Town or country, summer is a busy time in any plot; and in addition to the numerous colorful blooms we all love, it is the season of what I call ‘flying flowers’ – bees, butterflies, moths, hoverflies and dragonflies.
Peacock pussy willow and wild cherry blossom in spring. The shiny black caterpillars feed gregariously on sunlit nettle patches.
2. THE BROWNS
THE BROWNS gatekeeper, meadow brown, ringlet and speckled wood eat long grass. They like areas of uncut grass which are occasionally tidied up.
3. RED ADMIRAL
RED ADMIRAL winters, these magnificent but largely migratory butterflies successfully hibernate here, often in thick ivy, having first fed on autumn flowers and also on fallen fruit.
4. THE WHITES
THE WHITES white, small white and large white. The latter two are renowned for eating brassicas but they can be lured on to nasturtium patches instead.
COMMA territorial and have favorite resting places. In my garden they bask on rhubarb leaves, from where they launch aerial pursuits at passing flying insects.
6. LITTLE COPPER
LITTLE COPPER treasure breeds on clumps of sheep’s sorrel in short turf or amongst hot bare ground.
7. PAINTED LADY
PAINTED LADY migrate here from North Africa, to breed on thistles. The newly hatched butterflies feed ravenously on buddleja flowers.
8. SMALL TORTOISESHELL
SMALL TORTOISESHELL In early spring, these drink nectar from crocus and dandelion flowers, having hibernated through the winter in cool roof spaces.
9. ORANGE TIP
ORANGE TIP wanderer. In my garden the caterpillars feed on garlic mustard, honesty and sweet rocket before wandering off to pupate on woody herbaceous stems – which need to be left uncut until the new butterflies emerge in April.
BRIMSTONE spring having overwintered as Appear in early butterflies. Plant the native purging buckthorn and alder buckthorn on which the caterpillars feed. In high summer new butterflies will emerge from these shrubs. They like to feed on perennial sweet pea flowers.