4th May. Standing under a pine tree, got caught in a small rainstorm of tiny white grubs (each one only about half a centimetre long). I ducked back to stop them getting into my hair. As soon as they hit the ground they tried to wriggle away to find a place to burrow down. Not many managed it: the ground was populated by ants and most of the grubs fell prey to them. The struggle lasted quite some while, but the ants seemed to win. These are sawfly larvae, from the xyelidae family. Their host plants are conifers.
Not very good pictures: the butterflies didn’t want to stay still. But the woodland rides were full of them today: Lesser Marbled Fritillaries (Brenthis ino). Alongside them, coming to rest on the ground from time to time, were brightly stippled day-flying moths, Speckled Yellows (Pseudopanthera macularia), even less keen to be photographed.
The pungent leaves of wild garlic are on all the market stalls this month (April). In the wild they are easy to confuse with lily of the valley (poisonous), but crush a leaf between your fingers and the oniony scent will tell you if it’s wild garlic or not. Also known as Ramsons in English, and as ‘bear garlic’ in many other languages (aglio orsino, medvehagyma, bärlauch–its botanical name is Allium ursinum), it goes delightfully with eggs and rice. I use it in risottos and omelettes and to make baked frittata:
Wild garlic frittata
Pre-heat the oven to about 190°C. Lightly grease a flan dish.
Beat together six eggs, chopped wild garlic (plenty of it), a generous slug of milk, grated parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
Pour it evenly into the flan dish and pop in the oven. Take it out after 25 minutes. Ready to eat. Serves 4. Easy as pie.