In the veg patch it has all got rather out of control, other than around our few rows of veg. The Cinnabar moths have been happy, as their larvae cover every little groundsel weed and I'm moving them round to fresh plants, as they don't seem to move off searching for fresh food themselves, just sit on defoliated plants. It's an easy kind of weed control, I must admit!
|Cinnabar moth caterpillar (Tyria jacobaeae).|
The first lot of lettuce have long since bolted and get given to the chickens who love them and we are onto the next sowing. I sowed some veggie seed myself for the first time this year a few days ago - more spinach and the last of the pak choi seed which I bought in England. It has a sow by date of 2013 and only one germinated from Keith's previous sowing. I only sowed them in 2013 after buying the packet of seed the autumn before. I don't know why English seed seems to have a sow by date of precisely one year after you buy the seed, whereas French seed tends to give you a good five to seven years for most things (which don't actually always last that long).
As far as the courgettes go, we lost trying to keep up with them a long time ago so when their allocated fridge drawer is full, the older ones get composted. Had some barbecued on a skewer last night with whole mushrooms in between, just brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with oregano, delicious!
I have another grump with my garden centre (Magasin Vert). Remember the Belle de Fontenay 1st early spuds which turned out to be 70% large red spuds like Desirees? Well this tomato which has big to huge fruit, which are yellow now, is labelled Sungold, which is an orange cherry tomato. Sigh. These are actually rather bland tomatoes and I would have appreciated the cherries more.
|Strange tomato which is NOT a cherry!|
|First carrots! There is a bit of root fly, but we are not leaving |
them to become big winter ones, so not really a problem.
I thought I'd see whether growing radishes in July was possible - normally I wait until mid August because our flea beetle problem is usually mostly over by then. But it was not to be and with both these pests the poor plants never got past the little seedling stage. Never mind, we've been buying radishes instead (shock horror!). But they taste as good as home grown, which is often rare with supermarket veggies.
|Flea Beetle and a nymph of that bug which eats my brassicas (Eurydema ornata).|
The big blowsy flowers were in their element a few weeks ago, but now are looking a bit sad due to the dry soil (no matter how much I water, I cannot water enough). I'm doing the rounds with the hosepipe and currently am back to using mains water, as although we've got about 3/4 capacity of stored water after the dribs and drabs of rain we've had (not enough to water the garden but adds up in the water containers), as there is a drought in France and the departments with water restrictions are ever increasing, I am taking my chances of saving my stored water in case we get watering restrictions here in Ille et Vilaine, so using tap water whilst I still can. Of course it might well rain bucket loads and then I'll be cursing, but it's a risk we take. There's no sign of rain on the horizon and September is always a really dry month, so potentially two more months of watering the garden to go.
|Hollyhocks. This plant is 10 foot tall now!|
I enjoy sitting by the lake watching the dragon and damselflies and anything else that moves - including the carp, which come to the surface a lot and swim in the shallows in the summer. And pull silly faces.
|White Legged Damselflies (Platycnemis pennipes) ovipositing whilst the males |
keep a good hold of the females to make sure no other males
get to mate with them before they lay their eggs.
Every now and again when the water level drops in the pond and the muddy and rocky pond bottom is visible, we get a Common Sandpiper visiting. Though having looked at some online images, I am now sure this isn't one, as it doesn't have the CS markings.... in fact after a bit of googling and discussing with my OH, we think it is a Green Sandpiper, which is a new bird for our garden list, now up to 63!
|Possibly a Green Sandpiper (Tringa ochropus).|
A rare sighting of a Turtle Dove - that's twice this summer which is pretty good!
|Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur).|
And a juvenile White Wagtail was playing around on the grass.
|Juvenile White Wagtail (Motacilla alba).|
I'll finish with some of the butterflies I've been seeing - the hot days are the best and as well as these ones there have been Skippers, the occasional Peacock, one possible Common Blue, and Small Heaths flitting about in the lawn, as well as the ubiquitous Speckled Woods, Cabbage Whites and Meadow Browns.
|Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui).|
|Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni).|
|Second sighting of a Map (Araschnia levana).|
|Comma (Polygonia c-album) enjoying the coneflowers.|
|Comma (Polygonia c-album) with more normal lighting!|
|A greatly reduced in size Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta), |
still able to fly and feed.
OK not a butterfly but it is nice to see the Jersey Tiger moths back again in the daytime as they are quite large and very colourful when they open up their wings!
|Jersey Tiger moth (Euplagia quadripunctaria).|
Hugely pleased to see the Silver Washed Fritillary back in my garden. I haven't been able to get very close (these are all zoomed in with my SX50) because they are very flitty, but are enjoying the Knapweed and other wild flowers down by my pond.
|Not sure if this is the female, but looking pristine. |
|A slightly tatty male |
Silver Washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia).
|Silver Washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia).|
I'll finish up with this self seeded Marjoram which appeared some years back and I'm very happy to find it has self seeded in the gravel as well. It is a Gatekeeper magnet - they really love this flower as you can see! I count eleven of them and a bumble bee. You may have to open this full size to see them properly. I'm glad to see that Gatekeepers are having as good a year this year as last, and whilst they are common, and everywhere, I still enjoy seeing them!
|Gatekeepers (Pyronia tithonus) galore!|
Lots of photos in this post but then I'm signing out for a week or so because chemo round 9 has started again. My last session will be mid September, so there really is light at the end of the tunnel, and hopefully there will still be some nice weather in October for going to the coast again to eat moules frites and wander the coastal heathlands. :-)
I'm also pleased because I've just found a French moth and butterfly site which is quite easy to search with good sized thumbnails, so hopefully it will make my moth IDing easier! I've had the trap out three times in the last week but the vast majority that I've caught I haven't been able to ID yet.... it's like looking for a needle in a haystack and can take hours for each one. I am also able to click on my department and look at the butterflies that have been recorded here - good grief, there have been the following blue butterflies seen here - Mazarine, Adonis, Silver Studded and Idas!!! Mind you, it doesn't say when or how many - might have been one of each, ever. :-)