Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Cold spell!

The last couple of days have been very cold, so not a lot of visible activity going on in the garden at the moment. When the sun does come out a few bumble bees have been lazily buzzing from one flower to another. The main flowering plants left at the moment are the nasturtiums that are still flowering quite profusely. This big clump has self-seeded from the ones I planted in the window boxes last year.

Despite being almost decimated once by caterpillars of the large white butterfly, they have continued to spread in front of the house. This years second generation of large white caterpillars are still quite evident on the leaves. They are quite large now and almost ready to pupate - as long as develop quick enough before the cold weather sets in. The caterpillars are mainly eating machines, devouring leaves as they grow. They will shed their skin 4 times before they are ready to pupate. Just before they shed their skin for the 5 th and last time they crawl away to find a safe secluded place to pupate.

The caterpillar above made its way up the front of the house yesterday to find somewhere to overwinter. It will attach itself with silk thread and as it sheds its skin for the last time it will reveal the chrysalis. It will remain as a chrysalis throughout the winter until spring when it will emerge as an adult. Some species, such as peacock butterflies overwinter as adults. They will also find a safe place away from the worst of the weather, such as a hollow tree or a garden shed.


Jane said...

My nasturtiums have turned to gooo in this frost. No flowers left now. What sort of caterpillar was it? looks an interesting colour. Thanks for the info about them. Jane

Steve Savage said...

The caterpillar is a large white caterpillar. The colour does look a bit exotic. I think this was because I had to use a flash and the colour balance between the caterpillar and the yellowish walls