Friday, 31 October 2008

First frost

We had the first frost of the autumn overnight. Sorry there's no photo but it's cold out there, I'm only half awake and the windows are steamed up (we don't have double glazing). At least we were not buried under hail and water as poor Ottery St Mary was the night before.

Thursday, 30 October 2008


On the whole it's been a wet and windy and generally unpleasant month. So I shall content myself with showing a bit of the indoor plant life - one of my cacti in flower.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

Birch Shieldbug

This is a Birch Shieldbug (Elasmostethus interstinctus). The adult is like a smaller version of the Hawthorn Shield Bug. It is found throughout the British Isles in mixed woodlands with Birch and it is generally common where it occurs. It hibernates as an adult and eggs are laid in May and June. The new generation becomes adult from August onwards. The egg is pointed and laid in batches of up to 24, usually on birches with catkins. Aspen and Hazel may also be used.

Because it hibernates it often comes into the house at this time of year. I had one arrive in Brackenside one October and this one came into The Willows today.

Perhaps rather cruel but I put this one on its back for a minute to show you the underside. It soon righted itself without my aid.

Pampas Grass

Although the geese did not presage the first frost a hailstorm followed the same day! The frost has yet to start. Unfortunately we had plenty of wind and the newly opened Pampas Grass is already leaning at a crazy angle. For some reason, our garden catches the very worst of the wind and the Pampas Grass does not last long before breaking, at which stage it gets brought indoors as a decoration.

I'm sure people get tired of seeing my Kaffir Lilies but I just love them. Unfortunately they cannot be seen from the house windows so I'm starting a second patch this year. This is the time of year when one doesn't get into the garden much so having some close to the windows will be a real bonus.

Thursday, 2 October 2008

2nd October 2008

I’ve just heard the geese go overhead in the rain. Their arrival around here usually presages the first frosts. Although that seems unlikely in the current wind and downpour it reminds me that I must bring any non-hardy plants indoors. We seem to have gone from summer to winter overnight – what happened to all the mists and mellow fruitfulness?