A Merf

Squash Vine Borer Moth

Along with many others we have a healthy patch of milkweed plants in the garden to do our bit for the protection of monarch butterflies. In the last few days the flowers have opened and while the monarchs have not been seen yet many other insects have taken notice and come around for the nectar.

This large fellow appeared and caught my eye. Handsome chap I said ti myself and took its portrait – then I realized why it looks familiar. This is the Squash Vine Borer Moth which is a major pest of Cucurbitae (squash, cucumbers, courgettes etc) and something we take great pains to remove from the Fritz Garden. Its larvae – caterpillars – bore into the stems of squash plants near ground level and then work upwards and eventually kill the host plant. Very hard to contend with and now it seems they are fuelled by milkweed nectar – which, of course, we also grow beside the Fritz Garden.

  • Aperture: ƒ/4
  • Camera: DSC-RX10M3
  • Taken: 1 July, 2020
  • Focal length: 155.41mm
  • ISO: 320
  • Shutter speed: 1/250s
By |2020-07-01T15:17:22-04:00July 4th, 2020|garden, INsect|0 Comments

Cottonwood Dagger Moth

At the weekend this splendid and rather large (the wingspan is 40–50 mm) moth appeared on the deck and was being attacked by a Chipping Sparrow. So large is the moth that even if the sparrow had won the battle it would have not been able to eat it … which is perhaps why a friend came to assist. In moving to get the camera I disturbed the birds and they flew away leaving the moth still alive but less than happy with life. Later in the day it expired.

  • Aperture: ƒ/4
  • Camera: DSC-RX10M3
  • Taken: 27 June, 2020
  • Focal length: 219.82mm
  • ISO: 1250
  • Shutter speed: 1/250s

By |2020-06-27T14:25:05-04:00June 29th, 2020|garden, INsect|0 Comments

After the Rain

“Luvverly Drop O’Rain”

Apparently we have had only about one month’s rain in the past three months and the last few weeks have been abnormally dry and hot. A couple days ago they forecast the possibility of some showers but what we got was a drenching storm … so much appreciated.

Here is a part of the no-mow lawn (the “mead”) looking at it’s best under a torrential downpour. You can see why the wildlife likes living here with us … not your typical suburbia.

  • Aperture: ƒ/2.8
  • Camera: ILCE-7M2
  • Taken: 23 June, 2020
  • Focal length: 35mm
  • ISO: 320
  • Shutter speed: 1/60s
By |2020-06-26T07:25:11-04:00June 26th, 2020|garden, Landscape|0 Comments

Clover Time

Summer Flowers in the Mead

After the spring flowers on the uncut lawn area (the mead) we are now beginning to see the appearance of summer grassland flowers – including four species of clovers.

Why would anyone have a mown lawn and miss these pleasures?

  • Aperture: ƒ/11
  • Camera: DSC-RX10M3
  • Taken: 21 June, 2020
  • Focal length: 8.8mm
  • ISO: 400
  • Shutter speed: 1/30s

By |2020-06-21T15:36:02-04:00June 24th, 2020|flowers, garden|0 Comments

Iris sibirica

New Flowers

There has been a short hiatus in the garden between the spring flowers, mostly shades of blue some yellow, and the early summer flowering. One of the first is this beautiful white Iris sibirica. A very elegant flower.

  • Aperture: ƒ/4
  • Camera: DSC-RX10M3
  • Taken: 13 June, 2020
  • Exposure bias: -3/10EV
  • Focal length: 39.42mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/125s

By |2020-06-13T14:48:08-04:00June 16th, 2020|flowers, garden|0 Comments


Making the Best of a Bad Job

This Rhododendron was hidden in a very shady corner of the garden when we moved here in 1998 and was not “doing” at all well. Rhododendrons can handle shade but do like a bit of sunshine. However, in recent years it has decided that as the environment it finds itself in is not going to improve it had better put some effort into making the best of what it has got by itself. This June it really doing rather well – colour in that corner is just what was needed … but oh, what a time we had to wait.

  • Aperture: ƒ/4
  • Camera: DSC-RX10M3
  • Taken: 12 June, 2020
  • Exposure bias: -3/10EV
  • Focal length: 60.29mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/500s

By |2020-06-13T14:49:00-04:00June 15th, 2020|flowers, garden|0 Comments

Rosa glauca

Rosa glauca (formerly R. rubrifolia)

We planted three of these roses in the garden a couple of decades ago. One didn’t last long, crowded out by encroaching dogwoods. Two are still with us but overshadowed and so the leaves and flowers are quite high on bare stems. This chap was planted in the front by an ambitious squirrel and after several years of slow growth is now making a good living.

The flowers come only once and last a bare week but are quite gorgeous. The seed-containing hips are apparently some of the biggest of any rose and a red/orange delight in the fall. really though the rose is grown for its beautiful foliage. It is native to the mountains of central and southern Europe, from Spanish Pyrenees east to Bulgaria, and north to Germany and Poland.

  • Aperture: ƒ/4.5
  • Camera: ILCE-7M2
  • Taken: 10 June, 2020
  • Focal length: 97mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/125s

By |2020-06-10T15:05:49-04:00June 13th, 2020|flowers, garden|0 Comments


High Productivity

This is a small part of one of the three newly installed raised vegetable beds we are experimenting with this year – dense plantings of tatsoi, mizuma, aubergines, roquette.

Elsewhere peppers, tomatoes, carrots, chard, peas, bunching onions and few other good things. Coming though just now are germinating bush beans.

Planned succession is the secret.

  • Aperture: ƒ/3.5
  • Camera: DSC-RX10M3
  • Taken: 9 June, 2020
  • Focal length: 31.33mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/125s
By |2020-06-12T10:25:19-04:00June 12th, 2020|garden, vegetables|0 Comments

Yellow Flag Iris

Nice but Undesirable

A gorgeous flower just appearing in a constraining planter on the edge of the garden pond. This is a good place for them to be but they are not natives on this continent and if they get out into the wild they form dense mats on the edges of waterways that crowd all the other riverside/lakeside plants that would otherwise be flourishing there.

  • Aperture: ƒ/4
  • Camera: DSC-RX10M3
  • Taken: 8 June, 2020
  • Focal length: 198.21mm
  • ISO: 100
  • Shutter speed: 1/320s
By |2020-06-13T14:49:41-04:00June 11th, 2020|flowers, garden|0 Comments