Dear Readers, we were sitting peaceably in the garden on Sunday, gathering strength for our annual hacking-back of the willowherb and hemp agrimony, when my husband, who is becoming quite the naturalist under my twenty-years of nonstop tuition, noticed a wasp behaving in a quite unusual way.
It seemed to be absolutely fascinated by a crack in the patio. It would go underground for a short distance and emerge with something small and white, before flying off. We watched it several times before realising that it was picking out ant larvae or cocoons – occasionally an adult ant would run around frantically, but generally the wasp went about its task unmolested.
In this photo you can just about see that the wasp has something in its jaws, if you squint. Sorry not to have gotten a better picture, but I was enthralled. The wasp kept visiting the whole time we procrastinated over our tea and toast, flying off with its prey three or four times while we watched. What amazing animals they are. How did it even know that there were ants there, and make the link that there would also be larvae (this wasp didn’t seem at all interested in the adults).
And then a robin started singing its heart out from the hawthorn, as if to tell us to get a move on, and so we did.
Following the undignified collapse of the angelica earlier this year, the hemp agrimony and meadowsweet have grown in a multitude of directions, none of them vertical, and so the pond has become very shaded. The frogs were not unhappy about this.
But if I don’t cut things back and clear them out, the pond will become a bog and I won’t be able to get to the shed, so needs must. Next year I think I’ll buy some plant supports so that the hemp agrimony in particular doesn’t flop so much – any recommendations, readers? The plant grows to about four feet tall and is a bit of a thug, so it needs to be robust.
After about 90 minutes work we could finally see all of the pond, and were feeling very pleased with ourselves. This frog, however, reminded me a bit of those shots of mountain gorillas looking back at their deforested hillsides and wondering what on earth happened. I wonder if s/he’ll notice the snail behind her at some point, and finally prove that frogs are the gardener’s friend, as opposed to just a bunch of freeloaders :-)?
I also love that the seeds from the hemp agrimony make the frog look as if it’s sparkling. I hope that s/he soon gets accustomed to the changed circumstances, and doesn’t sit around looking obvious for too much longer.