The early butterflies are nearly all widespread species including orange tips, brimstones and ‘cabbage whites’, the exception in southern England is the Duke of Burgundy fritillary and the nearest colony is near Canterbury. Peacocks and small tortoiseshells are also out and both common this year. The hedge garlic and lady’s smock are the host plant of orange tips. Brimstones feed on anything full of nectar and lay on alder buckthorn. The whites lay on brassicas and hence why many gardeners net their young broccoli, swede and cabbage plants. Now there is a job to do.