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in Wildlife gardening
As i was weeding my allotment i noticed alot of black and yellow striped caterpilers.
after some research i found them to be cinnabar moth caterpilers.
the strange thing was they were only eating certain weeds and not my lettuce,cabbage nor beans.weird or not.
I then discovered on google , their food is mainly ragwort.
So they can live happily on my my plot,i will even leave some weeds for them
Just as i was about to put some waste in my compost bin ,there tucked up in a
ball was a hedgehog suckling two tiny babies,so i stood back , looked, but left them alone.
Isnt life just great
Yes Peter, it is, at least some of the time
We discovered yesterday that our resident hedgehog is a mum; she and a half-grown hoglet were eating the food we put out for her every evening.
We have several frogs in our garden (next door have a pond where they spawn), and today we discovered several little this year's froglets.
Our sweetcorn is full of flowers and little cobs and looks amazing, the blackbirds are virtually living in the runner bean wigwams and there were loads of bumble bees on our Russian Giant sunflowers today.
And my OH and I have just eaten a tub of mint choc chip ice cream
Life is definitely great today
Yes Peter, it is! I've never been one for nature and all that. Until this year. My first year gardening, and I'm noticing, and learning about allsorts.
Stuff I never noticed before has meaning now, and pesky insects I would have dismissed are actually quite welcome now!
And there's something satisfying about eating your own home grown crops! Love it!
Yes Peter I believe it is Seeing a pair of toads in my garden was fantastic, hopefully we will have some toadlets soon. I saw a type of dragon fly on my washing line today. Over the last few evenings I've seen bats flying about, all firsts for this year.
I should warn you that Ragwort is a fantastic nectar-bearing plant but it is poisonous to grazing stock and if you let it seed the plants will be everywhere. Burn any you dig up as most councils will not allow it to be dumped in their green waste.
Many species of butterflies and moths are very fussy about which plants they will eat. They won't eat any old weeds.I allow ragwort to grow in a part of my garden, though some people are very nervous about ragwort. Especially anyone who owns a horse.Butterflies and moths that require specific food plants sometimes do so precisely because the plants they graze on are poisonous. That species of insect alone has developed some way of digesting that particular poison. So there is a very close evolutionary relationship between the particular plant, the poison, and the insect. These plants and insects, and how they work, are of interest to people developing new medecines.
My understanding is that horses will eat live ragwort and if eaten in any quantity it will have a deleterious effect on their long term health - causing kidney damage. However, if ragwort is cut and dried in hay, it can cause severe illness and/or death quite quickly, so horse owners are justifiably very anxious about it. I used to walk my meadows, hand weeding the ragwort out in the spring and early summer, and always checked again before cutting for hay.
However, it is a rich food source for beneficial insects and if allowed to grow in suitable areas and is monitored and not allowed to seed widely (difficult) then it's good to allow it to grow.