As Cole Porter wrote, it's just 'Too darn hot'. Malcolm and I avoided the weekend cyclists, joggers and screaming children around Shipley Park this morning, by going to Tesco instead! We must be mad. So, here are some more pics from our walks of the last few days.
Firstly, one of the most common plants around the area has to be the Timothy Grass (Phleum pratense). One of the family of grasses known as Cat's-tails, this is an important fodder crop in many parts of the world, indeed it is probably named after an American farmer called Timothy Hanson, who introduced the grass to the Southern states from New England in the 18th century. The flowers are borne in spikes atop tall stems and produce hundreds of pollen-producing anthers, purple in colour. The pollen is particularly hazardous to hay-fever sufferers. It contains several flavonol-glycosides, among them dactylin (isorhamnetin-31,4-diglucoside), so now you know!
Epilobium hirsutum). Well known to us all, it has the most wonderful, deep pink flowers with a curious, four-lobed stigma in the middle. A statuesque plant, it regularly tops 6ft tall and rewards anyone who has a closer look.
Amblyteles armatorius), about 2" long and a good Wasp-mimic. The adult actually only feeds on the nectar from the flowers of various members of the carrot family (hedge parsley, Hogweed, etc). The females are bad news to caterpillars as they lay their eggs inside the caterpillar's body. When these hatch, the Ichneumon larva eats it's host from the inside out until they cause the death of the host. They then pupate inside the shell of the demised host, before emerging as a new adult. What a delightful life cycle!
Calystegia sepium). Again, a familiar plant, the flowers of which are huge by British standards. These, growing in the hedgerows of Shipley Park were a good 4" across. Simple beauty at it's very best.
Grypocoris sexguttatus), a friend of the gardener as one of it's favourite foods is other insects, particularly those pesky aphids which give us all a headache in the Summer. They predate these by piercing them with their needle-like mouth parts and sucking out the juice therein...... I hope you are not eating while reading this, it might put you off! But, what a lovely-looking little bug it is.