More garden adventures!

My garden would horrify most real gardeners. Most of what I do to it involves ripping out the ever-encroaching bindweed coming under the fence from neighbours who consider them “ornamental”, and trying to make it as pleasant a place for nature as possible. Here are a few things I found in my garden adventures today. My little camera, as usual, struggles with getting close enough, but they’re just about usable:

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Seven Spotted Ladybird

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Galls on a Sycamore leaf

These alien-like red structures are called galls. Although they look a little like cocoons, they’re created by the plant itself as a reaction to having eggs injected into the leaf by an insect. It creates the gall to isolate the eggs from the rest of its structure, but the eggs are just as happy in the gall as in the leaf, so it all works out. These ones are probably the work of the Sycamore Gall Mite, Aculops acericola.

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Red Poppy

This is a poppy of Genus Papaver. I’m not quite sure of the species. It doesn’t look much like the corn poppy we associate with Flanders field, with the flower being about 6 inches across. It looks a bit more like the Oriental Poppy, but that doesn’t look quite right either. There’s over a hundred species in Papaver, and most don’t have pictures on the internet. It doesn’t matter that much though, as the insects love these whatever they’re called!

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Cuckoo Spit - Froghopper Froth

My rubbishy camera refused to focus properly on this. It’s knows as Cuckoo Spit in the UK, but for once the Cuckoos are innocent. It is a protective froth of processed plant sap made by the nymph stage of a relative of the aphid known as the froghopper. The froth protects the nymph from predation and drying out.

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