Saturday, 13 October 2007

Garden critters

As well as snails that have taken over the garden as their new home, we are also housing a bizarre number of Caterpillars. I decided to throw some free nasturtiam seed around the garden earlier on in the year as I thought it would provide a bit of colour, as well as fill a border. So I finely raked a lovely seed bed and lovingly planted the seeds, carefully marking where the row was, etc. When I came to water them the next day I noticed that some kind of creature had decided to play in the flowerbed in the middle of the night, thus scattering the seed far and wide. I was far from impressed and decided that there was little point in trying to restore order, so left it as it was. I then planted several courgette plants in their place and let nature take its course.

I did experience a Jack and the Beanstalk moment in that one day we had courgette plants, the next day we had nasturtiams. EVERYWHERE. They grew before our very eyes and took over the entire garden. My poor tomatoes got attacked, the courgettes and patty pan squashes became strangled and the caterpillers moved in. I have never seen so many caterpillers in my life. There are hundreds, and all of them were laying eggs. Everywhere. Grrrr. I decided in a mad frenzy to hoik the entire lot out of the border about three weeks ago, and a large pile steadily began to mount up in the middle of the lawn. Crawly things were flying everywhere, snails were shielding for safety, and tomatoes began to experience what sunlight felt like again.

I thought this would be the end of bugs. Oh no. They came back, this time on the courgette plants. Damn. I was, and am still not impressed. I have never known a summer where our garden has resembled a nature reserve before. We have had toads, mice, birds of all descriptions (they can stay obviously) squirrels dancing along the school roof, tarantulas (ok, small spiders-that are HUGE) snails and caterpillers. I convinced myself that we would have a mass influx of pretty butterflies, so all the holes in garden foliage would be worth it. Until my friend informed me that they are moth-caterpillers. I am not quite sure how she knows this, but have no reason to doubt her. If anyone else has any suggestions as to what they are then do let me know. Not that it matters particularly, I would just be interested. No doubt if they are moths then they will find their way into the house, up the stairs and into my pile of cashmere jumpers anyway....

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