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Thursday, 24 April 2014

What's happening in the veg patch

If you thought this was going to be about veggies, think again. I can't be bothered to take photos of inch high peas and lettuce to show you! However I do have a lot of flowers in my veg patch, and flowers attract insects....

Looking into the veg patch with kale flowering
and my lovely old cherry tree at the far end.

I decided to leave my Wildflowers for Pollinators meadow in for a third year, forgoing onions as this year it is now my Allium plot. I have garlic in here and just enough space to transplant my leeks later on in the summer. It will have to go before next year though as with my 5 year crop rotation this will be where I'm planting my spuds! 

What's still in there is Hesperis matronalis, Wallflowers (which must be perennial ones as they are flowering again), Forget Me Nots, a white Valerian, some Foxgloves, a yellow flowered Lupin, some Coreopsis lanceolata, and a few things I'm not sure what they are - could possibly be weeds that have nothing to do with this patch, but time will tell! I'm expecting the annuals to self seed to fill in the odd gaps here and there.

Year 3 for my Wildflowers for Pollinators meadow.

These are regular Forget Me Nots; elsewhere I have the smaller Alpine variety.
But they look great with the Wallflowers. There's a small fly on the Forget Me Not in the centre.

But the stars of the show right now are the purple curly kale and the PSB flowers, which are attracting bees galore. The kale is the prettiest with the purple stems and leaves, but the bees are not fussy.

A Carder Bee - I see loads of these pretty bumble bees here.
Possibly Bombus pascuorum.

Yellow-legged Mining Bee (Andrena flavipes).

Hairy-footed Flower Bee (Anthophora plumipes), male.

A closer view of the Hairy-footed Flower Bee (Anthophora plumipes).
Here he is again showing his middle leg which is really hairy!

And this is just a solitary bee of some sort, not enough info in this photo for an ID.

It's not just the Brassicas which are attracting insects, the strawberries are alive with them too!

Which is why this crab spider has been hunting and caught a little fly for dinner.

I thought this was a Grasshopper but I've discovered it's most probably a Common Groundhopper
(Tetrix undulata). Good old insect book. I'd never even heard of a Groundhopper!

It's a great spring for butterflies and I've never seen
a Small Copper (Lycaena phlaeas) early in the year before!

I found this beetle which I'm 99% sure is Malachius bipustulatus.

Malachius bipustulatus - what a sweet little face!

Groovy coloured tiny weevil on a currant leaf. I saw them a number of times
on the currants last year, but they don't seem to be doing them any harm.

I will of course do a proper veg patch update when there is anything edible to talk about. :-)


  1. Your photos show of the beautiful colours of the bugs and Bees, do you know the full name of the yellow flower the Bees like.
    Amanda x

    1. Hi Amanda and thanks. The flowers are mostly purple curly kale in these photos, and in the same patch are PSB = purple sprouting broccoli. Bees are not fussy, they are all brassica flowers which they love! I'm still picking some PSB from a later variety but we are rather sick of it and the hens are getting lots of the shoots before they flower. :-)

    2. Thanks Mandy, I was the yellow flower that confused me (easily done), because you had said Purple... I thought the yellow flowers belonged to another plant...!

    3. haha sorry! Yes purple is the colour of the leaves and stems on the kale...... and PSB has purplish sprouts but you probably know that. Both have yellow flowers. :-)

  2. Ooh, what a wealth in here, Mandy! Those bee photos are just fantastic! But my favourite is the tiny weevil, he looks so cute! Yes, Spring is surely here to stay a while, or at least at the Chateau :-))

    1. Hi Jan, thanks very much! I was very pleased with the bee photos as I really had to point and shoot and cross fingers, because they were whizzing around so fast. I can't do that kind of photography with my SX50 as it doesn't react fast enough (i.e. autofocus and shooting at same time), so I am grateful for my DSLR for this. I'm seeing lots of tiny weevils around and they are very cute! Thanks for visiting. :-)

  3. Expertly captured!!! Are you using a built in flash or an accessory mounted to the camera? Either are a master.

    1. Hi Marianne - I only used flash for a couple of these photos and not the bee ones. I'm trying to use my Speedlite these days. All but one of the bee photos here were taken using Sports Mode on my dslr and mostly heavily cropped, because the bees are buzzing around so fast I need speed to capture them, and of course the downside is wide aperture, but being further away means I get more dof. See I understand all this now. ;-) Thanks Marianne!