Boring Caring

I’ve been reading about butterflies being in decline in Britain. That’s one of those stories – it’s telling you something that you knew but that you didn’t realise you knew. Cycling around, in my garden, out walking – wherever, I’ve been registering that butterflies are fairly rare but not consciously. They’re rare enough to make me want to try and grab a photo when I see it.

A Comfrey flower with a butterfly

A Comfrey flower with a butterfly - another huge gap in my knowledge as I haven't a clue what sort it is

As is often the case, the loss of habitat is the issue: the normal bad, short-sighted farming methods; too many people and nature-unfriendly gardens; not enough people caring. It’s the same old story. It’s boring in its familiarity – which means it never makes it on to the widespread general news agenda. There is no effective, loud voice for the caring in any ongoing way.

Riding today – the lanes of Berkshire and South Oxfordshire – and there was another case of only now noticing the obvious: I’d never before realised how green the hedgerows become once the white flowers fade, how rare any other colours are. Rhododendrons are an exception but they’re not native. There are some other colours to be found dotted about but you have to look hard to find them – clover for example. Perhaps it is different elsewhere in the country but now I’m thinking about it, I can’t recall ever noticing a bright ‘natural’ hedgerow anywhere that I’ve been in Britain.

I thought bees and other pollinators were attracted to colours as well as pollen itself or, rather, attracted by colour (and scent) to pollen. Perhaps I have it all wrong, or perhaps these days hedgerows are as ruined and thus nature-unfriendly as our farmed land.

I don’t know if it’s a reflection on me or simply a reasonable reaction to how we live that I’m inclined to believe the latter more than the former.

Rhododendrons - non-native but successful if they find the right conditions

Rhododendrons - successful non-natives

A clover flower

Clover - a spot of colour