"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

#30 Days Wild - Week 2


I was a bit short of time today so picked one of the suggestions in the Wildlife Trusts #30 Days Wild booklet - "to inhale the scent of a wildflower, a plant or the leaves of the tree". So I wandered round the garden sniffing at all the various wildflowers I could find and some of the garden flowers such as this Valerian.


I picked the moment when I was dancing round the Wildflower Meadow at Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens trying, without much success, to get a photo of a Chimney Sweeper moth. (Apologies if you've read the CBHG post and seen these photos before!).


I planted the French Lavender plant I had bought the previous week in my Green Man pot. Hopefully, it will attract butterflies and bees as it comes into flower.

I also planted some Seedball Salad balls and some more nasturtium seeds. I love these flowers - they always remind me of holidays when I was a child staying at my great-aunt's holiday cottage high on the headland above Widemouth Bay. Nasturtiums tumbled all over the wall by the kitchen door. The flowers again attract bees and are also edible (as are the leaves) and can be added to salads.

Finally, I got round to putting some dried flowers I had bought at Tewkesbury Abbey into the Heron's Cross jug D bought me from Ludlow market for Christmas - a lovely reminder of two great days out.


I went "butterflying". Sadly not to the reserve at Prestbury Hill, Gloucestershire, I had wanted to visit as its probably the nearest site to us for Duke of Burgundy butterflies. B didn't want to drive that far so we ended up going to the Bishops Hill/Yellowlands reserve at Bishops Itchington which I visited last year with D.

Bishops Hill was once a limestone quarry and cement works and lime waste from the cement factory has created a limestone-grassland-scrub habitat which contains an insect fauna of regional importance. Yellowland forms a small part of the area and a project transformed the site into a nature reserve in 2008.

Bishops Hlll is rich in kidney vetch and bird's foot trefoil - all food plants of the adult Small Blue butterflies (the target species of the day). The caterpillars feed exclusively on kidney vetch. Small Blue butterflies are rare in Warwickshire and occur at only a handful of sites.

A nice bench to sit and linger :)

We didn't see Dingy or Grizzled Skippers this year and Green Hairstreak continues to elude me but we did see Common Blue, Small Blue and Brimstone

Common Blue

Small Blue

Rubbish photo but I was really pleased to get 3 together in one shot.

Friday and the weekend were a trifle busy. B is gradually redecorating most of the house in case we decide to move in a year or so. It wasn't so bad when he was working on the hall, stairs and landing as you don't live in this area and there isn't much furniture to move around but he's now moved onto the Sitting Room and, as we are having new flooring its easiest to clear the room. So we've been moving furniture into the Family and Dining Rooms and I've had to pack glasses, ornaments, china etc. into boxes (almost feel as it I am moving already!!). I've tried to do some decluttering at the same time which for a hoarder like me isn't easy!!

Friday evening I suddenly panicked and realised I hadn't done anything at all for 30 Days Wild. A bit silly really to "beat yourself up" over something that is supposed to be a fun thing. Luckily, a 30 Day Wild moment suddenly occurred out of the blue as I looked out of the kitchen window to see B wildly gesticulating towards some Valerian. I was absolutely over the moon to get outside and realise we had a Humming-bird Hawk-moth feeding on the flowers. This was the main reason I had planted so much Valerian as I know they attract these moths. It is probably the best garden "tick" I have ever had. Sadly, by the time I had returned with the camera it had gone. It did come back briefly on the Saturday morning and was still there when I got outside with the camera but it only visited another couple of flowers before disappearing yet again. So I didn't manage a photo :( The picture below was taken last year at our holiday cottage garden in Dorset where one visited some lavender flowers.


I watched birds going to roost at dusk - a wren foraging in ivy as the light faded, gulls flying over on their way to a safe roost for the night, a blackbird singing from the top of the Whitebeam tree, tits on the feeders having their last food for the day.


Whilst clearing items out of a cupboard I came across this book D bought me some years ago. I am sure some of you may have collected the wildlife albums produced by PG Tips etc. I had a lot of wildlife albums filled with collected cards as a child but sadly I really don't remember what happened to them.

This book is on Woodlands

A few of the pages inside the book.


Ian Doyle said...

Nice post, great photos. You've had a good week week with your random acts of wildness.

Millymollymandy said...

A good week! Really pleased for you that you got to see a HB Hawkmoth. Envious of the Small Blue but I don't know if I'll ever see one round here as I think they like chalky soil areas. I don't even know Kidney Vetch, but did discover loads of Birdsfoot Trefoil growing in my local area which I believe is a host plant for various flutters. Hardly any around at the moment except for Meadow Browns. Good luck with the decorating! :-)

Ragged Robin said...

Ian Doyle - Thanks very much Ian.

Millymollymandy - Thanks so much Mandy. Am still feeling excited over HBHM! Lack of chalk/limestone here is I imagine the reason for their scarcity. I think most of the colonies are in the same small area of Warwickshire. Not many butterflies here at home yet - Speckled Woods and Holly Blue and the odd "white" in the garden. Haven't seen any Meadow Browns yet this year. I suspect the decorating is going to take at least a year - need to finish bathroom which is half renovated and replace kitchen :( Probably won't have the energy to move once its all done!!

Countryside Tales said...

It's such a good way to get folks involved with nature and the Big Outdoors. So pleased you saw the Blue! Well done - I bet you were thrilled! :o)

Toffeeapple said...

A very interesting post, especially about the HBHM! What excitement. So that is Valerian is it? I had wondered since some has come up near a wall here but hadn't seen it before.

Ragged Robin said...

Countryside Tales - Thank you :) Had to search more for the Small Blues this year - D must be a lucky mascot! :)

Toffeeapple - Thanks so much :) Keep an eye on the valerian near you - you might catch a HBHM too :)

Margaret Adamson said...

I love the shots of the Common Blue

David Turner said...

It looks like you have had a great week and I am so envious of your Small Blues and the HBHM :-) Also well done getting a pic of a Chimney Sweeper as they must be one of the hardest moths to photograph!

All the best & kindest regards :-)

Ragged Robin said...

Margaret Adamson - Thanks so much Margaret :)

David Turner - Thanks David. It was quite a trek to see the Small Blues - feel very lucky indeed re: the HBHM!!! Chimney Sweepers led me a merry dance :)

Best wishes to you too David.