Sloe Shield Bug

sloe bugAlthough I started painting this sloe bug, Dolycoris baccarum, as leaf green I soon realised that it had a purplish cast. According to the book, it’s very hairy when seen under the lens but it was so active as it trundled around the bug box that I wasn’t able to get that close. It never stayed under the magnifying glass in the lid long enough. It had found its way into the bathroom overnight.

As well as sloe (blackthorn) these shield bugs will feed on the flowers and fruit of other members of the rose family. This one might have come from a thicket of blackthorn a hundred yards from our house in the corner of the meadow by the edge of the wood.

Sloe bugs are common on sand dunes.

sloe bugFrantically trying to escape, like a mime artist doing a glass box act, it occasionally fell on its back as it attempted to climb the sides so I gave it its freedom, taking a macro shot from which I made the pencil drawing.

Howgate Wonder

Howgate WonderIt’s been our best year so far for our Howgate Wonder double cordon. I pruned off all the extraneous growth early in the year and I’ve just given it a summer prune, leaving two or three buds on each twig to encourage fruit buds to form.