Spring is well sprung. Compared to last year, when the end of April saw me wading through knee-deep snow in late April, wrapped in thermal layers against the -8C freeze, this year it was sun, and no rain all month so we were beginning to face the horrible prospect of drought.
But early May has seen lots of gentle rain and the very occasional thunderstorm, which is perfect for the earth and growing things. ‘Nori si soare’ says the weather forecast. Occasional ‘furtuna’ warnings with lightning symbols lancing through the cloud, and so it’s proving. Perfect mixed weather for the cycle of wildflower meadows and sweet hay, and happy herbivores munching through lush spring grass. Glorious.
June’s wildflowers, blooming before the solstice, are pictured here in a new photo gallery to capture your heart and bring you to see the botanical treasures of Transylvania. Here are some of my favourites…
Agapeta zoegana, or the sulphur knapweed moth, aka (in my house) the Dog-Faced Moth
My adorable little moth with his perky panting dog face, has been identified.
Professor Jim Hardie, Director of Science at the Royal Entomological Society in Britain, found him after much scratching of entomological heads, for which I am deeply grateful.
Little dog-face is Agapeta zoegana, or the sulphur knapweed moth. The larvae eat through the roots of knapweed, so it is a boon to farmers with invasive varieties of knapweed (particularly in the USA where Dog-Face isn’t a natural resident). Moths are collected in early August and put to work on sites where knapweed is a positive pest.
Here in Transylvania, where we have knapweed in healthy concentrations among the diverse wildflower meadows, Dog-Face can chomp through roots at leisure, stopping now and then for a photo opportunity in my kitchen.
We’ve just had Easter here, and this week the usual greetings of ‘hello’, good morning’ etc have given way to the exchange “Cristos a înviat” (Christ has risen) to which the response is ‘Adeverat a înviat” (truly he is risen).
The cherry blossom is over, and the apple blossom is fully out; dandelions carpet the new spring grass meadows, and violets hide under new yarrow leaves.
A Magura lamb in clover
Some of the lambs have disappeared, becoming Paschal feasts on Sunday morning after the long Lent fast. The village flock of sheep has gone up to the high pastures for the summer, and the cows will go this week, leaving the village meadows uneaten to become sweet nutrient-rich hay for the long winter.
Thunderstorms threaten after warm mornings – Magura temperatures reached an unusual 30°C on 1st May, normally what you’d expect in July and August. But the air is so fresh that the heat doesn’t sap your energy, and it’s easy to sleep through the cool nights.
Don’t wait for summer – now is my favourite time of year in Magura, and perfect for walking in the brilliant green beech forests.