Wildlife in the rectory garden

The rectory vegetables have enjoyed the recent rain

Yesterday walking from the garden door, a large and bright orange-winged butterfly floated gently from tomato plant to red geranium.  Looking closer where it settled, the black and cream markings of the wood tiger moth corrected my assumption that a large, bright and day-flying insect indicated a butterfly.  The yellow-orange of the underwings is covered when the moth is in repose. This is one of the beauties of an English summer, and it is a moth.  


I dashed in for the camera, I doubt if I were twenty seconds, but it was gone.  In its place a bullfinch peered from a rose bush and a holly blue butterfly lifted over my head.  Inside a minute, three gorgeous creatures of a garden full of wildlife were there.  At any moment of any day, to walk around the rectory garden is a treat for the senses.  


Why this garden, and why not another?  The answer I think is that it is thickly planted, yet it also gets lots of sunshine; it can be breezy, but is sheltered from the worst of storms; it has shady corners, but wide open areas too.  Importantly, it is full of flowers.  Some of these Helen and I have added, many have been in the garden for decades, added by successive rectory families.  It is a jumble, maybe even in places a jungle, but birds love the cover of the bushes, the stone walls, some ivy-covered, some open, harbour all sorts of creatures.  Robins, wrens and tits nest, and at least fifteen species of butterfly can be seen at various times.


This morning, and thinking about this blog, a thrush emerged from the undergrowth, where slugs and snails make their home.  Honeysuckle and roses bloom and scent the air, and the first fall of brambly apples, after recent wind, crunch underfoot, while crying to be taken for crumble and pie.


John Mann