June was a mixed month. At first hot, sunny and settled, perfect for insect life using the resources of the garden, with nectar and pollen sources galore…
… then as midsummer approached, so the weather closed in, with lots of cloud, occasional heavy rain, and on some days, unseasonable cold. Even in the gloom though, there is good reason to visit: my last blog (see here) was an exploration of the beauty to be found after a deluge.
Star plants from the insects’ perspective this month included Salvias and their relatives (closed flowers that require a bee or something large and powerful to get to the nectar and pollen), and Knautia macedonica, Eurphorbias and umbellifers, whose resources in contrast are open to all, from bees to hoverflies, tachinid flies to beetles and a whole lot more.
Honey Garlic too seemed to be attracting more than its fair share of bees to its stately flower spikes with drooping heads:
Midsummer frolics also around the pond with dragonflies and especially damselflies emerging and then adorning the foliage with shards of neon.
June is traditionally not the best time for butterflies, the season between the spring emergers and those of high summer. But they did include a few Painted Ladies, although after a promising start, it seems we are not now in for a major invasion this summer.
Moths are less prone to the ‘June gap’, and flurries of flying faeries (longhorn moths, like the Gold-barred Longhorn) were easy to see, along with the mobile garden adornments provided by their caterpillars. What could be more stunning than a Mullein Moth larva, or more intriguing than the silken cascades protecting the nests of Spindle Ermines, or more important than the Green Oak-rollers, the main food of hungry Great and Blue Tit chicks?
The cornucopia of delights for summer continues with Thick-thighed Beetles, Two-spotted Malachite-beetles, soldier-beetles, Gargoyle Flies and Wolf Spiders.
Now is as good a time as any to visit the gardens whatever your interest – flowers, wildlife or simply tranquility, a refuge in troubled times… please visit the Beth Chatto website to book your tickets.