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. I think they might be a common carder bumblebee (on top) and a red-tailed 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. 

There are lots of hoverflies and sun-flies (hoverflies with extra stripes on the thorax) on the Greening Our Street plot.  (See the Wild Flowers in Spring page for a couple of pics of sun-flies.)

In the evening, this plot attracts tiny craneflies flexing their delicate stained-glass wings

The Warrender wildflower plot is more inclined to annuals and familiar seed mixes.  But I don't knock this, because it's very pretty and 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).

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

I'd love to see moths and butterflies but the only ones I've seen this year in the Meadows are two small tortoiseshells in the tall cow parsley opposite Summerhall. Let's hope the wildflower plots bring more.

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