Barlow Nurseries

Growers of trees, shrubs and hardy herbaceous perennial garden plants near Newport, Shropshire

Archive for the ‘Wildlife’ Category

Autumn wildlife

Sunday October 6th 2013

BaGaPhoMo, day 11

Autumn isn’t all about plants and flowers slow decline into hibernation; some of the wildlife in the garden is looking a bit autumnal too.   This speckled wood butterfly is looking a bit frayed…

Buttefly speckled wood feeding on Chelone obliqua flowers

Speckled wood butterfly – normally a tree top feeder, but ventures to lower levels (in this case onto Chelone obliqua) early and late in the season

Oh what a glorious thing to be…

Wednesday March 21st 2012

Salix caprea ‘Kilmarnock’ is a terrific small garden tree with a lovely pendulous form; it has beautiful soft downy catkins in early spring, opening to reveal bright yellow anthers (right about now) and is a lovely herald of spring in the garden.

It probably isn’t one of the first plants to spring to mind if you’re wanting to attract insects to the garden.

But it clearly should be – visitors to our sales area today have been stopped in their tracks by the buzzing of bees crowding onto the trees flowers – word has obviously gone out amongst the local bee population that our tree stand is hosting a pollen party, and everyone’s invited!

And for our older readers, 47 seconds of nostalgia. That’s entertainment!

Bee feasting on Salix pollen

Bee breakfast

Bee collecting pollen from Salix

and dinner

Double whammy

Monday September 19th 2011

There are lots of plants that’ll bring colour to your garden in the autumn – but if you make the right choice, some of your insect buddies might add a bit of their own….

Red Admirals love Sedum....

There doesn’t seem to have been very many butterflies about this season, but the Sedum coming into bloom seems to be bringing them in – this one, and two of his friends were feasting on our Sedum ‘Frosty Morn’ today, alongwith several small tortoiseshells (but they were rather more camera shy).

Isn’t he lovely?

Wednesday August 4th 2010

We’ve never seen an Elephant Hawk-moth, but we find their larvae in the polytunnels most years.   And they still make us jump.

Elephant Hawk Moth larvae

Elephant Hawk Moth larva

The moths are common across the whole of the UK, and internet message boards fill up at this time of year with questions from gardeners who’ve found these giants in their gardens, usually feasting on Fuchsias .   We haven’t grown Fuchsias in any volume for years, but the larvae’s other food of choice is Rosebay Willow Herb, and there is loads of that in the hedgerows around here, so there are probably thousands of these monsters in the neighbourhood.

The chap in the photo seemed to have developed a taste for Tricyrtis, because Nick found him hiding amongst a stand of  T. hirta ‘Tojen’ in the back tunnel, with some seriously nibbled leaves around and about.

These guys are BIG – this one is about the size of your index finger – so they must eat a serious volume of foliage in their lifetimes.

Not wishing to harm such a magnificent beast, but also wanting to preserve some Tricyrtis for our customers, we carefully transferred this chap to a pot saucer (which is where he was photographed) and then re-homed him on some willow herb on the roadside.

We’re looking forward to seeing a moth any time soon!

Blimey, that was quick …

Tuesday November 24th 2009

Less than a couple of weeks after doing our bit to help protect the nations allegedly dwindling Hedgehog population, evidence of success!

We’ve only ever seen one hedgehog here – maybe 10 years ago, we found one asleep amongst  a batch of plants in our sales area.   The area is enclosed by rabbit proof netting, with only one entrance, so the poor hog must have wandered in, and then been unable to find his way out again. Since then our only sitings have been of the occasional  “deposit”  to suggest that he, or his progeny, must still be around.


Just a few more beetles before bed...

It’s nothing more than a huge coincidence of course, but imagine our surprise when our second close encounter of the decade happened last week, less than a fortnight after we’d added the hedgehog suite to the Barlow wildlife hotel.   Nick went out after dark to fetch something from the pick-up, and found this little fella waddling across the car park.   They can really get a wiggle on when they want to – in the time that it took to return to the house and summon Louise, the hog had made it 20 yards towards the hedge;  another minute, and we’d have missed him.

It’s a rubbish picture we know – taken hurriedly, in the dark, and only one shot so as not to endanger the poor chap any further by stressing him out with the camera flash, but evidence!   Barlow Nurseries Hog Preservation Society is up and running!

Now all we’re waiting for is the aroma of fresh starch to start wafting across the lawn, and a procession of anthropomorphic birds and beasts bearing laundry baskets…

© Barlow Nurseries 2004–2019
Web Design by Andrew Steele