bird's foot trefoil seedpods, brimstone moth, buff-tailed bumblebee, garden snail blowing bubbles, gatekeeper butterfly, orange and brown butterfly
This month’s weather has been variable and time spent sorting out the garden has been sporadic, but when I have had the opportunity I have been clearing some overgrown borders and have seen or disturbed some interesting things in the process.
Part of next door’s apple tree overhangs the hedge; the tree is laden with rosy apples and many of the smaller fruit have begun to drop to the ground. The windfalls have been providing a regular treat for the Blackbirds.
I disturbed the lovely little Brimstone Moth in the following photograph when I was pulling out overgrown ivy.
I found a garden snail close by the spot the moth flew out from. There is nothing it can do much damage to in that particular area, so I replaced it under the hedge, where to my surprise it began producing a mass of foamy bubbles. I’ve been trying to discover why it would have been doing that but haven’t come across an explanation I’m happy with yet.
The sunshine brought out a few butterflies including Large White, Holly Blue and a couple of Gatekeepers that were beginning to look a little faded.
There are several species of wildflowers that I leave to grow in the garden, one is the pretty yellow Bird’s foot trefoil, which also currently has seed-pods, the form of which give the plant its name.
Bird’s-foot Trefoil – Lotus corniculatus is a common flowering perennial plant native to grassland temperate Eurasia and North Africa that flowers from June until September. . The flowers develop into small pea-like pods or legumes; the name ‘bird’s foot’ refers to the appearance of the seed pods on their stalk.
The height of the plant is variable, from 5-20 cm, occasionally more where supported by other plants; the stems can reach up to 50 cm long. It can survive fairly close grazing, trampling and mowing and is a very important plant in the life-cycle of many butterflies and moths. It is most often found growing in light sandy soils.
The plant has had many common English names in Britain, which are now mostly out of use. These names were often connected with the yellow and orange colour of the flowers, e.g. ‘butter and eggs’. One name that I knew it by as a child that is still used is ‘Eggs and Bacon‘.
Another of my favourite wildflowers also largely left alone, is the Blue bugle, Ajuga reptans. It has always seemed strange to me that it is often treated as a ‘weed’ in gardens where it occurs in its natural form but that larger-flowered cultivated versions of similar species are purchased and planted.