What a Strange Year….

Cuckoo spit on the lavender

Dear Readers, I don’t know what’s going on where you live, but here in East Finchley, after a very wet and cold spring, all sorts of things are positively busting out, including the froghoppers. I have never seen so much cuckoospit in my life – not only is it all over the lavender, but it’s also on the catmint and the poor old asters, where it seems to be taking quite a toll (though I suspect some of this is actually the slugs). Generally, cuckoospit looks a little unsightly but doesn’t cause any harm, and is soon gone – the ‘spit’ is a protective layer for the rather cool little bug (a true bug in this case) who lives inside. You can read all about it here (and I note that 2014 was apparently another very good year for froghoppers), and for anyone interested in the plant disease Xylella (spread by froghoppers, but according to the RHS not yet detected in the UK as at 2023) I did a piece here.

And then I’m worried about the buddleia (as usual). It starts off so pristine, but already the black aphids have arrived and are damaging the leaves, some of which are shiny with honeydew already – not a complete disaster, as honeydew is the favourite food of several butterflies, including the holly blue that I saw last week.

Holly blue

However, this yellow discolouration is new – I’m thinking possibly a virus of some sort, or eelworm or something else exciting. Any thoughts, gardening friends?

All in all, though, I am not unhappy with how things are going. I know the green alkanet has run amok, but look at the happy pollinators.

And there’s a mint moth hiding in the nettles…

And the Bowle’s mauve perennial wallflower is doing really well…

And there is not a spare square inch for any more plants. Although that probably won’t stop me from buying some :-).

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