I have mostly been
picking these - the box moth caterpillar
off the box hedges in our garden.
They have devastated them.
Stripped them to bare branches
and then started gnawing on the branches
before abseiling off on silken threads to the next bush.
But we have made an impression
and after removing in excess of 5000
new green leaves are sprouting.
No doubt these will feed the next generation of
caterpillars presently being laid by the caterpillars
that we didn't catch before they pupated.
But it wasn't all garden warfare.
We spent a week in the Malvern Hills,
staying at Perrycroft, a beautifully restored Voysey house
with cottages for the
We had free access to the main gardens
which were so perfect,
but we could not help shuddering at the thought of the havoc
that the box moth would wreak on all the immaculate topiary
and we looked for telltale signs of browned leaves.
The hills were steep and numerous.
I think we yomped up all but one.
Going down was hard on the knees
but the views were worth it.
And then to my great surprise we learnt that the Hay Festival was on,
only an hour's drive away
and that there were still tickets to be had,
so we went to hear Kate Humble
and Monty Don and Derry Moore
talking about their latest books
Thinking on my Feet and Japanese Gardens respectively.
Summer is racing away,
but today has been like winter.
Dark by 3.30 and the heating is back on.
Welcome for gardeners and farmers
but very lowering to the spirit.
I made hot chocolate
and talked to my son in New York
about a trip to sunnier climes.