, a blue tit landed next to it, which gives a convenient idea of its size:
So there you have it. A lot of flitting around, but hopeful entertaining!
Don’t forget to check out The Propagator’s Six on Saturday post and the comments for links to other contributors.
Have a good weekend!
We often see the Jersey Tiger Moth with the wings closed but it has pretty colours when they are open. Nice pics .
I love the scent of Angel’s Trumpets , It’s the right time to pollinate the flowers to get free seeds …
And I’m growing patty pans this year too ! A great success compared to the butternuts which are few; weird.
Ah, I was just admiring your haul of Patty Pan squash on Twitter! I will have to go out to sniff the Angel’s Trumpets with a torch tonight!
Interesting — What we call angels’ trumpets belong to the genus Brugmansia, and their flowers are both pendulous and very fragrant. Datura species bloom with a more upright habit — at least, the ones I know do — but there’s no mistaking those buds. In Texas, we call Datura stramonium Jimson weed, or the devil’s trumpet, because of its toxic qualities. The Smithsonian adds a cautionary note to its entry about angels’ trumpets:
“All parts of angel’s trumpets are considered poisonous and contain the alkaloids atropine, scopolamine, and hyoscyamine. Ingestion of the plants can cause disturbing hallucinations, paralysis, tachycardia, and memory loss and can be fatal.”
So don’t add those to your salad!
I will be careful. They are not very near any crops. It was the only empty ground I had at the time and they were planted there as a holding measure before being transferred to Wimpole. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been possible yet, but it is still the plan.
Great. Especially love the look of those patty pans! I haven’t seen a Jersey Tiger Moth for a few years – good shot of it with its wings open. 😃
Thanks Cathy. I feel that I should be more excited by the patty pans because they do look so interesting, but they taste just like … courgettes. However, they are now producing enough fruits to stuff, so I may be raving about them next week! 😉
People have been posting quite a few Jersey Tiger moth pics on my Belgian gardening group so I wonder if numbers are going up on the continent too – that would be good news. Also such a cute little bird in the bird bath, must have been exciting to get a new visitor. V jealous of your squash harvest, am tempted to try patty pans as they look so cool!
I have enjoyed spotting the new migrant visitors to the fountain as they are so different from our normal garden birds. I am hopeless at distinguishing between warblers though, so have passed the problem to experts on twitter etc! I love squash, but we have reached saturation point and even friends are starting to refuse them now!!! Funnily enough, the patty pans are just picking up production 🙂
What an interesting summer you’ve had and these SOS entries are each wonderful. The Jersey Tiger Moth is striking with its strong coloration and pattern and the sweet little bird is a treat. A neighbor shared her patty pans with me last week and they were delicious. I hadn’t had them in years.
Thanks. Patty pans do seem to be particularly buttery and tasty. Glad that you got to enjoy them again. I get a kick out of spotting new garden visitors, but often wonder if I’ve been missing them for years!
I am so glad the persicaria has done well for you – it looks really well established already. Glad to hear you have been having some Family Time and Me Time
Thanks Cathy. All the persicarias you sent are doing well, but that one in the new bed is really romping away. Glad you’ve been getting out and about to exciting places too. It’s rejuvenating isn’t it?
I have found where there is more moisture they have done better here. And yes, definitely good to get out and about, and with just one night away in the van it’s so easy to do