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Watch Your Fingers

Indian Balsam

Indian Balsam

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but there is nothing we like better here, than having a good moan about something. Preferably about a problem or issue that there is no reasonable solution to, this gives us a completely free reign. Well, as you can guess from the picture, we’re going to whinge about Indian Balsam. Well, no that’s not true, we’re going to whinge about people who whinge about Indian Balsam.

Let me ask all you environmental addicts out there something. We know for instance that squirrels bite the ends off acorns before they bury them. This stops the acorn from germinating. Good for squirrels – bad for oak trees. Squirrels are just parasites. They do nothing for the tree that provides them with food and shelter. The Jay also collects and  buries acorns, but the Jay buries them undamaged. Any acorns that the Jay doesn’t need are left in the ground to germinate and sprout into new trees. So, the question is, of the Squirrel and the Jay, which is the most environmentally friendly?

Let’s use a bit of vision here. If nature invented a creature (as in – us) that took advantage of almost every plant and animal on the planet, could it not be that the appreciation of the beauty of her works as well as their utility, was built in to us specifically so that we would collect and spread those denizens of her kingdom who were rooted to the spot?

We invited Indian Balsam to come in – and now suddenly we can’t wait to get rid of him. It’s no wonder the guy in the picture looks ready to bite your hand off, is it?

A Buddleia by Any Other Name

Yellow Budlia

Yellow Budlia

I know we normally deal in those ferocious denizens of the countryside – wild flowers. So, I hope you don’t mind if we peek out from our safe haven, behind the wooden chair we use to keep them all at bay, take off our top hat and bow tie, and rest on our Laurels for a moment. Just round the corner, as we head off downhill, in the direction of the beck, hanging over the garden wall is a large Buddleia, usually full of bees and butterflies. We often stop to admire them on our way past, but the best flowers, and therefore the most butterflies are at the top of the plant, wrapped around with foliage and outlined against the sky. In other words, not good material for a photo. Then, of course, there is the fact that it is a common or garden, completely tame, well behaved bush, not our sort of thing really.

On the way past yesterday, I noticed a branch with yellow coloured flowers sticking out of the middle of the swathe of purple, so I went over for a closer look. At first I didn’t believe it, but I had plenty of the normal Buddleia flowers nearby to compare with. They looked exactly the same to my unpractised eye, except one was purple and one was yellow. There is no reason that Buddleias can’t be yellow, of course, I just haven’t seen one before. While there were bees and butterflies all over the purple flowers, the yellow blooms only attracted bees.

I wonder what the difference is?

Black and White and Green all Over

Green Veined White Butterfly

Green Veined White Butterfly

Butterflies are an independent lot, they wear whatever they want, whenever they want. Butterfly enthusiasts are used to this and take it in their stride. When the butterflies emerge from their cocoon, they are issued with the correct uniform. but they modify it to their own tastes as the year progresses. If you catch them early enough in the year, before they start getting creative, you’re in luck and when you ask Google to see if he can find anything like your photo, there’s a good chance you’ll see something similar near the top of his list.
We hit the jackpot with this picture. It seems that this guy has emerged fairly recently and he still has his school uniform on. He is male, we can tell because he only has one dark spot on his fore-wing, He’s still quite young, with the green still looking fresh and new. There is just a little grey showing around the top of his rear wing and this shows that he is from the second brood this year.

They differ from their other White cousins in that they prefer wild brassicas to the cultivated variety, they’re more of your wild foraging, than your pop to the supermarket types.

I have to tell you that The Dog is not having a good summer. She is not allowed to chase next-door’s cat, she is not allowed to chase the chickens up the road, she is not allowed to chase the back garden blackbird – and now she isn’t allowed to chase butterflies any more.

She is more than a little disgruntled.

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