It’s a mild, sunny day and I’m helping in the garden – which means keeping everyone company and chatting away, like the pretty robin that always comes looking for a treat whenever somebody is gardening. The incessant twitter of birds and their young can be heard from the hedge, and there is a sweet scent coming from one of the bushes. A tiny red spot stands out among the different shades of green. It is a ladybird, but hold on! Something is strange about it.
As the little beetle tries to scuttle away on its tiny legs, I pick it up gently and place it on a leaf to take a closer look. It’s a seven-spot ladybird (Coccinella septempunctata), about the size of a small pea. Oddly, one wing is orange and the other is red! Couldn’t nature make up its mind? Or does this fellow have two different parents – one red, one orange? Or maybe it broke its left wing and therefore lost the bright red colour. Either way, this ladybird is very special. Carefully, tenderly, I place it under the rose bush, where a feast of aphids awaits.