Insects of the Wildflower Patches


If you like small beasties, head for the wildflower plots.

I've mentioned that - as well as the unmown areas - there are two specialist wildflower plots in the Meadows (one on the north side and one on the south).

There are no rocks or logs to lift in these plots, so I don't have any photos of crawlers yet, but it won't be any surprise that the plots are attracting lots of bees, hoverflies and other airborne insects. Here's a few pics and video of what I've seen recently.


People often don't know the difference between stinging nettle and dead-nettle. Dead-nettle is harmless, and bees love it. In spring it's easily distinguished by its larger, more beautiful flowers. If you want to find a bumblebee on the Meadows & Links in June, just look for dead-nettle. 

Here's some in the Greening Our Street plot beside Lonsdale Terrace.


This one on the Council's Living Landscape plot near Warrender Park Terrace had two on it. Looks like a Common Carder bee (on top) and an Early bumblebee underneath.


Here's a video of yet another Common Carder there, busy after collecting pollen. This isn't speeded up!


The ever-reliable buttercup is appealing to the harmless hoverfly, easily and unfortunately mistaken for a wasp. These particular ones might be Marmalade Hoverflies



There's plenty more variety including sun-flies (extra stripes on the thorax) and the distinctively-marked Batman hoverfly on both the Warrender and the Greening Our Street plots.  (See the Wild Flowers in Spring page for a couple of pics of sun-flies.)

In the evening, the plots attract tiny craneflies flexing their delicate stained-glass wings



The Warrender wildflower plot has gradually introduced a mix of perennials and annuals from the Scotia locally-grown seed mix.  It has several flowers bees love. For a start, cornflowers



Here's a video of a bumblebee (a Common Carder again, maybe?) working hard in a cornflower during a strong June breeze


One of my favourites in this plot is (the horribly-named) viper's bugloss



How can a flower so gorgeous not be called something delightful? Maybe it's because of its vicious wee bristles (especially at the base of the stem - they're like sharpened needles). Also that extending flower which can look, at the right angle, like a snake about to strike.


But still. What a name. No wonder there are so few poems about it.



Early in the summer I spotted two small tortoiseshells in the tall cow parsley opposite Summerhall, and a couple of Red Admirals near the Warrender wild patch in 2016, with a few more Red Admirals in late summer around the Warrender wild patch in 2017. Let's hope the managed wilderness areas attract more.


The trick with butterflies here in this urban park, though, is to look up. This beautiful Red Admiral was on the crown of a maple, next to the Pavilion Cafe. I've seen them more often 30 metres up than I've seen them on the ground.


But even tiny flies can be quite beautiful when you look closely enough.