I have been having more fun with my macro lens, and thought I would share the pics.  There are quite a lot of marvellous minibeasts here, which I’m hoping nature-types can help me identify.  I have to say that having this lens is adding to my enjoyment of the garden.  I was aware of the buzzy and fluttery types of insects, and some of the bitey and itchy types, but there are quite a few shady characters who keep a low profile, who I have only become acquainted with this week.

This handsome chap was sitting on a raspberry leaf.


There’s no bug here, but seeing the world through a macro lens makes me reflect that plant structures look a lot like minibeasts.  There is a lot of weird and wonderful stuff out there.  These could be rubber-glove octopi with stingers.

Centranthus ruber (red valerian)

Clematis too, look like probing creatures.


Then their probes open up, and it doesn’t look any less frightening.

P6160052 (1)

Though they are furry from behind, which is friendlier.

Clematis from behind

The rate of growth from Clematis is such that if I stand still I might become ensnared.


Aquilegia seed-pods also have something of the alien life-form about them.

Aquilegia seed pods

I have become acquainted with the term ‘Goth Gardening’ this week.  It is the niche market of black flowers.  ‘Dragon Heart’ has always been my most vampy flower, and here it is from two angles.  First the side view, showing its eye-lashes.

Geranium ‘Dragon Heart’

And then from behind, showing its veins.

Geranium ‘Dragon Heart’

I like the contrast in colour between the chartreuse Alchemilla mollis flowers and the hot pink Rosa ‘Charles de Mills’ behind.

Alchemilla mollis with Rosa ‘Charles de Mills’ behind.

Now for a rose that I have been neglecting.  The Bourbon rose, ‘Madame Isaac Pereire’.  I planted her this winter, so she is as yet young, but I am growing her up a support in the rose garden.  Here she is looking plush, with a stowaway.

Rosa 'Madame Isaac Pereire'
Rosa ‘Madame Isaac Pereire’

The cinnabar moth is now known in our household as the ‘Alzheimer’s moth’. Apparently I have asked Stevie the name of the black-and-red moth three times now, having retained no memory from one inquiry to the next.  I’ve seen a lot of these moths this year (I think).  This one was looking a bit worse for wear, and you can’t see how striking the black and red markings are.


I am pleased with these next three photos.  The borage I am growing in my cutting patch is proving to be as delectable as the Salvia, and so if I just stand there, I have three or four bees to choose from to photograph.  This one was especially obliging.

Bee and borage

And then a tiny hoverfly zoomed in.  He stayed in exactly the same place, like a drone.  Or rather, a drone is just like a hoverfly, but you know what I mean.  Can you see him in the centre of this picture?  The blue thing behind is a paddling pool.  It always attracts butterflies and damselflies, so I am hoping I might manage to photograph one or two this week.

hover fly

If I crop the photo, you can see him better.

P6230054 (2)
hover fly, cropped a bit

Bit more?  Look at his flying goggles!

P6230054 (3)
hover fly, cropped a lot

I tried to get another moth, a tiny white and buff thing, but this is the best I could do this evening.  It was resting on some grass.  Is that an eye?  Do moths have eyes?

P6230059 (3)
Moth, resting on a blade of grass

Can you identify any of these minibeasts more accurately for me?  I am going to try to build my knowledge of minibeasts, now that I can see them better!


58 Comments Add yours

  1. annpappas says:

    Beautiful photos – I love close ups of bees. Your beetle might be a longhorn beetle – I found this post on Face Book from last year, if you want to look it up: Schull & Fitbones
    Like This Page · 5 July 2017 · Edited ·

    This beautiful longhorn beetle appeared on one of our orienteering signs in Ballydehob Community grounds today. Possibly Rutpela maculata. 67 species of longhorn beetles in U.K. and Ireland. Gorgeous colours.

    1. Ali says:

      Gosh, Ann, thank you so much for this!

    2. Ali says:

      Have just properly checked this out, and I think you are right. Thank you so much for your eagle eyes and thorough research, Ann.

  2. fredgardener says:

    Nice pictures Ali. We don’t look at the garden with the same attention when we are taking close up photos. It takes a little time, another look and there’s always something to capture.

    1. Ali says:

      It has opened up a whole new dimension. Thank you so much for getting it started!

  3. Oooh wow! I’m loving the macro lens …. I have no idea what it is or how it works but it’s brilliant! These pictures should be in a book – they’re wonderful and no, I have no idea about moths and eyes – extremely creepy! Never heard of goth gardening but that’s made me chuckle! Katie x

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you Katie! I’m going to try to collect some more goth pics because I love the concept!

      1. It’s brilliant! Is this really a ‘thing’ or did you make up the name? I love it!

      2. Ali says:

        The title came from years ago when I used to work with early years settings in their curriculum planning, and one of the topics they covered ‘Minibeasts’. It was insects, worms, spiders, etc. It was always a popular one!

      3. Fantastic! I used to work with little children too and was in charge of the gardening … but with an aversion to slugs and frogs I’d have to pretend to be really laid back about them and not squeal and disappear! I like the name Minibeasts! Makes them sound almost cute! Katie x

      4. Ali says:

        Oh, but they are! I mean, they wear flying goggles!

