CREATURES GREAT AND SMALL

It was the beginning of spring of this past year that I decided to let our garden become an Ark, and to let everything that wanted to grow be there without interference from me. And it worked, the garden became one large ecological wonder, Thistles, Foxgloves, Nettles, Comfrey, Dandelions, and so many more wild plants seemed to be in competition with each other to produce the most foliage and flowers. Needless to say the garden became a haven for insects and the butterflies were found in abundance too. Everyday I was out there filming and taking photos of all these delightful creatures, too many of which I don’t quite know the proper name of. First time seeing the Orange tip butterfly and also the Meadow Brown. At some point the Leek flowers were visited by several Peacocks, Red Admirals, and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies. Besides the ordinary Whites I also had a visit of a Green Veined White, and of course not to forget the Painted Ladies of which there were several this past summer. I had a Meadow Brown which was also a first here in the garden, and of course the yearly Speckled Wood. Such a delight!

At some stage there were numerous Tortoiseshell, Red Admirals and Peacock butterflies on the same plants in a rather smallish area, they seem to love the flowers of the leeks which I had let grow out.
And then there are the Hoverflies and the Bumblebees, and the honey bees, I am afraid that I still have issues with identification, maybe I might have some time during the winter to look over my photos and do some identification, I would love to know more about them all right, and there are good websites to help me.
Several times during the summer I have had to step in to help rescue bees. A little honey later and they fly off again.
This photo shows what was like a little invasion of creatures but my photo is too unclear to identify, it was an amazing happening I thought.

And even though we had such an abundance of creatures in the garden in this past year, I am having to re-think my gardening plan for this coming season 2020, the reason for this is that by now the garden is totally overgrown. I have let it get out of hand and now will find it hard to find space for vegetables, the growth has been so enormous and so I will be planning differently but still with insect life in mind.

Let me know please what you do in this regard, do you just let every wild plant grow where it wants, or do you keep some order in your garden or plot. I would be very interested in learning from your experience my friends. Thank you.

MYSTERY IN THE GARDEN – A WORK OF ART

Today while pruning the rosemary bush my eye caught something unusual, excitedly I grabbed my camera to try and see more of what I was seeing. It seemed to be something like a cocoon, with a perfectly round opening. And when I looked inside I saw an earwig! That is I saw what I think was the body of an earwig, it did not move, and another bit of a darker body but I could not see that properly and did not want to disturb the creature (s). I took several photos hoping some of them would show and give us more info.

Here part of the earwig can clearly be seen.
I particularly like the underside of the cocoon, it is intricately made using the pieces of fern leaf. A work of art.
Notice the intricately woven cocoon, it’s beautiful and has totally woven a leaf of a fern that grew under the large rosemary bush.
This is a very close up picture and not great but the best I could do. You can clearly see the earwig to the left I think, and some black creature to the right.

I do not know what this is that I found, I was under the impression that earwigs have nests in the soil. I’ve never come across a spider hole like this either, so it’s probably not a spider having sucked the life out of an earwig and taken it into his lair. The cocoon type of thing is only about 3cm wide.

I am really hoping to get some feedback on this, on what this is. All my life I have had to overcome a bit of a phobia about earwigs, they would always come to me, cling to me, I saw them everywhere and my washing was always full of them and I would hate finding them while ironing. But now-a-days I am very interested in finding out more about them, their lifestyle and as I hardly every see them lately, it fascinates me to find one in this position. Please if you have any ideas about what is going on in my rosemary bush do tell me in the comments 🙂 I cannot wait to hear what you all think.

Here is a little update then. The day after I took photos and wrote about this I checked and found that the earwig had disappeared. I can now only see what appears to be a chrysalis and like Eliza and Marylou mentioned in their comments, it is very likely the chrysalis of a moth. My plan is now to take it inside the conservatory and keep an eye on it. I am really curious about it now. Thank you all for your interest and input.

DANCE OF THE SPIDERS

Yesterday I took a look at some of the spiders which were hanging around the garden, seeing that the turn of the season is almost upon us and with the morning mists and the evening becoming cooler, the spiders seem to become much more noticeable. They immediately reminded me of ballerinas, especially the three first ones that I came across, they are garden spiders, Araneus diadematus, also called the Crowned Orb Weaver. You see those a lot around here, they are quite beautiful and have sometimes huge webs.  They rarely enter the house.  In autumn the gardens are full of them.  I took the first three photos, of two different spiders just outside along the wall beside the rainwater barrel.

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The fine slender spider is quite unfamiliar to me and I cannot locate it, I did not see it before in the garden either.

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Here in between two leaves (the leaves looked as if they had been pulled together into some sort of hammock), there are two garden spiders, sleeping perhaps, not sure but they looked quite cosy in there. I’ll be keeping an eye out for other species with the autumn starting. We are still getting nice weather, perhaps we might even get an Indian summer. Schools have started and everyone is getting back into routine, we saw a great number of swallows gathering on a neighbour’s roof, another sign of the season’s changing and their farewell to our shores, and we ourselves are preparing for our journey to warmer climate too.

SOME THOUGHTS

 

From inert fossils and lichens, to the very much alive and energetic lizards, bees and ants, and a huge range of other creatures, the flowers, trees, the amazing rocks and limestone buildings, the land here has such riches to offer for the eye and the mind.  It will take me a while to analyse it all.  I have taken so many photos while here, and I still have so much in mind to write about.  I am still finding out about the agriculture, the organic and permaculture on Gozo.  I’m also reading up about the local bees, the honey, the production of local wines, the economy of the land.  I have met local people on buses and in shops and we have had great chats, I have also visited the libraries and talked with people at an art exhibition.  I find the Gozitans very approachable, they are friendly people and welcoming to strangers.

 

 

BEAUTY OF SMALL CREATURES

“This curious world we inhabit is more wonderful than convenient; more beautiful than it is useful; it is more to be admired and enjoyed than used.”
Henry David Thoreau
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“There is not one blade of grass, there is no color in this world that is not intended to make us rejoice.” John Calvin

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“It is interesting that Hindus, when they speak of the creation of the universe do not call it the work of God, they call it the play of God, the Vishnu lila, lila meaning play. And they look upon the whole manifestation of all the universes as a play, as a sport, as a kind of dance — lila perhaps being somewhat related to our word lilt” Alan W.Watts
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“Imagination is a very high sort of seeing, which does not come by study, but by the intellect being where and what it sees, by sharing the path, or circuits of things through forms, and so making them translucid to others.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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“Looking at beauty in the world, is the first step of purifying the mind.”  Amit Ray
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“Beauty is the purest feeling of the soul. Beauty arises when soul is satisfied.” Amit Ray