Saturday 9 September 2023

Of butterflies and moths

A little more Wales, which seems like a while ago now. A storm moved in and whipped up waves on the lake. The castle is Conwy Castle, built between 1283 and 1287. I can't imagine how, it's completely amazing. The old town walls are apparently some of the finest and most complete in Europe and are part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I'd love to visit in winter when it's quiet and have a really good look round.

At the moment I've been enjoying the warm evenings, walking about the place with the dog as the sun sets. Windows are thrown open to try and capture a breath of air and lights are on as the evenings draw in. It's been lovely, although the afternoons have been a bit hot for my taste and I do love regular rain keeping everything green.

On the subject of green, let's talk about box moths. I don't know if it's the same across the country, but they have absolutely devastated box hedges here. There has been a little damage over the past couple of years, but this year, oh my. Below is a box ball a few weeks into the summer.

The other ten or so I have were in similar shape. Then in a matter of days, they were like this:

Shall we take a look at the culprit?

There must be hundreds of thousands of them. Big box hedges have been reduced to straw, it's astonishing. There were around eight box moths in the bathroom the other evening. 

I have ordered some yew plants to replace the box, but they'll take a while to grow. In the meantime I have quite a few empty pots. 

I've added a few acers and ferns though, which should be nice when they're bigger. I do like lots of green shady stuff. The back of the house faces south, so I put the shady stuff along the east-facing fence where it's not too brutally sunny. I have a prized acer at the moment (prized by me, probably not to anyone else, it's not exactly spectacular, but I have high hopes) and I am moving it round during the day to keep it out of the sun. 

Something that has surprised me is that a cloud of butterflies has turned up to feed on the ripe figs. There are a handful that are too high up to pick, and I have had red admirals fluttering around them every day, it's been lovely. No pictures, they've been too high up, but I do have a gatekeeper for you. 

I have also tackled the pond, which is a non-favourite job. Although the anticipation is worse than the actual job. Once I've got a grip of myself and plunged my hands into the murky depths it's quite satisfying. The frogs and newts have more space to swim about now that most of the waterlily and weed have been removed.

Not much news at the moment. I am working hard now the urchins are back at school and learning as much as I can about writing and self-publishing in my spare time. And also cooking the mountain of windfall apples that I have this year. I thought about getting a dehydrator and making apple rings, but I'm trying not to eat too much sugar. Although of course cooked apple has exactly the same amount of sugar, so I don't know where my logic is on that. 

I've noticed that People can be quite slow to take a homegrown apple out of the fruit bowl if it has a blemish on it. I usually have to rant at them a bit to persuade them. Ridiculous, because they taste sublime. Luckily ranting is one of my strengths.

Hope all is well at your end and that you have apples and butterflies aplenty. I'd be interested to know if box moths are as common and have done as much damage where you are. CJ xx