The Wild Side of Beth Chatto Gardens: after the rain……..

Heavy drizzle preceded the fourth in my series of  ‘Meet the Wandering Naturalist’ sessions in the Gardens, and although it stopped ten minutes before the start, the first walk was still a pretty sodden affair. Not that it prevented several interested visitors joining me strolling around and looking at nature…

… and realising how lucky we were, given the ring of lowering clouds all round!

Flying insects were relatively few and far-between, most sitting around forlornly, only the bumble- and carder-bees, safely wrapped in their fur coats, creating a buzz in the borders, with Nepeta, Hylotelephium, Salvia yangii, Caryopteris and Vitex agnus-castus being especially sought out.

With a hungry nest to provision, Hornets were busy flying around and entering their nest in a hollow Cherry tree, although the nest entrance was tantalisingly out of sight; however the occupants of one of the above-ground-nesting wasp species (perhaps Median Wasp) remained quiescent.

And even if the insects were few, there were always the rampant scentscapes to enjoy, as always after rain, along with the twittering of House Martins and Swallows migrating overhead and the plaintive autumn song of Robins starting to swell, and of course the displays of rain-drops on many a plant, especially the mercurial spattering on Alchemilla:

During the second hour though the weather changed markedly. The sun came out and turned the garden into a sweltering, humid cauldron, with butterflies (seven species) and dragonflies (three species) responding immediately:

Echinacea, Rudbeckia, Eupatorium, Scabiosa and Foeniculum quickly became the focus for foragers, bees and hoverflies especially, but also a whole lot more …

… and of course for predators keen on making a meal of the pollinators …

… as well as other lookers-on:

Summer may be ending but the garden goes on; there are still plenty of flowers still to peak, to brighten up our lives and deliver their sustenance to the natural world:

If anyone would like to join me in the garden looking at its wildlife, I am planning on repeating this walk (weather permitting) on both 15th and 29th September, between 1100 and 1300. No need to book, just come to the garden (normal entry price – see our website for details) and ask at the Visitor Information Centre where I will be and when, and come along and find me! Nearer the time, if the weather is looking at all dodgy, please feel to contact me using the Contact tab above to check it is likely to be running.

While one can never predict what nature will deliver, I imagine it will be the copious nectar and pollen sources of members of the daisy family Asteraceae, together with Hylotelephium ice-plants in the gravel areas and flowering Ivy in the hedges that will be sustaining insect life. Birds could be heading south overhead and maybe the first fungi of autumn will be sprouting. So much to look forward to!

Blogs of previous events in this series can be found at:

The Wild Side of Beth Chatto Gardens: a butterfly bonanza! | Chris Gibson Wildlife

The Wild Side of Beth Chatto Gardens: the steamy jungles of Essex!! | Chris Gibson Wildlife

The Wild Side of Beth Chatto Gardens: the slide into Autumn… | Chris Gibson Wildlife

Each one is fully illustrated with photos taken on the day; if anyone wants to know the identity of anything depicted, please feel free to contact me through the Contact tab.

Visit the Beth Chatto Gardens and be inspired to Rewild your Mind!