|Climbing rose 'Golden Showers'.|
This morning really felt like autumn, with fog in the air and dewdrop-beaded spider webs on the lawn. But come afternoon a warm sun shone, and insects reappeared as if by magic, making the most of what could be the last day of this Indian summer. Bees, hoverflies and Small Cabbage White butterflies busied themselves on the asters, the fuchsias and the lavenders — harvesting pollen and nectar in one last mad rush.
Peering closely I found yet more spider webs festooned vertically between the aster and lavender stalks. A spider guarded the centre of one web, gloating over what looked like a small hoverfly shrouded in gossamer. I blew the web very gently, and she scurried along the outermost strand of silk to take camouflaged refuge in a flower head. When satisfied things were safe, she traced the same route back to her prey.
Because of the dry summer, and because I hadn't watered nearly enough, many plants had withered weeks ago. But the 'Golden Showers' climbing rose was still putting out blooms — always the first rose to flower and the last to succumb — and some of the dahlias were still going strong. At the bottom end of the garden the plums were now picked, or had fallen or shrivelled on the branch, and Red Admiral and Comma butterflies gorged on the scanty, squelchy remains.
|Two Comma butterflies in the plum tree. The one in the top left-hand corner, disturbed by a shadow or vibration, has folded its raggy-edged wings. What perfect camouflage!|