Buddleja, or butterfly bush, is something of a British favourite. It is beloved by bees and butterflies and is easy- sometimes too easy- to grow. I always hesitate to spell its name and even as I draft this blog, Microsoft Word highlights it in red, demanding I re-spell. Although brought back from China by a Roman Catholic missionary, it is named after the Anglican parson Adam Buddle (1662-1715), vicar of Hadleigh and then North Fambridge in Essex. This was at the behest of Scottish botanist William Houstoun, who wished to honour Buddle’s botanic contribution. He suggested this to Carl Linnaeus, who Latinised his name to Buddleia, but with a ‘long-tailed i’, which was since mistaken for a j.

Buddle became an expert on mosses and wrote Flora in 1703 which no publisher would then accept. Apart from having a brief fall-out with the government about the Glorious Revolution, he lived an otherwise unremarkable and quiet life. Yet now many of us say his name (or something close to his name) when we describe the garden plant now so much associated with the butterfly. I suspect that his name is more spoken now that it was in his own day.

I cannot comment on the man’s salvation; though a cleric, many joined that profession for its status and easy living. Yet how many of us, quiet and obscure, will be famous in the centuries to come, for the simple things we now do? That kind deed, that concerned phone call, that unsolicited donation- the small acts of today shall echo loudly in eternity.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Eph. 2:10