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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Meet Harry, the baby Gastropod


Earlier this afternoon I tidied and trimmed the foliage on one of the plants in our kitchen. As I began to wipe the worktop I noticed this little fella. Thank goodness I did or he would have been one squashed little gastropod! That's not my finger pointing to him in the photo by the way.... it's a slice of carrot with bits of compost sticking to it. :O) The plant I had been tidying was one I'd grown myself from seed so I think little Harry must have hatched from an egg in the compost. I'll have to keep a sharp look-out for lots of other little Harry's! After escaping a grizzly death, there was no way I could put him outside in the freezing cold, with the remnants of this week's snow still evident and an impending night frost. The little soul measures less than a centimetre long. So he's now safely ensconced in a jam-jar with some compost to bury himself in, bits of carrots and cucumber to eat and, don't worry, I put lots of miniscule air holes in the lid to keep his oxygen supply fresh. I'll look after him until the weather is milder and it's safe to put him outside. I'll have to harden him off like a plant!

Red Clover, Self-heal & Bird's-foot-trefoil

Not so long ago I got some wildflower seeds. I set these ones away on the 9th of February and it didn't take them long to germinate after having spent a few days in the propagator. Below are photos (taken from the web) of how they will look in flower.

Self-heal (Prunella vulgaris)

This is a beautiful perennial wildflower and a member of the Mint family. It was once used as a herbal remedy for throat complaints because it is aromatic and astringent. In fact, it became known as Self-heal because people once believed it was a holy herb able to cure all sorts of diseases in humans and animals. It's a common meadow flower and the plants I raise will be planted in our lawn to add colour and to provide food for bees and butterflies.

Bird's-foot-trefoil (Lotus corniculatus)

Another common perennial wildflower (a member of the Pea family), Bird's-foot-trefoil got its name because, after flowering, the seed pods are arranged in a bird's foot pattern. It is also known as 'bacon and eggs', represented by the vivid orange and yellow of its flowers. It provides abundant nectar, each flower supplying enough for several visits for foraging bees, butterflies and other insects. This little plant will also go into our lawn, but on the edges where it will not be smothered by the grass as it is not a competitive plant.

Red Clover (Trifolium pratense)

Red clover is also a member of the Pea family, a perennial and is a good provider of food for bees, butterflies and other insects. This plant wont go in my lawn as it grows up to 2 feet tall (60 cms). I have white clover for that purpose. The red will be planted in groups round the garden where we can easily see them and where we can hear the buzzing of all the bees that are going to visit. The leaves can be added to salads as they contain Vitamins C and B, Magnesium, Zinc, Copper, Selenium, Chlorine and Calcium so it's a good all-round plant to have for the benefits and beauty.
So that's what I've been up to and now I'd better check on baby Harry!


  1. I grow wild flowers in my garden and the Self-heal is a lovely flower. In the lawn it hugs the ground but now it's established in the borders it grows tall and takes over so it has to be managed then its fine.

  2. Hi David. :) Yes, I should imagine given the space in the borders it would grow taller than we're used to seeing it. I've also got a nice established patch of Speedwell and I'm going to sow some Yarrow seeds for planting in the lawn too.

  3. Lesley, you are a soul after my own heart - I would have rescued Harry too- I love little critters, and snails are a favorite. Yesterday I found a big cedar bug walking across the kitchen counter - I had the same quandary, as I didn't want to put him outside to freeze, so I just let him be and he wandered off somewhere. Now if only he can escape the notice of my cats. I love the birds foot trefoil - so pretty!

  4. Hi Deedee. :) Lol, they must all be sheltering from the cold in our homes..... a Bugs' B&B! :D

  5. Ahhh perennial wildflowers Lesley!
    I've found loads of them whilst working in rock gardens to.
    Such a wild variety of colours all huddled together!

  6. Hi Gf. :) Yes, I think many of them would look pretty in a rock garden. I'm especially looking forward to seeing them flowering in our lawn. Lol, most people try to eradicate wildflowers (which they call weeds) from their grass.... and I'll be putting them there. :D

  7. Hi Lesley,
    Sorry but its not actually your good self i'm asking after but Harry. Is he still keeping well. I'm just a bit concerned that you may have turfed him out as you may have thought the weather had improved but i wanted to point out that it was still rather chilly. I hope you don't mind my noseyness ( if there is indeed such a word). I was also much relieved to hear that what i thought was a finger was a carrot. I wondered for a moment what sort of creature had hold of poor Harry. I have had a lush spider in my bathroom for the last 3 weeks or so, the window has been open enough times and he's/she's free to come or go as he/she pleases.

  8. Hi John. I appreciate your concern for Harry. :) Don't worry, he wont be going anywhere until there's no danger of frost. Yes, I wouldn't like to think I had a finger like that.... I think it would indicate a nasty liver complaint!

    I love spiders.... do you think you'd be able to get a photo of it for us? :D