We had all just buckled down to harvesting after lunch, when Ru called out from the Wild Side, ‘you should all come see this!’ And rushing there, we saw, almost miraculous in the afternoon sunshine, a veritable host of butterflies dancing on the valerian. I had to share these pictures with you, though they do no justice to the delightful sight.
If we’ve identified them correctly, these are painted ladies. Apparently there is a big influx of them this year and they are very convivial, so you’ll see them in wondrous numbers. You might be forgiven if you thought, like me, that they might be monarchs, a very similar looking butterfly. But monarchs don’t usually pitch up until later in the year, and not, normally, as far east.
The valerian they are feasting upon was one of a bunch of interesting edible plants we put into a rockery. It’s an abundantly flowering, sweet smelling plant, but rather bolshy and has pretty much crowded out the others we planted with it. We harvest the young shoots late winter-early spring for our salad bags.