17 May 2012

A Creature of the Earth

moth caterpillar

This weekend I was a woman of the soil, a veritable earth goddess (but let’s avoid ‘pig in muck’ epithets shall we?).

I’ve decided the bare earth revealed by the demise of the leylandii needs improving before it is planted up. Admittedly this is also a delaying tactic while dithering over what to do with it – but don’t tell the garden design enthusiasts, who I’m sure would know exactly what to plant, in what season and in what location.

So with the vigour of the weekend gardener I hurled manure about, wielded a fork, and turned some sods. Yes, I did do my back in, but I bear it as a badge of honour.

The trouble however with messing about in dirt is you tend to come across things you’d rather not. Luckily it’s not the spider season, and all the sensible insects have scarpered to darker reaches of the garden, but this fat chap put in an appearance. Such is the state of my horticultural ignorance I never know if insect discoveries should be squished or not. Are they going to eat my plants or the pests of the plants? After poking him with a stick I covered him up again. Whatever he is, he is part of the ecosystem.

Today, after much Googling I found out not only his name but what he is – the caterpillar of the Lesser Yellow Underwing moth, which is an owlet moth, and quite pretty. Unfortunately, he is also a ‘cutworm’, who feed on seedlings and apparently do great damage to crops. There are no crops in Garden 65 so we’ll let him live.

Strange to think next time I see him he might be bashing himself against a lightbulb; a creature of the air rather than the earth.


Image of Lesser Yellow Underwing Moth from UKMoths