A Butterfly Diary: April

Love is like a butterfly:  It goes wherever it pleases and pleases wherever it goes. 

(Click here for the song: “Love is like a butterfly”)

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At the beginning of the month I saw many of the same butterflies as posted about in late March: Common Brimstones, Peacocks and Commas. A few additions appeared in April, but it is still rather early for most.

The first Orange Tips (Anthocharis cardamines, Aurorafalter) arrived on March 31st, and have been fluttering around since then. I am always happy to see these, as they provide an excellent excuse for not doing much weeding; they are attracted into my garden – to lay their eggs – by Honesty, Nettles and Garlic Mustard.  They do in fact contain mustard oil, making them taste horrible to birds… the orange wingtip is the warning: don’t eat me! They like Cuckoo flowers too (Cardamine pratensis).

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I was amazed how much they seem to love the Aubretia, which has also been very popular with the bees. To me these butterflies symbolize Spring, as they are only seen flying in the months of April and May.

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The next one I saw was the Green-Veined White (Pieris napi, Grünader-Weißling). It is very similar to the Cabbage White – probably the most common butterfly of all in Europe.

GreenVeinedWhite2

When I recently read that they like Bugle, Buttercups and Vetches, I was very pleased to note another few areas of the garden I MUST NOT WEED! (Yes, we have them all within the garden…) These butterflies can be found in abundance on the edge of woodland and valleys with grassy meadows.

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Finally, I spotted an absolutely tiny butterfly, which turned out to actually be a moth… the Mint Moth (Pyrausta purpuralis, Purpurrote Zünsler ). It has a wingspan of only about 2 cm, and although a moth it often flies in the daytime too.

MintMoth

The caterpillars like mint, oregano and thyme, which grow wild in this area as well as in my garden. The moths are apparently common in dry and chalky grassland areas such as we have, although I have never noticed one before. Here the moth has landed on a Loosestrife leaf for a rest in the sun! It was very friendly and waited for me to fetch my camera – I only got one shot at it though and then it was off again.

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Thou winged blossom, liberated thing,
What secret tie binds thee to other flowers,
Still held within the garden’s fostering?

(from Ode to a Butterfly, by Thomas Wentworth Higginson)

I hope you are seeing lots of butterflies too – or at least soon will be! Even if you don’t get photos – incredibly difficult – please share what’s visiting your garden!

😀

Links:

Tuesday View (29th April), a Vase, and some Bits and Bobs

Last week the weather was wonderful, temperatures reaching the mid-twenties by Friday and Saturday. The garden was, however, begging for water… which we got on Sunday! It rained almost all day – lovely gentle warm rain – and you could almost see the plants growing. Today we are getting some more…

Today’s View

TuesdayView29thApril

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A Sunny April Afternoon in the Garden

On one of our walks around the garden last week the doggies and I “pawsed” for a rest… 😉

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Daisies, Veronica, Dandelions, Potentilla and… paws!

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Flowery Butter

I finally got around to making the flowery butter I had envisaged. This would look lovely if guests are coming!

FloweryButter

(I softened a little butter and simply rolled it in some clean dry edible flowers and petals, forming a sausage shape. Wrapped in clingfilm and chilled it will then remain looking this pretty for a week or more. 😀 )

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Fiddleheads with Flowery Butter

The ostrich ferns are now almost fully open – things are moving quickly since the rain. These are the young shoots, often known as “fiddleheads”…

Fiddleheads

The fiddleheads – the just emerging shoots of Matteuccia struthiopteris – were a disappointment. Raw they taste delicious, but several internet sources recommend cooking them for safety reasons. They taste a little green, and that’s it. 😦

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And a Monday Vase on a Tuesday!

The poor light yesterday meant my photos were appalling, so here’s my second attempt a day late…

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Ajuga, various grasses, Pulsatilla seedheads, Sanguisorba and Euphorbia polychroma…

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Drop by Cathy’s site, Rambling in the Garden where she’s got another lovely vase on offer this week, and links to all those joining in with her meme “In a Vase on Monday”.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting my Butterfly Diary for April – please share what’s been spotted in your part of the world, even if you don’t have any pictures!

That’s all folks!

Have a great week!

😀

The Lizard and the Chicken

Lacerta agilis (Sand Lizard)

  A European Protected Species

"What the.....?"

“What the…..?”

~

"Oh, it's a chicken! Tee hee."

“Oh, it’s a chicken! Tee hee.”

This is one of our residents, showing off a bit. The male sand lizard is usually as dull and brown as the female, but he sports lime green in spring to impress the ladies…

SandLizard3

Very dapper!

He’s about 20cm long and can move extremely fast when alarmed (hence the “agilis” in his name?). But on a cool day the sun’s rays tempt him to just chill out and soak up the warmth.

Hope you get some warm sunshine this weekend to soak up too!

xx

Tuesday View (22nd April)

More April showers and plenty of sunny intervals are making this such a glorious spring!

TuesdayView22ndApril

Tulips are flowering all over now.

The red tulips at the top of the rockery are some of my favourites: Tulipa “Eye Catcher”. Here they are a little closer up…

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And even closer…

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This patch of Tulipa “Eye Catcher” has grown since last year. And they always stand up to the weather very well.

What is catching your eye this week?

In a Vase on Monday: May Flowers and Snowflakes

There is a very small patch of Lily of the Valley in my garden, hidden rather well under dead leaves directly behind a fence, so I cut them ALL this year to enjoy them to the full.

😀

Maigloeckchen

I wish you could smell them – this is one of the few scented flowers I love indoors!

They are really a May flower in my eyes, as the German name – Maiglöckchen – is “Little May Bells”.

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The other vase on our Easter brunch table this year had the last Summer Snowflakes (Leucojum aestivum ‘Gravetye Giant’) in it.

SummerSnowflakes

These have been fabulous, flowering for about three or four weeks now, and I will definitely plant more bulbs for next year. They stand tall above other spring flowers, and their bell-shaped flowers like giant snowdrops draw attention to themselves.

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A note on last week’s vase: the white Hellebores lasted only a couple of days, but the Periwinkle lasted about 4 days. Short-lived, but still giving a lot of pleasure!

Thanks once again to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for hosting In a Vase on Monday. If you visit her site in the course of today you will find her latest post and others linked in the comments section – always a treat to see what people around the globe are picking from their gardens, and so inspiring too!

Do you have any Lily of the Valley growing near you?

😀