This Large White butterfly was one of several in the gardens of Coleton Fishacre house, near Dartmouth in Devon. The house – owned by the National Trust – was closed because of Covid-19, but the garden, grounds and paths to the South West Coast Path were open and there was plenty to be enjoyed.
Watching these very large Large Whites I was amazed to see how much bigger they were than the Large Whites in our garden in Cheshire. These were huge, like a species of superbutterfly! Maybe something to do with the habitat, the soil, or just that it’s often warmer and sunnier in Devon.
According to The Butterflies of Britain & Ireland there can be up to three broods, spanning April to autumn. The second brood flies from July to September, and are often more heavily marked with black and grey than the earlier spring brood. This one is clearly from the second emergence.
Their caterpillars are poisonous enough to deter predators, and even though gardeners might not like what are commonly called “cabbage whites”, they’re welcome in our garden. We don’t grow brassicas and we encourage wildlife.
Back in 2015 we were invited to a wedding. It was in late March, and in spite of inclement weather, it was a happy, friendly occasion, with dancing which went on on until well into the night.
The tables for the main meal after the marriage ceremony had been beautifully designed by the bride, and the usual wedding favours – a small gift for each guest as part of the table settings – were the most unusual we’d come across.
A box of gladioli bulbs was there for each guest, along with an indivual “thank you” message. We took our bulbs home, planted them and forgot about them until the summer, when tall green stalks with elongated buds started to appear. Our gladioli were coming up and started to open out.
They’ve appeared each year so far – now in their 5th season – and we’re always pleased to see them as we forget what delicate colours these particular bulbs have. Every year I photograph them and gently tease the groom’s mum with the pics as hers come up, but don’t flower. And I gather that the bride’s don’t flower either…..all I can say is that the secret of our success with these is total neglect!