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Garden biodiversityParticipant diaries

A last sunny summer weekend

By 5th September 2019No Comments

I managed to make the most of the last August weekend, with a trip to The Sands of St Cyrus with The Dundee Naturalist’s Society, what a gorgeous place, amazing plants, rock formations, reed beds and butterflies plus an ancient Kirkyard from the middle of the 13th Century. It’s managed by Scottish Natural Heritage. Blue butterflies had been seen there recently but I only saw mostly Meadow Brown’s (lots) and Small Heaths. There were also stripy caterpillars of the cinnabar moth, some on ragwort, some on grass. Several butterfly nets were in action by those who knew what they were doing (not me!).

The plants between the shore and cliffs were abundant, we tried to stick to paths to avoid ground nesting birds. I’ve put in a few pictures from the trip: violas, a very rare bright pink dianthus which was pointed out and scarlet pimpernel which is now more common this far North – Global Warming never far away (It felt right that The Society uses bus hire for this sort of excursion which produces less planet-heating emissions than everyone coming in the individual cars!). Lots of ground hugging pink geraniums with great long pointy seed heads and golden rod which is not a lot like its large common cultivated garden (distant) cousin.
Near the bird hide black baby dragons, well – lizards, were sunning themselves (the one in the picture is larger and greener).

I enjoyed watching butterflies this summer. The picture above is of the small copper butterfly and was taken on a walk near Blebo Craig’s, such a sunny spot! This ragwort was buzzing with a variety of bees and several small coppers. The peacock butterfly is on seeded Buddleia, their blue colouring stunningly matches the blossom. Recently, I watched BBC’s The Great Butterfly Adventure (still available on the iPlayer), and I learnt not only about the amazing migration of the Painted Ladies but that the Rev Buddle recorded flora and gave his name to the Butterfly Bush!

I very much enjoyed reading other blogs on our website recently – especially the one about plants good for the pollinators by Jenny. One of my personal favourites is Allium, loved by bumblebees, and I am overrun with foxgloves! Kathleen’s story about The Dundee West End Fridge was also thoroughly enjoyable – what a GREAT idea, awesome organising, good luck to it!

And finally I would like to share my little triumphs in food growing: broad beans from my small veg area, I love them, picked, cooked and eaten. The lettuce benefiting from some beer slug traps, well recycled plastic food trays, not nice but effective.

Barbara Bell

Gardening has meant a lot for a long time. From seeds sewing to to looking at colour (can be chaotic) combinations interspersed with recycled stuff. I am much involved with local public space planting. Also have edibles in a smallish raised bed, with mixed results! I look out for ideas for when cooking for my vegetarian grandchildren.

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