Last week we had a period of lovely warm dry weather so I decided I would take the opportunity to get out into my garden and take a closer look at the smaller creatures living amongst the wildflowers and shrubs.
There were carder bees, garden bumbles and red tailed bumbles busily flying from one lavender flower to the next and disappearing into the bell shaped flowers of the foxgloves.
I then saw a few admirals, orange tips and painted lady butterflies fluttering up and down the garden in the sunshine and never landing long enough for me to take their photo.
I decided to sit by one of my lavender bushes for a while and take a closer look at it. I suddenly realised it was teaming with life. There were drone flies, planthoppers, darkling beetles. and a variety of hoverflies. It was amazing to see so many creatures appreciating my lavender as much as I do.
I think the most beautiful bug I saw on the lavender was a rosemary beetle.
Unfortunately these attractive beetles are an invasive species which appeared in the UK in about 1994 and apparently eats the new growth of various aromatic plants. The adult beetles are roughly 8mm long with shiny metallic purple and green stripes on their wing cases and thorax. Adult beetles are usually first seen in late spring, and remain mostly stationary on plants until later in the year. In late summer they’ll begin to mate and lay eggs on the underside of leaves. After the larvae hatch they feed on the host plant for a few weeks before dropping down to pupate below the soil surface.
They are stunningly beautiful though.
As I walked around the garden I saw lots of fine threads of silk glistening in the sunshine from tiny garden spiders that have recently hatched out. The best time to appreciate spiders webs of course is when its been raining or a dewy morning as they look like they are covered in tiny glistening diamonds.
Along a wooden log on the floor I saw zebra spiders sunning themselves and a weevil scurrying by. I then saw what I think is a meadow grasshopper, which I have never seen before. I just love the sound of grasshoppers, as to me its the sound of summer.
As I made my way back inside for some well earned cake and a cup of tea I brushed pasted my sweet smelling honeysuckle, accidentally disturbing some moths which fluttered about not happy that they had been woken up.
It was lovely to see such a variety of small creatures living in the garden and it was fascinating to take a closer look at the miniature secret world that surrounds us. I shall remember to take a closer look more often from now on.