  4. janesmudgeegarden says:

    Dragon Heart makes a perfect goth with all that black eye makeup. The photo of the borage with the bee hanging on by the tips of her toes is especially perfect and so clear.

    1. Ali says:

      I was v proud of that one!

      1. janesmudgeegarden says:

        And maybe a little corner of your garden set aside for a Goth garden Ali? I really like the concept!

      2. Ali says:

        It’s tempting, isn’t it?

  5. Stunning Ali. The photography is wonderful and I love the way you link this throughout your blog with your practise of yoga and mindfulness – I’m with you all the way there. I also really love the layout of your blog, have you really produced all this just this year!? Do you mind if I ask what WordPress format you are using?

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you for your lovely comment. Yes, now I’ve started, I can’t seem to stop! Am sure I will slow down a bit soon when the roses stop flowering. I use ‘Dyad 2’ as the style.

  6. photosociology says:

    These are fabulous Ali. Although I love macro photography, also of bugs, bees, butterfly and flowers I don’t know their names.

    Your hoverfly is wonderful and I also love the borage and the dragonheart.

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you so much, I am glad you liked them. I am having lots of fun, and the macro lens is helping me notice so much more! The hoverfly was really lucky!

      1. photosociology says:

        You were there, you made the photo and that’s what matters.

  7. Tish Farrell says:

    bee on borage is a stunner, Ali – not least because of lovely shades -flower and stem.

    1. Ali says:

      Yes, and the way they are both so hairy!

  8. thesoberraccoon says:

    fab photos! Love the bee and the hover fly! 👍👌🏻

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you, I am glad you enjoyed them – they were my favourites.

  9. I feel very fortunate to have a lovely cottage garden to be in during our latest housesit. Lovely photos 🙂

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you Suzanne!

  10. Cameras and their lenses are like having an extra eye. We see things we otherwise would never have noticed. Love your post and photos!

    1. Ali says:

      Yes! I’m suddenly superhuman!

  11. pommepal says:

    Love how you have caught the bee hanging on the borage and well done with the sharpness of the hovering drone bee

    1. Ali says:

      That was luck, I have to confess!

  12. Another wonderful performance by the flowers! I admire your appreciation for the insect world as well.

    1. Ali says:

      It’s hard not to appreciate them – they are good fun!

  13. bcparkison says:

    You are having a fun time and I am enjoying every minute of it. Keep up the good work .

  14. Nat says:

    Wow Ali. Just WOW. Don’t gorgeous macro photos make such a difference in how we see the world! What on earth is Goth Gardening? Definately need a post on that!

    1. Ali says:

      I will work on it! I do love nearly-black flowers…

      1. Nat says:

        Right then I’ll be on a mission to find a black kangaroo paw in someone’s garden for you then 😊

  15. Heyjude says:

    I want to be able to click on your images and enlarge them! It is tricky getting absolute 1:1 macro as the focus area is very, very small, but keep practising. My borage is only just beginning to open and I am expecting lots of bees so I shall be lurking close by with my macro lens. It does become almost an obsession, but you need a very still day and we don’t get many of those down here!

    1. Ali says:

      Yes, I did go out when it was breezy, and soon gave up! I am finding the new camera much more reliable; I can choose the focal point, which makes things easier. But as you say it is tricky when the same flower has depth, and I have to choose if I want outer or inner parts in focus.

      1. Heyjude says:

        Great fun experimenting though 🙂

  16. love the hover fly shot – so dynamic!

    1. Ali says:

      It does look like it’s on a mission, doesn’t it? There’s an air of efficiency.

  17. Eliza Waters says:

    Great shots, Ali. I loved the bee on the borage blossom! A fellow UK blogger that takes great macros of insects and IDs them as well might interest you: His site is like a bug guide!

  18. Looks like you are having lots of fun and getting to know your garden from a whole new perspective. Who knew that moths have snouts? (Well that’s what it looks like to me.)

    1. Ali says:

      They do! They are positively piggy!

  19. Clare Pooley says:

    I love your mini-beasts, Ali! Insects are my favourite creatures to photograph, though I’m not very good at it!
    Your Longhorn beetle is the Spotted Longhorn beetle ‘Rutpela maculata’ and the larvae develop in rotting timber.
    Your hoverfly is ‘Episyrphus balteatus’ also known as the Marmalade Hoverfly
    Your little moth is a Grass Moth but I don’t know which one – maybe this one
    Your photo of the bee on the borage is absolutely gorgeous!

    1. Ali says:

      Clare, thank you so much. I am in awe of your knowledge. I will add that moth site to my favourites – it will be really useful. I love the name ‘Marmalade hoverfly’!

      1. Clare Pooley says:

        Thank-you, Ali. It is a lovely marmalade colour!

  20. I love those photographs – they’re fantastic. Well done, especially the geranium from underneath.

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you – I liked that one too.

  21. Love that hoverflies photo, good zoom too!

    1. Ali says:

      Thank you!

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