On checking on how the cabbages were doing I noticed that something had been having a nibble at the outer leaves. It wasn’t just the outer leaves that had been nibbled, but something had tunnelled straight through the heart of my cabbage. On closer inspection I found a big, fat, caterpillar trying its best to stay out of sight. I was not impressed. Every year I cover the brassicas with insect proof mesh and every year a caterpillar or two always seems to find its way inside and create a catastrophe. Ok I might be exaggerating a little here, but when I only have enough room to grow a handful of cabbage, and I really do mean five or six, losing just one or two is quite a significant number. I ended up tossing the remains of the cabbage on the compost heap, along with the caterpillar. After hunting down and removing a further two caterpillars, the bed was re-covered with the netting.As I turned my attention to tidying the flower border at the back of the garden I could hear a rustling of leaves. The sound was coming from underneath the hedge and when I bent down to see where the noise was coming from I came face to face with a baby blackbird. With no hesitation the bird hopped out in front of me and started to peck around the area I had cleared minutes earlier. Feeling a little sorry for the birds efforts in finding a bite to eat I retreated to the compost bin and scooped up one of the caterpillars that I’d chucked in earlier. I offered this to the baby blackbird who promptly ate it before flying off to the call of its parent nearby.
I would like to point out that I don’t make a habit of sending caterpillars to their doom by feeding them to the birds. This was a one off occurrence and as this seems to have been a particularly good year for butterflies, given the number I’ve seen on my lavender alone, I hope you will understand why I had no sense of guilt in doing so.
We need to provide more plants in our gardens that benefit bees and butterflies, and in doing so know that we are doing our bit for nature.