Glow stars

Another creature of the night - Oenothera stricta or Evening Primrose
Another creature of the night – Oenothera stricta or Evening Primrose

On Monday night around 10 – 11:00PM by the canal near Seend, the ladies turned their pale green lamps on. Spangling banks and hedgerows, at times their light reflected in the canal too, terrestrial stars echoing the night sky above.

I wonder what canalsiders must have thought as we tripped along in the dark looking for glow worms (and bats)? Most are probably well aware of the special little creatures they live alongside as canal boat windows are around bank level.

The ladies look a bit like very large ladybird larvae, and much as i’d like to bring some home to colonise my garden, it won’t work, I’ll admire them, then leave them exactly where they are to do their thing –  glow, mate, die. They’re too rare and special to mess with!  If you see any locally log the number and location with the UK  glow worm survey.  More about glow worms and log sightings  (UK Glow Worm Survey)

I’ve grown three types of oenothera from seed this year for the south facing garden for scent and evening effect. Despite mole burrowings, Oenothera stricta has been first into flower. Sources say it’s biennial, these have flowered in year one. The pale lemon flowers open in later evening really quite fast, the cups shimmering as the light fades and lasting until around midday the next day (the picture was taken around 7:30AM).

Zaluzianskya capensis - a battered veteran from last year
Zaluzianskya capensis – a battered veteran from last year

Supposedly deliciously and heavily scented I can discern scent but not strong or particularly appealing (maybe they’re sulking as the Nicotiana alata are really excelling themselves at the moment with heady evening scent).

The Zaluzianskya capensis grown from seed survived from last year outside by the front door and this sorry specimen has been replanted in the hope that she’ll produce cutting material. This year’s sowing netted me nada, zip, zilch seedlings. Another evening opener, nothing much to look at during the day and then these purple backed startlingly white, cut petalled flowers open. The perfume is strong and slightly artificial like Autoglym car products,  not unpleasant, just unusual.

Each pod contains an egg / larvae
Each pod contains an egg / larvae

Today I’ve been trying to tidy seedlings and pots up, throwing away gone overs, no shows and left too long in pots with no home to go to etc. etc. I tipped out a dierama seedling for planting out and nestled round the base under the soil was a figure of eight of these fresh bee pods (pyracantha leaves I think, although sources note roses are a favourite). Inside each pod I understand is a single bee egg / larvae. The parent bee is a Megachile or Leaf Cutter Bee. Another pot also yielded pods, some blackened so presumably older. The pods have been reburied hopefully somewhere I won’t disturb them again as they’ll now develop ready to hibernate over winter.