Ups and Downs

Sicilian honey garlic or sheath of arrows?

Dear Readers, in yesterday’s post I mentioned that when Sicilian honey garlic flowers are pollinated, they reverse direction and stand up like little arrows. And so they do! One of the great things about writing the blog is that I read things, and then go back to investigate. Apparently this plant will also self-seed all over the place, which is no bad thing in my book.

But other news is not so great.

Tumbled angelica

Either my angelica simply outgrew its strength, or one of the neighbourhood cats or foxes rushed through the undergrowth a little too enthusiastically, but one of the stems on my angelica has keeled over. Such a shame! I have leaned it against the handrail while I decide what to do. It is pretty much broken off at the base, but the tallest stem is still fortunately doing very well.

On one side of the garden, someone (I suspect a mollusc) is systematically eating all the new leaves off of my seeds as they germinate.

But on the other side of the garden, there is not a nibble to be seen. It’s a tiny bit sunnier, so maybe that’s enough to deter the slugs and snails.

And my blue water iris is in flower!

But what has kept me most amused today is the mating behaviour of the azure damselflies. The females are a pale green, the males brilliant blue, and once a male has mated, he grasps the female around the neck so that no other chap can ruin his genetic legacy. It’s quite a performance, and the males have to perform all kinds of gymnastics to stay attached. You can see their wings are just a blur as they try to keep their balance. The female probes about in the hornwort to find the perfect place to lay her eggs, and then she flies off, male in tow, to find another spot. What extraordinary animals they are! Meanwhile, unpaired males sit around on the reeds, waiting for their chance.

And finally, how’s this for some mimicry?

Bumblebee mimic hoverfly (probably Criorhina berberina)

This hoverfly not only looks like a bumblebee but sounded and behaved like one too: I heard a loud disgruntled buzzing, and when I looked I thought it was a bumblebee looking for a nesting site. I wonder how many hoverflies go completely under the radar because they look so much like another insect? How handy it must be to disguise yourself as a much more dangerous insect, especially as not many creatures in the UK eat bees, and lots eat flies. There is so much to learn about, even in an average back garden, that if I lived to be 500 years old I’d never get to the bottom of it.

4 thoughts on “Ups and Downs

  1. FEARN

    I will time how many days it takes for our Sicilian honey garlic to stand to attention so I know how many days Edinburgh is behind London. No sign of self seeding since last year. Maybe you need Sicilian heat for that. Also saw a blue damselfly in our front garden yesterday. Must have roamed from the canal as our half barrel pond is in the back garden. (OK I know they are good flyers but the canal is a lot bigger.) Sorry to hear about your Angelica getting the Chelsea chop.

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  2. Evadne Horne

    I wondered why my self seeded honey garlic flowers were standing upright ,now I know,look forward to your blog each morning with my early cuppa

    Reply
    1. Bug Woman Post author

      Why, thank you and welcome Evadne! It’s so nice to know that you’re enjoying the blog, it makes it all worthwhile :-).

      Reply

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