Monday, June 4, 2012

Let's celebrate a Painted Lady

I've just had a delightful surprise.
Quite unexpectedly, a suitable Jubilee gift has presented itself . . . a gift that I can offer to the Queen.
Whether she'll actually receive it depends very much on the direction of the prevailing wind and a lot of good luck.  But I know it's something she'd appreciate.

Let me tell you the story.
Last Christmas, my friend Anna gave me a beautiful dwarf buddleia together with a fascinating book on butterflies.
Anna and I share a love of wildlife and she knewI'd appreciate her gifts.  But she'd also taken a broader view.  Her admirable intention was that the small buddleia, prominently displayed on my outside window-sill, might help to stem the dramatic decline in our local butterfly population.

Happily installed in its new home, where it nestled snugly between the window-boxes, the buddleia thrived.  It thrived so well that it outgrew its flower-pot.  Yesterday afternoon, realising that something needed to be done, I went in search of a larger pot, one that would allow it to spread its roots and flourish.

Only after the buddleia had been transplanted did I notice the crumpled foliage.  Rather surprisingly, my otherwise healthy plant had acquired a twisted leaf.
Trying to smooth out the wrinkles, I realised what had happened.  This was no accident.  This was exactly what Anna had been hoping for . . . held secure in the fragile grasp of the crumpled leaf  was a delicate cocoon.  In a matter of days my buddleia would be hosting the birth of its very first butterfly!

Bearing in mind that the butterfly is emerging at the time of the Queen's Jubilee, I must admit to a fanciful hope.  I know that every Cabbage White is precious, I know that I shouldn't discriminate, but how wonderfully appropriate if our first butterfly turned out to be an elegant Painted Lady.  After all, no lady can have sat for her portrait more often than our current Queen.

Wouldn't you agree that a Painted Lady, carried on a westerly breeze towards the gardens of Buckingham Palace, would be the crowning glory for the celebrations?

Less spectacular, perhaps than a display of Spitfires or Red Arrows . . . but far more environmentally-friendly!