The Way I See Things



It was a bad day for both invertebrates and macro photography, being windy and largely overcast, though with brief periods of the kind of dazzling sunshine that make ungrateful people like me whine about the light being too harsh. Most of the photos I did take were either of the usual suspects (hairy-footed flower bees, mainly), or were record shots of a few slightly less usual things that turned up in my sweep net when I went for a little rummage around the wild garden late this morning.

I know that wasps aren't to everyone's taste, but to my eyes a queen wasp is a pretty impressive beast, and this one gave me one of my best photo opportunities of the day, which is enough in itself to get her top billing tonight. She was so big that my immediate thought was Vespula germanica, but once I had her on camera and could see her markings better, I realised that she was Vespula vulgaris, our native common wasp. V. vulgaris has a black mark down the centre of the face, and a smooth yellow line on the shoulder, while V. germanicus has a more yellow face with (variable) black dots, and the shoulder line is wavy. There are other differences, which aren't obvious in this shot; when I need to refresh my knowledge on the key features, I tend to go back to this video.

This afternoon I went to the garden centre, and then back at home did quite a bit more gardening, with help from R. In the top garden I planted a new Clematis montana and a rosemary, to replace specimens that we lost over the winter, plus a nepeta. I also replaced a pot of anemones on the patio, and added some primulas and tulips. Tomorrow I'll be planting a pair of lovely dark heucheras in the crown chimney pots on the patio, and trying to decide where to place some foxgloves, salvia and scabious, and a flowering ornamental grass. I'm trying to see this enforced restocking of the garden in terms of the opportunity it's giving me to improve my planting, rather than focusing on the unwelcome expense.

Sign in or get an account to comment.