Butterflies in February? Poor things will be caught in the next frost. But not if they are in a hothouse.
There are two birthdays in the family to be celebrated about now so we invited both birthday girls to lunch in the Restaurant at Wisley Gardens. The gardens impressed them much more than the food. It may be winter but there are plenty of beautiful things to see and smell. There are the crocus, snowdrops, hellebores and a few early daffodils but also the dogwood and briars with brightly coloured stems.
In the Glasshouse
Near the glasshouse are beds of tall dead grasses, unspectacular until you get near and become overwhelmed by the fragrance of Sarcococca bushes planted in the same beds. There are plenty of other scents, Witch Hazel (Hamamelis), Daphnia, Viburnum and Mahonia. In the glasshouse are orange blossoms and a special display of Gladioli (I think that is what they are.)
The butterflies are plentiful and some land on people. They seemed to have a preference for ladies wearing red. If you have a camera, you can get up quite close to some of them. Plates of fruits are placed around for them to feed.
We enjoyed our visit and the outcome was that both birthday girls demanded Royal Horticultural Society membership as a present. Now they can visit Wisley and many other gardens without further payment.
I used to worry about a part of the garden that never got sun. The RHS recommends certain plants for such locations and so I bought some. Hypericum, Mahonia, Vibernum, Prunus Laurocerasus and Vinca minor. Do you gardeners out there think that a reasonable choice? Time will tell.