Welcome to this edition of eGrapevine. We hope that you're all keeping well and managing to follow the guidelines for staying safe. If you have any concerns or problems, don't forget that the Kirkmahoe Support Group is here to help, and that the Community Council is also still going, although with virtual meetings.
If there are any issues you'd like raised at our next meeting, on 20th May, please get in touch.
Today's offerings are the next round of our quiz, a couple of photos from Carol Halliday's very colourful garden and a very interesting article from Barbara Mearns about one of the butterflies we see in Kirkmahoe. We hope you enjoy them all.
We are getting ready to replant the tubs on Kirkton Green, probably at the end of the month. Last year's display was wonderful and appreciated by us all.
Keep safe, and keep in touch,
The Grapevine Team
Want to become an eggspert?
Do you see Orange-tips? They are
common in and around Kirkton.
The male is the easiest British butterfly to
identify. He is tangerine and white, and on
the wing now. The female (who lacks the
orange tip) only lays her eggs on crucifers.
Locally, she most often uses Cuckooflower,
also known as Ladies’ Smock, which was
recently our plant of the week.
|Orange Tip Butterfly|
|Spot the Egg|
Now is the time to look for her eggs and it’s easy-peasy.
You don’t need to see her lay them. You just need to check out the plants.
In my garden, and the damper fields round about, Cuckooflower is common. In fact, some of the
fields are as pink as a bluebell wood is blue. The females tend to lay at the edge of a field, rather
than the middle, and choose plants in full sunshine. Look at the flower heads of the tallest, most
vigorous: she’s choosy. And with good reason, for her caterpillar will feed on the nutritious,
With a little luck you will spot a cylindrical, ridged egg (see photo below), white when freshly laid,
but turning orange over the next few days. You will probably just find one per plant, as each female
leaves a scent mark, to deter others. If two caterpillars have to compete for seeds, the bigger one is
likely to become a cannibal.
|Spot the Egg|
If you have a good patch of Cuckooflower or Garlic Mustard near you, then with a little practice,
you’ll find lots of eggs. It’s a skill which invariably impresses people. At the moment you may be
walking alone, but next May you can show off. Companions will regard you as an entomological
This week’s flower is Conopodium Majus – Pig Nut
Other names include kippernut, cipernut, arnut, jarnut, hawknut, earth chestnut, groundnut,
The name pignut, also hognut, comes from its popularity with pigs who dig for it. It is also
sometimes called Saint Anthony's nut, for Anthony the Great or Anthony of Padua, who
were both patron saints of swineherds. But we have no idea where the name kippernut
Apparently the chestnut-like tuber was the subject of the nursery rhyme, Here we go
gathering nuts in May. This was probably a job for small children.
It is also possibly the nut mentioned in a folk song about the Nutting Girl, a fair maid in
Kent who is seduced by a ploughboy - the nuts she collected were in the summer so almost
certainly not hazel nuts or chestnuts or other native tree species.
Country people ate wild plants in the spring when fresh cultivated plants had run out
These nuts are small tubers a bit like mini Jerusalem artichokes - a lot of work to collect a
If you find this, again, please let us know where. It is reassuring to know that these native
wild plants are still thriving.
|Fallen tree Duncow.|