Thursday, 13 October 2011


This is Chrysotoxum arcuatum - quite a mouthful for a little hoverfly, and it doesn't have a common name because I checked.  Here it is sitting in one of my orange poppies sunning itself.  I get a lot of insects doing that as the temperature inside these bowl-shaped flowers is higher than outside.  So the heat saves them energy and helps them digest their food.

I don't know much about this pretty little fly except it is common in Scotland especially around woodlands, and it is uncommon elsewhere.

This year I have had a huge number of hoverflies in the garden and the greenhouse, and they are very welcome.  I don't know if there has been an increase everywhere else this year, or if it is because I have left a few dill plants to self seed.  I know the hoverflies just love dill when it is in flower, so I deliberately pulled out only those I didn't want, or were in the way of something else.  I even left a few in the greenhouse, and they grew huge!  This year I haven't been bothered with greenfly until a few weeks ago - so I wonder if it is the dill attracting hoverflies.  Anyway I will do the same next year as I hate the mess of greenfly honeydew covered in black fungus.

Just started Harry Potter's The order of the phoenix.  Am really enjoying Somerset Maugham's The magician, but got a bit fed up of Dawn French's Dear Fatty.  Perhaps I should have read it over a longer time - just a few pages a day.  I didn't like the format.  I've just got Jan Beccaloni's Arachnids, but I won't start it until I've finished the old, battered copy of Bristowe's The world of spiders - of which I've read just a few chapters, good so far though.

The leaves are piling up in the garden.  I've bagged some, but have yet to discover how to remove leaves from gravel.  Do you wait until they blow away somewhere they are easy to gather?  I'm using last year and the year before's leaves as a mulch round some plants during the winter.  As a mulch they look better than grass clippings, but are less nutritious.

Now I will take to the chesterfield with a glass of Pomerol and Somerset Maugham before rousing myself to watch Jim Al-kalili at 9.  It's a hard life!

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