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Our buddleja has proved very popular with butterflies in the past few days - think they were Peacocks - very attractive. While not teeming, there were at least 5 or 6 at any one time. It's our garden's first full year, so not sure if this is a good or bad indicator of the numbers of butterflies in the area. Our 5 year old and her assorted friends have been quite interested to see them all fluttering about the garden.
I love seeing the butterflies that you have. My home garden is a Monarch Waystation. I've got over 30 Black Swallowtail caterpillars on the bronze fennel that I planted. Lots of buddleja here as well. Thanks! Cameron
I too remember loads of butterflies in the garden when I was a child. Like Lainey, my own garden is only really in its first year but I haven't been as lucky! It's only a small garden but I've got 5 buddleias and a verbena bonariensis which has done brilliantly, along with lots of other tasty plants, plus I don't keep the lawn immaculate - I let the clover grow, etc - but hardly any butterflies have graced my garden this summer! :-( I have seen the odd cabbage white but nothing else at all. Lots of bees though, especially bumbles (along with a hornet a few weeks ago which was interesting) and I'm not complaining about that!
Despite its reputation as a butterfly magnet, buddleja is a very poor nectar source for butterflies, bumblebees or hoverflies. I've never quite worked out exactly why this should be so, since I too have memories of the purple spikes dripping with brightly coloured butterflies. I wonder whether it is linked to the fact that buddleja is a deep-rooted thug of a plant. After a hot dry summer many nectar sources have dried up leaving buddleja, with its tenacious grip on the water table, able to get enough water to produce some nectar. Most years, however, buddleja is easily out-competed in the insect-visitor stakes by simple garden staples like orpine, golden rod and even thistles.


Cameron, lovely to hear from you in the States. I dream about seeing a swallowtail in my Cambridgeshire garden, but am afraid this will remain a dream. They are such a beautiful butterfly, but then aren't they all.

I do agree with John that it helps to look at our gardening activities as a whole, and the things we plant as well as the things we do (or don't). It's as important considering the role of our gardens in providing egg laying sites and supporting caterpillars as it is flowers to feed butterflies.

I live in South Norfolk and have been plagued with butterflies this year - my garden is full of flowers particularly lilac, buddleia, verbena bonarienis. Having started a veg plot last year I've tons of cabbage whites and their offspring which I pick off and throw on the lawn for the birds. I can't begin to list the different varieties as there are so many ... particular favourites I have are Orange Tip (I squeal every time I see one early in the season)and the Common Blue (which has to be the prettiest blue ever). We see so many Cabbage Whites and Green Veined that our buddleia bushes look like they're covered in dancing confetti!
I agree with John waters' comment. A couple of years ago I did away with all insecticides, slug pellets, weed killers etc. I do not cut the lawns too closely and then only once a fortnight. I also introduced some red valerian. The butterflies love it, especially when it starts to go to seed. The return of wildlife into the garden since I stopped trying to manicure it is amazing.
Ten years ago I was living in Dumfries and Galloway.My garden was very large so I made a butterfly garden for my grandchildren. It was a large one with a path running through the middle so that they could get in and amongst it.It had buddleias, sedum, michaelmas dasies etc. When they played so many butterflies visited that sometimes the children were scared.Too many to count at any one time.I have now reproduced the garden at our local school in the ribble valley, Blackburn.We get very excited if we see ONE butterfly these days.
As a novice gardener, my mowing got behind and a rough patch of buddleia and nasturtiums ran riot at one end of my garden. It attracted lots of butterflies and bees(the Cabbage White particulary enjoyed my nastursiums.) Next to this patch, I also have a pile of logs,twigs and softwood trimmings which the hedgehogs seem to like.

I also get wild rabbits visits from the the church grounds nearby, who ate all my annual seedlings earlier in the year. I thought my next doors huge veg patch would have been much more attractive!

Whilst attempting to move some Sweet Williams at the base of my compost bin in the same area, my spade inadvertently disturbed a nest of bumble bees which flew up at me. I stood very still and they swarmed up and around me for a few moments and then resettled. A bit nerve racking to say the least! Thats nature for you - I would not change a thing.

I have many plants to encourage butterflies and bees.The honey and bumbles seem to be doing ok but I have seen very few butterflies. We live at the edge of a wild scottish hillside which has not changed nor has my garden.I am inclined to put the lack down to so much rain.
I do not wish to labour this gruesome point but when was the last time you needed to clean your car bonnet after driving through the countryside.It seems to me that it is not only the butterflies and moths but all forms of flying insects have declined.(by the way I have introduced buddleia to my garden and have had a super year for butterflies).
I do not wish to labour this gruesome point but when was the last time you needed to clean your car bonnet after driving through the countryside? It seems to me that it is not only the butterflies and moths but all forms of flying insects have declined.(by the way I have introduced buddleja to my garden and have had a super year for butterflies)
I am sure the poor turn out of butterflies this summer is due to the dreadful wet summer in 2007, and I fear we will see the same again in 2009. I have had up to 16 species in my Pennine garden, 750 alt within the last 5 years, which has quite a few nectar plants from March onwards: Aubretia, Sedum, Buddleia, Geranium and Echinops Hebe sp all attract. I have just seen my first speckled wood of the year, and have had skippers, orange tip small coppers as well a the whites and small tortoiseshell and peacocks, but no commas or painted ladies this year
I am making a real effort each year to get better and better about gardening for wildlife. I am absolutely fascinated now about all the insects in my garden and am learning more and more about them every day. Nothing is banished from my garden if nature brought it in and if a plant is being eaten then so be it - my theory is they need it more than me but 9 times out of 10, the plant recovers and comes back looking more stunning so nature is definitely boss in my garden. I just try and help it along the way! I am having great fun in gradually getting rid of any plant that has no wildlife value whatsoever and replacing with plants rich in wildlife value which is so much fun. Basically, wild flowers are a must in any wildlife garden as they can withstand the UK's pests and diseases better and they are so pretty too. I too don't think you can have too many buddleia. I have a long way to go but it is already a place I want to be when I don't want to be anywhere else.


Hi Richard, here North West Anglesey, I have seen large numbers of Red Admirals this summer/autumn. Also I have never seen as many Speckled Woods before. We have always had Speckled Woods in our garden but this year they are over our fields as well
Butterfly numbers were definitely down this year in my garden, but I am trying to improve that next year but not only growing great nectar plants but also growing the food plants of the caterpillars. Hopefully I can create my own colonies of butterflies and have the garden full of butterflies that I, too, remember from childhood.
We also live in south norfolk-just-& walk the fields every day. Today we saw a large moth or was it a small wren by the flooded river-oh what terrible vibrations that gives out at present.

We saw & followed a large butterfly red and I think oh what a pleasure. Having recently returned from france - a long term visit - I am so pleased to be back in the English countryside I hope to buy an acre of derelict land but am not 100% sure how to handle it yet - I will learn.

PLEASE be careful of Buddleia. Although beautiful and full of nectar it is a MENACE. It is taking over alongside railway lines as it has escaped from domestic gardens. It is CHOKING our native plants.
when they showed a 'red admiral' butterfly it was not a red admiral; it was a peacock butterfly on your other website