Ever been on an insect safari? Well, Mid-summer in Cortona can’t be far
off the mark. All you need do is watch a
lavender bush (or a bed of marigolds) for an amazing display of hummingbird
hawk-moths, hover bees, honey bees, bumble bees and butterflies, including the
beautiful swallow-tail butterfly.
Swallow tail butterfly
Swallow tail butterfly 2
Bugs and more bugs on the marigolds
I could sit and watch the lavender bush for hours, but mid-summer - as
many people with gardens are aware – is a busy time of year! If you also happen to have a vegetable garden,
things can become quite frantic, what with the watering, weeding, deadheading,
hoeing and harvesting…especially if you have a day job!
My role in the vegetable garden is generally just to pick (after
abortive attempts by Mario, my husband, to explain all the various things there
are to do), because I tend to get distracted by the antics of the bees and bugs
- some of whom probably shouldn’t be there (munching away on leaves!)
And, like most people, I try and attune meals to what is ready to pick, but
one of my biggest challenges is when kilos of green beans or zucchini seem to
grow overnight! Fortunately, zucchini
are versatile; fried, sauteed, baked, boiled or raw, they can be made delicious
(which is just as well!), but green beans, I would say, do have their limits. You can eat just so many!!
Yellow zucchini plant
Zucchini flower with not one, but two bees collecting pollen!
One of the more exotic flowers has to be the caper plant. This year it is covered in bugs of all
shapes, sizes and hues which I can’t believe is right, but some of them are
just splendid: the colours and patterns must have inspired more than one fabric
Take a look at that bold design
On the green beans (probably shouldn't be there...)
It’s amazing to think that these little, busy creatures are so important
for sustaining a biodiverse environment.
How wonderful that here in Cortona they appear to be thriving!