8 SEPTEMBER 1939, Page 18


I had been noting not without surprise, for there were none last year, that the sole visitor to a particular Buddleia bush was the Peacock butterfly, when a letter from a friend on the Surrey-Hampshire border called attention to exactly the same thing. Peacocks were plenty and both Tortoiseshells and Admirals absent. Particular species of butterfly have their seasons, especially in the migrants, and it is difficult to infer why particular conditions of weather favour one and not the other. The host-plant of the Peacock, the ordinary stinging nettle, flourishes about the place where my Peacocks were seen; but are singularly scarce in the Hampshire garden. Some of us would put the Buddleia at the very head of autumn-flowering shrubs, if only for its success as a lure to Peacock, Admiral and Tortoiseshell, which are themselves at least as lovely as any flower, and will often allow themselves to be watched from close quarters. It is a liberal education to watch the delicate shell of the honey extraction by the long flexible instrument. It seems to me, though it may be a fancy, that the duller coloured Veitchiana is preferred before the brighter Magnifica. Is the sweet honey scent the chief lure? One would think so if the larger flowered dwarf mauve Michaelmas daisies, not to mention the unlovely Sedum Spectabile or the foul-smelling Clerodeuli on, did not prove equally attractive.