August Notes from the garden shed

August for me has been a month of Moths! I have had several photographs sent to me with the hope of identification and an eagerly anticipated identification of a particular species we have seen flying around the Skip Garden for a while. Writes Paul Richens our Garden Manager...

Firstly my friend Stuart, who works for Wolff Olins (part of the King’s Cross Honey Club) sent a picture hoping I’d be able to identify it... 

Black Arches Lymantria monacha: photographer Stuart Robertson

Black Arches Lymantria monacha: photographer Stuart Robertson

After scanning all my books it turned out to be a Black Arches – appropriately named I think!

Then Julie our Production gardener at the Skip garden sent me another picture that turned out to be a bit of a London rarity, a Jersey Tiger.  

Jersey Tiger Euplagia quadripunctaria: photographer Julie Riehl

Jersey Tiger Euplagia quadripunctaria: photographer Julie Riehl

Jersey Tiger Euplagia quadripunctaria: showing under-wings.

Jersey Tiger Euplagia quadripunctaria: showing under-wings.

I recorded it with Herts & Middlesex Branch of Butterfly Conservation. You can see from the second picture it hides some wonderful bright orange under-wings when its top wings are closed, no doubt used to flash and scare would be predators.

Also with the help of Elizabeth Goodyear (a committee member of the Herts. & Middlesex Branch of Butterfly Conservation) I’ve finally managed to identify a lovely little Moth that we’ve seen flying about the Skip garden for quite a while. 

Mint Moth Pyrausta purpuralis: photographer Bill Mason

Mint Moth Pyrausta purpuralis: photographer Bill Mason

It turns out that my book is for macro moths whereas this is a micro moth! To my slight horror it turns out to be a Mint Moth that feeds on my marjoram’s and mint plants!  O well share and share alike.

The month of August is drawing to a close and as always it feels like the ‘high-tide’ of the year. All the trees are now a dark rich green as their chlorophyll cells work overtime harvesting the late summer light. Most of our annual wildflower plants are setting seed getting prepared for the coming dark months and so should we. 

Happy seed saving and sowing winter crops!

By Paul Richens (Garden Manager)