Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Unexpected Item In The Potting Area

If you share the rather relaxed attitude to the garden that I have, you can often come across unexpected lovely, and sometimes not so lovely things, small pleasures which tidier gardens may miss out on. 

There are weeds. I know there are weeds.

In fact there are quite a lot of "arisings" which have not yet made their way to the "unplaisance". But lots of things come up in the garden which can turn out to have  beneficial effects. Now I'm obviously not talking about horrors like Couch Grass and Bindweed here, and I do my gardeners best to keep such things at bay, but I do allow many things to self seed, and if I like the look of them when they grow I just leave them. Even if it looks to someone else like I have just failed to weed properly.

So the little bit of apple mint by the strawberry bed has turned into a bit of a hedge, and likewisethe odd comfrey plant in the path. But passing the apple mint yesterday on my way to the greenhouse, I noticed this eye catching chap

so I had a closer look, decided I didn't know what it was, and had to nip indoors and check it out online. Turns out it's a Scarlet Tiger Moth (Callimorpha dominula), -the scarlet bit's on the underside so you see it when it flies off - and it loves to feed on comfrey! So that's my bit for wildlife, and a good excuse for leaving the comfrey growing in the path. Bees also love comfrey flowers, so it's useful for the "June gap" when early flowers are over and high summer ones not yet out.
So anyway,when I eventually got to the greenhouse, the first seed tray I lifted revealed this somewhat warty gentleman having a nice after lunch siesta. We seem to have a healthy population of frogs and toads, despite the presence of grass snakes, I guess it's all a question of balance. One thing we don't have a major problem with is slugs though, this rather fat toad looks as though he's been enjoying regular slug banquets.
It was all he could manage to do to waddle off (toads tend to walk rather than hop like frogs) in a huff to find a quieter spot where no one would come along poking about with trowels and generally ruining the ambiance of the restaurant.

10 comments:

  1. I love the grunpy look of toads when you disturb them, you can almost hear them huffing as they trundle away looking for peace and quiet. Frogs tend to watch you a bit before leaping off and vanishing.

    I think greenhouses and polytunnels are year round homes homes for many little creatures.

    Sue xx .

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  2. Both your garden companions are wonderful. What fun finds! That moth is really pretty.

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  3. That toad looked hopping mad! Sorry for the bad pun

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  4. The toads are among our favorites to spot--I had one in my garage the other morning, he looked like a real prince, all he was missing was a little crown!

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  5. Your gardening ethics are the same as mine in regards to the 'unplaisances' - only pull up 'orrids, but leave the rest to do what they want to do. And yes, the garden can look unweeded, but what the heck! - at least it doesn't look overly tidy and groomed, which I think makes a garden look cold and unnatural!

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  6. I like your idea of letting those mystery plants have a little growing room, they can be an unexpected gift from the garden faeries!

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  7. We have toads even here in the desert mountains and they are fun to look at. That moth was very pretty.

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  8. I dont have many toads or frogs.. the chickens kill em all!

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