Day 7 of 30 Days Wild and after what for some reason felt like a long day at work, I thought I’d just chill out in the garden for a bit (much better than sitting in and looking at the housework!) The garden is looking particularly colourful at the moment and I thought it would be nice to celebrate the natural palette of colours you get when you just let whatever wants to, grow in your garden. While still pondering this, our first Painted Lady of the year flew into view, so I thought I’d include some animals in this too.
The childhood rhyme for remembering the colours of the rainbow has always stuck in my head – Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain, for red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Not sure this selection of 7 colours really has any foundation in optical science, but it seemed a good enough basis for today’s blog. Of course what would have been really good would have been an actual rainbow appearing at this point – but all I got was drizzle! So:
RED – Well the Red Valerian is pretty much dominating the garden at the moment. The flowers do vary in tone, from deep pink to this slightly redder version I found this afternoon. For a red animal it had to be a ladybird – I spotted (no pun intended) this lovely little 2-spot ladybird last week – first one of the year and nice to get a British one rather than the all conquering Harlequin ones.
ORANGE – We’ve got these really striking orange poppies – I think they may be Californian Poppies. No idea where they came from, but they are a gorgeous deep orange colour. Today’s Painted Lady provides the animal orange – it was a slightly faded specimen – but then given how far it has probably travelled, I can forgive it a bit of wear and tear!
YELLOW. These bright yellow lilies have gradually been spreading round the garden. We make sure they’re nowhere near our cats as lilies are toxic to felines and they may be one plant that I do try and control for that reason. But they are beautiful and very definitely yellow. I would have liked to include a yellow Brimstone butterfly, but although we get them in the garden, they never pause long enough for a decent shot. So instead here’s a wasp – perhaps not as popular with some people as the butterflies, but they are to my mind quite stunning when you see them close up like this.
GREEN. Well obviously there’s no shortage of green plants in the garden, but I’ve gone for one with a green flower – Petty Spurge. It’s easy to overlook this little plant with its nodding green heads of flowers, but I quite like it. It pops up all over the place, often between the cracks in the paving, so must be fairly adaptable. For a green animal, it had to be my favourite – the Swollen Thighed Beetle. Not only a fantastic name (only the males have swollen thighs by the way), but a glorious shiny green colour and there were loads of them flying around today.
BLUE. The blue in the garden seems to be giving way to other colours now, but there are still small patches of my favourite Forget-me-nots cheering up what should be the veg patch. For an animal – well it had to be the Blue Tit (Holly Blue butterflies might have got a look in here if only they’d slow down a bit too).
INDIGO. Now this is the point in the nursery rhyme where I started to struggle a bit. For a start I’ve never been quite sure what colour indigo is. I’m kind of hoping no-one else does either, so I can use a bit of artistic license. I’ve also got the problem that it’s really hard to find an indigo animal! So for the flower, I’ve gone for the Aquilegia’s which we get in a vast array of colours in the garden. I’ve picked one that is as close to indigo as I can imagine – I stand to be corrected though. For the animal, well I’ve just had to cheat and assume that a) indigo is close enough to Purple and b) that a Purple Thorn moth would count even though it’s not really purple!
VIOLET. Well this would have been easier if the Viola’s were still in flower, but I couldn’t find any. So I’ve gone for a chive flower as we’ve got lots of those right now and they’re sort of violet coloured. The animal – well I’m really stretching the point now – you do get Violet Ground Beetles, but sadly none have ventured into our garden that I know of. Closest I could find a photo of is an Elephant Hawkmoth, which I’m trying to convince myself is a pale violet colour – I know it’s really pink, but am hoping that the beauty of the moth will outweigh my colour-blindness on this count.
So that’s my slightly contrived rainbow of colours from the garden. It was a very pleasant way of spending an hour or so pottering round the garden admiring the colours and thinking of possible (or impossible) animals to match!
So to finish with the latest weed in my 30 Days of weeds series – the Dandelion. Loathed by many, but loved by bees and other insects. I’ve never quite understood why they are so despised – bright and cheerful and an early nectar source in the garden. There’s been a bit of a campaign this year not to chop them down, which is great – they’re certainly thriving in our garden.