Thursday, 30 June 2011

Hortus Lepidopterans

Okay so the Latin title might not be linguistically correct, but it has a better feel to it than "Garden Moths and Butterflies" which is what this post is all about.

Ever since we bought our house we have been slowly working on transforming the square lawn, which takes up all the flat area of the rear garden, into something more interesting with flowers and shrubs etc. Last year we used a whole bunch of bricks to mark out where we wanted the borders and a pond to be. Unfortunately we haven't had the time to actually do all the work yet.

The back left corner of the garden will eventually hold the pond and a bit of a bog garden as well as a small patio and a bench. Currently though, we have simply let this corner go wild to produce an interesting habitat for good old fashioned British wildlife. This means lots of tall grass, ragwort, dock and a whole bunch of other plants. One side effect of this is that the number of species of moths and butterflies we are seeing in the garden is increasing.

So far this year I've managed to identify and photograph two new species of moth and a butterfly.

From left to right we have:
Tyria jacobaeae
A day flying moth more commonly referred to as a Cinnabar. This is likely to have been attracted to the garden by the ragwort growing wild in what will eventually be a pond as this is the favourite food of it's larval form.
Polyommatus icarus
Last year we actually saw quite a few blue butterflies flitting around the garden. Unfortunately they either flew over the fence or were eaten by the Robins before we had a chance to identify them. This year, however, I finally found one sunning itself in the border and it sat still long enough for me to identify it as a Common Blue. It's a shame I didn't manage a photo of the bright blue upper wing surfaces but all the identifying characteristics are actually in the photo.
Diachrysia chrysitis f. aurea
I found this Burnished Brass moth in the herb border today while I was mowing the lawn. It was sitting in the marjoram which isn't really surprising given that my moth book lists marjoram as one of the larval food plants.
So I'm sorry if any of my neighbors think that the garden looks a little untidy, it will improve slowly, but until we have the time I'd prefer it to be a haven for British wildlife then a boring lawn.
30 June 2011 at 21:32 , GB said...

An interesting trio. I'm glad I didn't have to worry about my neighbours. It took me many years to turn the croft in front of my house into a garden.

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