Saturday 3 August 2013

Butterflies and piccalilli

I spent a happy hour out in the garden with my grand-daughter yesterday morning... both of us trying to capture some nice photos of the butterflies that seem to love the marjoram just outside the kitchen window. Of all those I took only three were any good, butterflies being notoriously hard to photograph as they keep flitting around! Anyway, here are those three - as always they are better viewed by clicking on them to enlarge:

I was quite pleased with this simple side-shot, not sure why...

Although the butterfly is quite hard to see in this I did like the contrast of the dark parts of the butterfly with the pale yellow of the alchemilla mollis, although I think the butterfly is actually on the marjoram. The alchemilla mollis does not attract any bees or butterflies it seems, so we're going to take most of it out of this sloping bed and allow marjoram and oregano to take it over. Bees are in trouble and anything we can do as gardeners is a help I imagine.

And here's the best shot I got although I feel it's a trifle blurred.

I believe the butterfly I've photographed here is a small tortoiseshell, but am not certain as butterfly identification is not my strong point. *But* Grand-daughter and I had a lot of fun flitting around almost as much as the butterflies.

Last but not least something else we've been doing over the last couple of days:

For those that don't know this is piccalilli, a pickle we Brits eat a lot of, but which originated in India I think. As with many things it's nicer homemade and as we had some of the veg, courgettes, shallots, French and runner beans, readily available in the garden, we decided to make it for the first time in years. All we had to buy was a cauliflower and a cucumber. Very pleased with how it turned out and will probably make a second batch in a couple of weeks. Last week we did a batch of pickled shallots so our pickling cupboard is starting to look good for the winter.



GeraniumCat said...

Butterflies are such fidgets to photograph! yes, it is a small tortoiseshell, by the way. We've suddenly got masses of them, but my mother says she's got lots of butterflies in Devon now. They'll be gone by the time I'm back, which is a bit sad.

My Gallery of Worlds said...

If you wanted to add the recipe, I probably complain

Penny O'Neill said...

I've enjoyed a catch-up of your recent postings, Cath.

Loved all that produce you have. This is the first time I've ever grown Brussels Sprouts. Ours look about like yours in growth, as do the peppers we planted. Our weather must be very similar this summer.

I'm hoping to get some pass-along marjoram tomorrow morning. You'd mentioned it earlier to me, and I love how it looks in flower in your pictures, as well as that you are planning to grow more for our friends, the bees.

I'm always trying to get butterflies with their wings spread. Now that I've seen your photo with the closed wings, I agree that it makes for an interesting shot - besides helping in identification. I have a little National Audubon Society pocket guide that I keep handy in summer/early fall for identification. I'm always grabbing it for some help. It was worth the few dollars ($9 to be exact as the price tag is still on). Now, I've rambled after your reading your last postings.

Peggy Ann said...

A day with the granddaughter is always a treat! I found a dead bee laying in the squash last night. Mildew got the squash and I was ripping it out. Too much rain. That's a lot of ingredients in those pickles! The recipe would be much appreciated!

Christine Harding said...

I love your butterfly pictures. I've stalked butterflies on several occasions recently, but they are not at all co-operative about posing for pictures!

Cath said...

Geranium Cat: Thanks for confirming that. Yes, we seem to have a lot of butterflies down here this year. And many bees in the garden too. You wouldn't know there was a problem if you hadn't been told on the TV.

Kelly: I'll do a post with the recipe later this week.

Penny: We often don't have much success with Brussel sprouts, the slug and the pigeons love them too much. But this year there aren't as many slugs, we've netted the sprouts and are doing caterpillar duty every couple of days too, getting rid of eggs as well. It's tedious but with any luck it will reap rewards.

I hope you got your marjoram... also very good for attracting bees are oregano, sage and thyme.

I think I have a little guide to butterflies and moths too, must find it and keep it to hand as we get some unusual ones. My grand-daughter and I saw a minute little moth, orange with yellow markings. Typical... the photo was rather blurred.

Peggy: We were lucky as our granddaughter was here staying for several days. I will do a post about the piccalilli later in the week. It's quite easy to make.

Christine: They are not, you're quite right. I see some gorgeous photos people have taken and I wonder how they do it. Possibly a better camera or they're quicker on their legs than me!

DesLily said...

hmmmm I could have sworn I commented on this post! I think by the time I was your young age (compared to mine) I was not gardening anymore (florida has way too many bugs for me to keep up with) I"m not sure I could keep up with the cooking/ canning/ freezing etc of a garden anymore... but I wish I had your energy !

Cath said...

I wish I had more energy to be honest with you, Pat. Most of the time I don't feel like I have much at all, especially when it's hot. Luckily it's cooled down a bit now and a few things like the tomatoes and the blackberries are not quite in yet. When that happens I'll need to be a lot more on the ball! LOL

Nikki - Notes of Life said...

Lovely shots of the butterflies. Yes, I find it difficu;t to get photos of them too. No sooner have they landed, they're off again!

Cath said...

Nikki-Ann: Yep... that's exactly what they do. Very inconsiderate of them. LOL.

Vintage Reading said...

Nice to see so many butterflies this year. Massive dragonflies, too!

Cath said...

Nicola: Apparently it's a good year for butterflies this year and our garden would seem to bear that out. It's really nice.