With bee orchids having established themselves in the garden we assumed the new emergent plants were their ‘offspring’ – to our surprise, as they now come into flower, some are the bright pink pyramidal orchids. It makes the mowing more interesting but we’re not complaining!
Book to read – recently published ‘Orchid Summer’ by John Dunn, who describes his travels through Britain to see every one of our orchid species – from the granite ramparts of the Isles of Scilly to the hidden fens of Norfolk’s Broadland; from the limestone pavement of the Burren to the dune slacks of Lindisfarne and the flower-studded machair of North Uist. There’s a rich cast of characters – the delicate fly orchid, the exquisite dark-red helleborine, the exuberant lady orchid and a host of other delights. More than 50 species altogether!
It’s taken many years but at last – a Privet Hawk Moth in the trap!
Our nocturnal big five were all busy in the garden last night – hedgehog, elephant hawk moth, lime hawk moth, poplar hawk moth and eyed-hawk moth. First time all four of these large moths have come together in the trap on the same evening, so there was a riot of colour and a few flapping wings when we peeped in this morning. This was the third successive evening we saw the hedgehog, which has been leaving its sticky black markers across the lawn for more than a week now.
Not quite the big five you might see in Africa but it’s marvellous to be able to see all of the above at such close quarters.
The chocolate tip sounds a bit like a new type of Magnum ice cream but it’s the name of a nice little moth which is on the wing during May nights. Lovely brown patches and furry legs – breeds on willow and poplar and came into the trap last night.
Just over six years ago, Kineton Community Orchard was planted out on the Kineton Sports and Social Club field. The trees have settled in well now, and they are producing a wonderful range of fruit including plums, damsons, pears, apricots, almonds and medlars.
One of the aims was to encourage biodiversity in the orchard area, and it is rewarding to see that the cowslips have spread and multiplied from the original two small patches. Do come and have a look to see how the trees are getting on. Maybe you will spot some different wildlife there too? There were butterflies and bees being busy today.
Cowslips – growing very happily in the orchard.
Wayfaring Tree (Viburnum lantana) – white heads of flowers to feed insects early in the year and then red and black berries in the autumn.
Out resounding song thrush currently sounds like something from Harry Potter – quidditch, quidditch, quidditch…
Of course, the moment I realised I hadn’t yet seen a swallow – along they come, swooping over the road to Radway this beautiful spring morning.