Ragwort – a new discovery for me – tries to grow all over the property, but is generally mown down before it puts its head too much above the soil line. But in June when I headed off to a wedding for a week one plant made a burst for freedom in the flower bed, and when I got back it looked so happy and splendid I left it – it’s so very dry there that I thought anything that made it alive deserved to stay. Once it was clear that it was a treasure of nectar for hover flies and bees it was impossible to rip it out, though by then it was towering over my frazzled and newly planted roses, peonies and night stock. Still, there it thrived. And today while passing I noticed it alive with brilliant caterpillars – more than 50. It’s the cinnabar moth caterpillar which lives (solely?) on ragwort. The parent managed to find the only plant anywhere in the garden, so there they are. I shall keep an eye on them and see what happens next. I’m feeling delighted I left it. Our desire for control and order can cause such chaos for wildlife.
Though saying that, it is coming out. I shall move it to the cutting patch, once it’s done and dusted for the summer. It makes it quite a battle to get through the front door with it leaning in front of the doorway. I shall look out for other young plants that can be left, as compensation.