Friday, 13 May 2016

Back garden update

There's been lots going on in the back garden recently, so here's a quick update...

We found this lovely little damselfly in the kitchen window yesterday. It had been in behind some plants so was a bit dusty, but it soon cleaned itself up and it flew off out of the back door. I think this is a red-eyed damselfly as it has black legs, big red eyes and they start to fly in May.

Such amazing eyes!
My parents pond always has loads of frog spawn laid in it, but they have some very big fish in the pond that eat it all, so every year they rescue some of it. A few clumps have gone into our pond (it's all hatched and the tadpoles have disappeared into the murk), some tadpoles have been released into a nearby stream and some have come to live in a tank in our kitchen. They keep the kids quiet for hours, watching them wriggling around and scoffing fish food pellets. While they're thriving in their tank we'll keep them, then let them go in our pond.

Released into the stream

The tadpoles in our tank love nibbling on a fish food pellet
We got the moth trap out last weekend and tried to run it for the first time this year, but managed to blow the bulb. A new one arrived yesterday, so we decided to run it last night. It was a little bit cold and windy, but the weather is set to turn much colder overnight, so we thought we'd give it a go. Fairly predictably it was full of cockchafers this morning, plus a crane fly and a couple of moths.
Male cockchafer with huge feathery antennae

Crane fly
Barred rivulet (I think)
Pale tussock with some very hairy legs!

Pale tussock
Katrina the red kite is busy sitting on eggs. She's doing a great job so far, so we're hoping they'll hatch early in June.

The day of rain we had this week after all that hot weather has made the plants in the garden explode into life. After the dark mullein we grew from seed last year died right back, I was quite worried that it had all died. It's growing fast now though and will hopefully flower this year and we'll see if any striped lychnis moths (which we grew it for) manage to find it!

Dark mullein
The wild flower patch that we planted the year before last with some free seed has self seeded and is doing well. The red campion is the first to flower.
red campion
The nettles in the nettle patch are completely covered in aphids. Now we need some ladybirds and ladybird larvae to find them as they'd have a real feast! No sign of any caterpillars yet, but we'll keep an eye out for them.
Just a few aphids!
Finally, the kids have planted some carrot seed for their school 'crunchy carrot' competition. The first seedlings have appeared for we're off and running. There are prizes for longest, heaviest, tastiest and funniest shaped carrot, so we'll keep you posted!


  1. Nice to find your site via uknhb.The damselfly is a Large Red Damselfly,usually the first of the season to appear.