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Talkback: New tortoiseshell butterflies

How lucky you are to have butterflies, I have 2 buddliea trees in full flower and not a butterfly to be seen I haven't seen any at all in my...

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How lucky you are to have butterflies, I have 2 buddliea trees in full flower and not a butterfly to be seen I haven't seen any at all in my garden for months. Last year I had hundreds on my buddliea this year none. I have had only 1 bee on them as well. Does anyone know whats happened to them? Even my friends as far as Fleetwood have had none at all. I am so disappointed.
Kate Bradbury
Edd - I think there are a couple of native moths which have adapted to feed from buddleia; the mullein moth and gothic to name two.

Raddoll520 - it's not quite garden butterfly season yet, July and August are the key moths. if you cut your buddleia down in May it should flower in time for their late-summer emergence. But Edd's right, if you would like to see more butterflies, the best thing to do is grow nettles, which their caterpillars eat.
Kate Bradbury
Not the bordered gothic but the gothic...

I have just discovered a load of caterpillars hatching on my new blackthorn hedge - they're tortoiseshells or peacocks which were in the garden last year enjoying the buddleia. There wasn't much plant life in the garden a year ago but it's great to see more wildlife enjoying what I've put in during the last twelve months.

I've left a couple of nettles to grow in a corner too.

Was looking forward to this update, great job Kate :^}


Steve 309

If you want bees as well, Buddliea globosa has smaller flowers which the bees can reach with their shorter probosces.  But butterfly larvae definitely need food too, and nettles are good for several species.


Kate Bradbury

Thanks Robbie! Also very happy news... the caterpillars on the nettle patch in the park are all doing really well. Lovely lovely peacock caterpillars just about to pupate. Gorgeous things.

Fairygirl - it won't be peacocks and small tortoiseshells on your blackthorn. Off the top of my head I think a couple of hairstreaks feed on blackthorn... and lots of species of moth.


gardenning granny

Ragdoll - you ned the plants for the caterpillars to feed on as well as the nectar plants for the butterflies- perhaps you need a wild area with nettles and things....?

I have yellow swallowtails on my budleija here in France this year as well as others I'm not so good at identifying.

Am so please to know that those are tortoiseshell butterflies. What an apt name for them! I have quite a few in my smalll garden. They are unconcerned when I am only sitting a foot or so, away from them. They like an unknown ground cover, which is also frequented by bumble bees, and even flies!
I have left a strip of grass and a nettle corner to grow, mow the lawn only occasionally, and have planted lots of caterpiller, nectar, and bee plants (
I now have:-
(Butterflies) Gatekeepers, Skippers, Peacocks, Whites, Holly Blue, Brimstones, Red Admirals, (moths) Burnet, Vapourer, Green Carpet, Apple, Silver Y moth as well as a frog, grasshoppers, etc.
It's well worth having the garden look a little scruffy!
I will also reduce feeding the birds as I reckon that artificially distorts the population which will eat more caterpillars...

Driving through West Norfolk, South Lincs and Cambs over the past few days we saw more butterflies that we've seen in years.  

Lots of whites, but also lots of larger dark coloured ones which we couldn't identify as we were driving but presumably Peacocks and Red Admirals - lots and lots flying around flowering grassy verges, hedgerows, orchards and meadow and wasteland as well as around gardens.  Really lovely to see 


Quite a few torties here now so hopefully lots more to come along with Peacocks and Red Admirals in the next few weeks. 

Someone was talking last week on a bee/butterfly thread about not seeing any butterflies on his plants, which were specifically planted for them. I commented that I'd not seen many but it was early for them - August is best for butterflies here. Next day, a tortoiseshell came and sat on the paving next to where I was working. Think he was just making a point 

I used to live round the corner from where I am now, and I had Painted Ladies regularly. I'm hoping I can attract some again as they're apparently in short supply. 

gardenning granny

I have plenty of peacocks here in Bedfordshire, on the buddlieja, and lots of small brown and orange butterflies (gatekeepers?) that I can't remember seeing before, a few large whites and the occasional red admiral but not a painted lady or tortoiseshell to be seen and both used to be abundant.  The bronze fennel flowers are simply covered with bees though, which hoipefully is helping to pollinate the tomatoes nearby.  Can you make bronze fennel honey I wonder?

I've also got more grasshoppers than I've ever had before - and bumped into a solitary frog by the geenhouse yesterday.

Which are the food plants for tortoiseshells and painted ladies? - I obviously need to grow some.


nettles for tortoiseshells gg. Not sure about the painted lady.

I've finally achieved good butterfly numbers, even got some blues now


Hi, I live in Denbighshire and have had peacocks, small tortoise shell's and small white's here over the last few weeks. We do not tend to see the red admiral and large whites until August, these 5 types are really the only ones we get in our neck of the woods - we are semi rural so I do not know if that is a factor at all?

They all live on the different buddleia and lavenders throughout the garden, and also can be seen basking in the sun on the gravelled areas. 


Think Painted Ladies like nettles too - we had a small wood across from that house which would have been full of them,  a farmer's field and a narrow road with rough grassy verges full of wildflowers a hundred yards away, which probably helped considerably. 

Area is a big factor too MrsT - we don't get blues up here. Check out one of the butterfly sites and it'll tell you what's resident in your own part of the country 

star gaze lily

I've got a white Buddlia, which isn't that big and I've seen quite a few butterflies on mine. In fact as Dove said I've seen more butterflies this year than I have for ages. They keep coming in our conservatory too.


Four Buddleias in my garden. Mainly Peacocks and Small Tortoiseshells but a few Red Admirals,Large Whites and Meadow Browns. Large White caterpillars on nasturtiums 

gardenning granny

just seen a comma on the argerathemums this evening - hadn't seen one of those in ages - delighted

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