Down on the Allotment

What's happening down on the allotment? An intimate account of a passionate veggie grower.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Have you seen the Painted Lady?

I have read reports this Spring that we are to expect a huge number of Painted Lady butterflies in the UK this Summer. Apparently they migrate from Africa to Northern Europe each year and there are supposed to be millions on their way now. Yesterday I saw 4 of them just on my lavender flowers alone! Has anyone else seen large numbers in the UK yet? and where are you? Another sort of insect, in the garden is the plum maggot moth. Below you can see that I have hung out a pheromone lure in my plum tree. The little rubber thingy in the centre is impregnated with female plum moth sex hormones!! The poor male moths fly in there thinking that they are going to get lucky... and they stick to the sticky paper! This prevents them from laying eggs in my lovely plums.
Couldn't resist another photo of my Golden Sweet pea and my Purple Podded pea, they are in full production at the moment! Glorious.
This was my first raspberry, it ripened yesterday and I ate it straight from the bush! Today I had two more ripen, but one of them was half eaten by a blackbird. Naively I thought that perhaps these London blackbirds might not know what a raspberry was.... and perhaps they might leave them alone. Wrong! tomorrow I will cover them in a big sheet of fleece!
One more point, I have started the habit of leaving just one or two vegetables from each crop to go to seed each year. The broccoli flowers early in the year were a real magnet for the bees who were climbing all over the yellow flowers. Here you can see that I left a parsnip 'Hollow Crown' to go to seed from last year. Already it is 7ft tall and covered in yellow flower buds. If you have just a little bit of space, it seems to me that they prefer vegetable flowers to flower flowers... or am I just a little bit biased?
Spare a thought for your pollinating insects and just leave somehting for them!

15 Comments:

At 7:55 PM, Blogger Vegetable Heaven said...

We saw Painted Lady butterflies 2 weeks ago. Wonderful things. We're near the East Coast.

 
At 8:04 PM, Blogger Magic Cochin said...

Beautiful photos of your plot again! I'm re-reading the book that inspired my veg garden - "Creative vegetable gardening" by Joy Larkom. It became my bible. She is a great advocate for leaving a few veg to flower.

Celia

 
At 8:04 PM, Blogger Darla said...

Painted Ladies have been around here already, North Florida. Love the sticky trap, juicy raspberries, yum. Have plenty of pollen and pollenators!!

 
At 8:06 PM, Blogger Magic Cochin said...

Ooooo - and I forgot to say...

We saw dozens of Painted Ladies arriving here in the SW corner of Suffolk - skimming over the corn fields - on 24th May.

Celia

 
At 9:18 PM, Blogger Clong said...

What a treasure your blog is! Thanks for all of the inspiration. You mentioned on my blog that I grow a lot of interesting varieties but I suspect you grow more interesting things than I do! Thanks again!

 
At 9:43 PM, Blogger Robert said...

I'm seeing painted ladies every time I visit the allotment. Bees love parsnip flowers. The first year I had bees, I found them bringing in masses of yellow-orange pollen, and managed to follow them back to a large clump of parsnips flowering on an empty plot.

 
At 11:42 PM, Blogger Sylvana said...

I like those pheromone traps. I have a friend who grows apples and doesn't want to spray for apple maggots. I should tell him about these traps.

 
At 2:51 AM, Blogger Dan said...

Now that pea picture is cool!

 
At 3:52 AM, Anonymous kitsapFG said...

No painted ladys in our area but definitely seeing alot more butterflys in general this year. The raspberry looks like it was delicious!

 
At 11:32 AM, Blogger Midmarsh John said...

No Painted Ladies seen here either. Like you I have enjoyed my first ripe raspberry though. I grow mine in a large walk-in fruit cage where only the smallest birds can get.

 
At 11:24 PM, Blogger BilboWaggins said...

First there was the problem with Matrons T*ts, now you have s*x hormones - Blogger is going to get all flustered again!

Seriously though, everything is looking wonderful and I am deeply envious of the amount of rain you've had - the Lake District is not currently living up to its reputation, no proper rain here for over 3 weeks. Grrrrr.

 
At 3:49 PM, Blogger Transition Housewife said...

One painted lady here (Suffolk UK). Saw it yesterday hovering over a wild flower meadow, hadn't seen one in years, so it will be great to see lots more.

 
At 8:08 PM, Blogger Christa said...

I haven't seen many butterflies here at all yet. They tend to visit us later in the summer.

Your peas look gorgeous. And that raspberry - YUM! I have plans to add a few raspberries to my garden next year.

Yes, I think you're right -- The insects seem to really enjoy veg flowers!

 
At 10:30 AM, Blogger Green Lizard said...

Like the idea of letting one go to seed. Will probably try that. thanks

 
At 11:52 AM, Anonymous Liz said...

Parsnip plants are perfect to attract all kinds of beneficial insects - and I also think they look beautiful as they are such grand plants. I always leave at least two or three plants to flower on my plot at the end of each year though. Do be careful when you cut them down though - the sap can cause serious burns if it gets on your skin and is then exposed to sunlight. Best to wear gloves and long sleeves to avoid this.

 

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