I have just got home from a blustery walk around the village with Rick; I am on double dog walks this week while Paul is working on the oak flooring for the sitting room. In theory this should have been a relatively straightforward process but the level concrete floor is not so level after all. The straight walls of the room aren’t so straight either! But he is making good progress and I am pleased with the result so far.
|Where's my nice fluffy carpet gone?|
Earlier this morning I went outside to pick some raspberries and strawberries. The strawberry crop has just about finished but I lifted the net and swept my hand through the plants to discover any berries hiding under the leaves. The sun was shining directly in my eyes so I didn’t realise at first that the strange object I was touching was actually a large toad! I gave a girly shriek and then realised that the poor creature was totally tangled up in the net. The more he struggled the more the net tightened around his neck. Paul came to the rescue and managed to cut the net and gently free the toad. He appeared unhurt and hopped off towards the compost heap.
The garden is starting to show signs of autumn but we were surprised to see the Berberis bushes giving up their leaves so early. On closer inspection we realised that the branches were covered in small caterpillars and they had stripped the two bushes completely of their leaves.
These caterpillars were the larvae of the Berberis Sawfly, an insect that only attacks Berberis and Mahonia and will completely defoliate these shrubs. It only became established in south-east England in 2000 but has since spread throughout the country. We have sprayed the Berberis (too many larvae to hand pick them off) and hopefully the bushes will recover.