Celia Hart's blog about what's going on in and around her studio.
Art, printmaking, inspirations, gardening, vegetables, hens, landscapes, wild flowers, East Anglia, adventure, travel.

Friday, 30 April 2010

Sculptors in residence

In the shallow part of the Dragonfly Pond I spied some intriguing constructions in the water . . .

. . . was an elfin Andy Goldsworthy at work in our pond?

I remembered seeing tiny constructions, in a stream, that were made by caddis fly larvae – they build little underwater houses to live in. I looked on my bookshelf for an insect book for information . . .

Mmmm? This wasn't going to be easy! Nothing on the page looked exactly like the things in our pond.

I decided to ask BBC Springwatch, they had liked my newt photos when I added them to the Springwatch Flickr page. In a very short time an insect expert had pointed me in the direction of this book . . .

. . . and when it arrived in the post after a couple of days, I quickly found the name of our clever creative builders, Limnephilus flavicornis.

Another amazing creature living in our garden, eating our Duck Weed (they're welcome - chomp away L. flavicornis) and in due course emerging as delicate buff flying insects. Maybe some will lay eggs in the pond edge to start the life-cycle over again? Others might fly higher and become a night-time snack for the local bats? Their lives are part of the biodiversity of our little patch – and that makes me very happy.


  1. We have similar artists in our pond - but I haven't found the Latin name! This is the week that we usually find toad eggs floating in the shallows.

  2. Well done for that bit of detective work. Interesting what we share our open spaces with!

  3. such complex structures from such tiny creatures!

  4. How exciting, not only tiny artists but a new book as well.

  5. Caddis flies are just about my favourite thing! I remember reading years ago about an entomologist with a relative in the jewellery trade who gave some larvae in a tank a floor of chips of semi-precious stones to see what they would do; several of them arranged the stones in bands of colour, and others in stripes lengthways. You could chuck some tiny beads in your pond in case they want to pimp their cases (as the young folk have it!)

  6. Awesome. We have a pond too, on our allotment, and sometimes we spend more time looking at the life in it than working hard like we should be doing! It's just so fascinating!

  7. How wonderful. I inherited my pond and it is struggling at the moment, I think my task for the weekend is serious blanket weed removal. Any tips gratefully received!

  8. What amazing little structures!

  9. That is some beautiful work Mr Caddis - love the scalloping effect you've created on your coat with the duckweed. Have you ever thought of trying a bit of quilting?

  10. This brings back memories of reading 'The Water Babies' as a child and it's the first time I've seen one and not just imagined it from the description. Amazing! Penny x

  11. What a wonderful example of biodiversity in action! A garden pond is indeed one of the best things to have.

  12. How beautiful and complex are the lives of some creatures. Fascinating stuff Celia, and how satisfying to learn all about them. You share your patch with some wonderful neighbours!


  13. Celia, sorry it's taken me so long to answer your question about the chives. We definitely put them on our salads. Or sometimes just munch on them raw in the garden. I've been away for a week, which would have been peak chive season here. But I see the blossoms are still in full form. Never grown garlic chives. Still don't know the difference.

  14. Just stumbled upon your beautiful blog. Thank you for 10 minutes of escapism.

  15. Hi Terry - isn't nature amazing!

    Hi Veg Heaven - I enjoy the detective work.

    Hi Petoskystone - aren't they clever!

    Hi Toffeeapple - mmmm? I wonder how often it will get used?

    Hi Wendy - I loved your comment - marvelous, I wonder if they would?

    Hi Nome - enjoy your pond :-)

    Hi Su - a twiggy stick waved around in the weed will pull a lot out - but remember to leave the weed on the bank so the little creatures can crawl back to the water. Have you any pond snails - they will help to keep it under control.

    Hi Gina and Silverpebble - clever little creatures aren't they!

    Hi Penny - I'd forgotten that! Yes they really exist.

    Hi Matron - I've done my essay for your Biodiversity competition.

    Hi Cottage Garden - it's amazing what you find if you keep looking.

    Hi Ed - Garlic or Chinese chives have flat leaves and white flowers - very tasty too :-)

    Hello Magic Bean and welcome to PPPs - love you pretty jewellery too.


  16. How wonderful, and such unusual looking things too. :)

  17. Celia

    after reading your post I scanned the pond and found exactly the same - don't know if I would have spotted them otherwise as they were so well camouflaged

    thanks for the interesting info

  18. My goodness me, these are wonderful!!! What an exciting thing to find...


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