"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

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Late Summer at Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens

I stopped off at Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens this afternoon. These lovely Gardens have been restored to the period 1680-1740 by Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens Trust.

Lady Bridgeman's Garden



Pansies in a stone trough in the Melon Grounds

Slender Vervain or Verbena rigida

To read more about this plant please visit the Castle Bromwich Hall Gardens blog at www.castlebromwichhallgardenstrust.blogspot.co.uk or follow the link from my Blog list on the right hand side of the page.

The Green House - geraniums and auricula theatre

I've not noticed this bug house near North Orchard before

I saw quite a few Speckled Wood butterflies in the Extra Gardens

Reedmace and North Pond

I could only see one Moorhen on the pond today - I hope the young survived.

Fox and Cubs (again - as you can see they pop up everywhere I go!)


South Kitchen Garden - fashioned after Betty Langley's design taken from his book "New Principles of Gardening", 1728

The "Secret Garden"

I sheltered in the Summer House from the rain for a while and discovered a display of photos of some of the past owners of Castle Bromwich Hall (today the Hall is a hotel).

Orlando Bridgeman (1819-98) and Selina Bridgeman (1819-94) by the Hall

Orlando - 1695-1764 - son of John Bridgeman II

Orlando Bridgeman 1762-1825 - 1st Earl of Bradford

Extract from a map dated 1886 showing the Gardens and nearby area

Walking round the Gardens there was lots of evidence to suggest that Autumn is just around the corner.

Horse Chestnut (Conker)

Sadly, unlike last year, it doesn't look as though there will be a very good apple and pear crop this year. The Orchards have a wonderful variety of apples and pears from the Seventeenth and early 18th centuries

"Colonel Vaughan"

"Cornish Aromatic"

Toadstools in Nut Ground

Cockspur Thorn berries

Black Mulberry - the fruits look like a cross between raspberry and blackberry!



For more information on the Gardens please visit www.cbhgt.org.uk

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Garden Insects

The Big Butterfly Count has been extended to the end of August so I spent another 15 minutes in a sunny (for once!) garden this morning and managed to see a Speckled Wood and my first Red Admiral of the year.

A record shot of the Red Admiral - I was only able to take one photo as at the click of the shutter it was off - never to reappear!

Later on I also saw a Holly Blue, Gatekeeper and only the second garden Peacock of the year. Today has probably been the best day of the year yet for garden butterflies.

There were quite a few hoverflies in the garden - I think the species in the first two photos below (heavily cropped) may be Volucella pellucens which lays its eggs in wasp nests.

I found another Tree Bumble Bee in the garage this afternoon - now safely released!

and bees are being attracted to buddleia flowers

The wildflower "meadow" although now past its best is still attracting a lot of bees

and flies

And I found a Harvestman there last week

Sorry for the lack of posts recently. I have been out a few times but there were few photo opportunities. I went looking for a local Little Owl the week before last but failed miserably in my quest. I then decided to go to a churchyard nearby allegedly good for butterflies but as I arrived it decided to rain heavily!

We did have a fun day out driving round Leicestershire villages last week. Brian had one of those birthdays last year ending in 0 and one of his presents was a voucher for the hire of a Caterham 7 for the day. A rather lovely car - if one could just win the lottery.........

We had a nice pub lunch here

Monday, 20 August 2012

Lots of New Moth Ticks for the Year!

It was hot and humid on Saturday night and, as I expected, there were lots of moths in the trap on Sunday morning, including several new species for the year. Loads of moths escaped as I was potting them up which was just as well in one way as I ended up running out of pots!

First of all Copper Underwings had arrived en masse

And here's a view of the underside of the moth - although I didn't manage to get a photo the underwings are a lovely copper colour

There is a very similar species called Svensson's Copper Underwing and, depending on which website you visit, there are various ways of distinguishing them such as differences in the palps or underside of the hindwing colouration or length of projections. Must admit I don't have a lot of confidence in my ability to distinguish between the two species but I think they were all Copper.

Also new for year were several Lesser Yellow Underwings

and Flounced Rustic

Here's 3 Flounced Rustics together showing slight variation in colour and amounts of wear

I was really pleased to find a Mint Moth micro - again there are two very similar species but I think this is Pyrausta aurata. If you grow mint in your garden you may well see these - they are tiny but very pretty (all pinks, purples and orange and look like tiny fairies!)

Flame Shoulder - a really handsome looking moth

I caught a male and a female Orange Swift

First the more brightly coloured male

and the more sombre female. Sadly, she had been laying eggs :( When things like this happen I feel really guilty about trapping moths but I did find some dock and dandelion in the garden (larva food plants) and put the eggs there in the hope they might hatch.

There were quite a few Light Brown Apple moths (a tiny micro)

and a Shuttle-shaped Dart

And I just love the antennae on this Willow Beauty

I only potted a few micros and the photo below shows one of the reasons why. As soon as you get them out of the fridge and take them out of the pot they are intent on escape and I find it really hard to even get a photo!!

If any of the above id's are wrong please let me know!

And now for the queries

I am sure I should recognise this macro but I really haven't a clue

I think this tiny micro is one of the Agriphila species - straminella??

Again I am sure I should know this moth - is it a worn Square-spot rustic?

Any help on the above would as always be really appreciated.

Summary of Moths Trapped Saturday, 18th August

Minimum Temperature 14.5 degrees centigrade
8.30 p.m. until dawn
15w Actinic Skinner Trap

2303 Straw Underwing (Thalpophila matura) x 3

2297 Copper Underwing (Amphipyra pyramidea) x 31 NFY

2107 Large Yellow Underwing (Noctua pronuba) x 5

2109 Lesser Yellow Underwing (Noctua comes) x 5 NFY

2111 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing (Noctua janthe) x 1

2353 Flounced Rustic (Luperina testacea) x 11 NFY

1937 Willow Beauty (Peribatodes rhomboidaria) x 2

0015 Orange Swift (Hepialus sylvina) x 2

2293 Marbled Beauty (Cryphia domestica) x 3

1713 Riband Wave (Idaea aversata) x 2

1738 Common Carpet (Epirrhoe alternata) x 2

2092 Shuttle-shaped Dart (Agrotis puta) x 1

2102 Flame Shoulder (Ochropleura plecta) x 1 NFY

1361 Mint Moth (Pyrausta aurata) x 1 NFY

0998 Light Brown Apple Moth (Epiphyas postvittana) x 4

2343 Common Rustic (Mesapamea secalis) x 1