For the last 2 weeks my children have been following the steady progress of a number of caterpillars on the Nasturtiums outside the back door of our house, eagerly expecting them to turn into Butterflies. (We have seen some beauties in the garden in the last month, including a stunning Peacock last Sunday afternoon which was kind enough to settle on my hand for long enough for the children to have a good look.)
The caterpillars in question are largely green and black and, having consulted our old but trusty Readers Digest book of ‘bugs’ (which I have to confess has a tendency to make my skin crawl just looking at the pictures), I was rather worried that we were going to be taking an interest in the development of something unpleasant, or at least boring.
They have come on quite well in the last few days and are now more faterpillar than caterpillar, having almost completely destroyed their food source in the process. Having settled myself down with the Butterfly book again I am at least convinced we are not nurturing a colony of Sawflies. It would seem that we are about to fill the garden with at least a handful of Large White butterflies, not much to write home about.
Allowing nature to have a full participation in your garden can be wonderful, I love the sound of the bees in our enormous Ceanothus, and the chance glimpse of some of Britain’s more splendid butterflies is always one of the delights of summer. When you accept you are going to allow something to eat its way through your annuals however, you at least want it to be something pretty. Large Whites are good enough, not what I would have hoped for but better than some of the alternatives!