Juliet's Jottings

First Butterfly - 17th March 2016

Male BrimstoneIt is always exciting when the first spring butterflies are sighted. On a mild and sunny morning in mid-March I saw three Brimstone butterflies, two males and one female, flying around the Home Wood area of the Gardens. The male Brimstone (left) is a lovely bright yellow, the female (below) is a pale greenish white. They have a very characteristic shape, resembling a leaf when roosting with closed wings.

Female BrimstoneBrimstone butterflies are one of the species that hibernate over winter. They seek a sheltered woodland spot amongst holly or ivy and re-emerge on the first warm days of spring with a peak flight period of April and May. They lay their eggs on Alder Buckthorn . These then mature into adult butterflies which emerge in August, providing another peak. In autumn the butterflies can be seen feeding on nectar as they build up their fat reserves in preparation for hibernation.

‘We recently had some friends from London to visit and were looking for something to entertain our young children for the day. We decided to give Exbury Gardens a try and I thought it was wonderful. We had Sunday lunch in the restaurant and the food was far superior to other local attractions so compliments to the chef. Walking through the gardens was beautiful with lots of little pathways to explore. I have lived in the Romsey area for many years and always thought Exbury was a little out of the way but it only took me 20 minutes from the motorway. We will definitely be a regular visitor from now on.’

Philip Moulds, New Forest

Juliet’s Jottings

What wildlife to spot in the gardens

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