Discover my garden and all that's in it with me as I attempt to identify the wildflowers and the bugs that live in them and the birds that live off the bugs!
Cinnebar Moth -
This is the caterpillar of the Cinnebar Moth (I haven't managed to photograph one of these yet). The caterpillars live off the Ragwort plant which is poisonous. The poison remains within the caterpillar until it transforms, thus rendering it a disgusting meal for any predator!
The bright yellow and black stripes would be enough deterrent for me!
Last year we had them everywhere, so many that they ate every Ragwort plant in sight.
Also known as Bobbytops, Gnome's Hatstand and Kiss Me On The Mountain.
Personally, I love this plant but I have a garden big enough to be able too. It's incredibly clever. A bee will climb into the flower to do his thing, as the flower opens, the top petal touches the seed pod above the flower, which, when it is ripe, will pop.
It's great for scaring kids although this does mean you will have 20 other little Himalayan Balsam plants next year!
If you have the time, energy and room, it's a glorious plant. In a garden, it's beautiful, fast growing, very fast (and far) spreading. Mostly the flowers are pink but 1 in around say 50 will come out white. It grows to about my height which is around 5ft, 1,5 mtrs.
It can be kept to a minimum. This is where time and energy comes in. If you can pull up the plant before it's flowered, you're safe and they have shallow roots, so that's no great difficulty. If you don't, it will spread far and wide and fast.
Most gardeners and town councils see it as a pest. It will drown out other plants if you don't keep on top of it.
In the wild, it's usually found on river banks (it also germinates in water) and often kills off native species of plant. Originally from Asia and brought here by humans (as far as I can gather).
One thing I have learned from Wikipedia is that the green pods, seeds and young shoots are all edible and can be made into jam. I haven't tried this, I may do one day. But please, please make sure you know you have the right plant first!!