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"Butterfly Magnets"

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We’re often asked on GoY which plants attract insects – especially butterflies. It’s not surprising, as I think that these beautiful creatures enhance a garden as they fly around the flowers.

OK – this peacock butterfly came with some logs – but isn’t he a beauty!

I thought I’d show you which flowers are the magnets for butterflies in my garden, and the range of butterflies that flutter by. (Sorry!)

Peacock butterflies seem to love the Buddleja – as do many others, of course. It deserves its common name – ‘Butterfly Bush’.

However, this Eupatorium purpureum always has several butterflies on it – and when I took this photo, there were five peacocks on it enjoying the sun and the nectar.

The Lavatera shrub isn’t quite such a magnet – but it does get visitors like this Small Tortoiseshell. This particular butterfly is a frequent sight in my garden.

Unlike the Comma – I don’t often see this, but he likes the Scabious flowers, as do all the other butterfly visitors – and they’re not fussy about which colour Scabious, either!

The little Gatekeeper seems to be the only one that’s attracted to Euonymus flowers – or maybe he just alighted for a rest before setting off round the garden again. He’s another frequent visitor.

Another little fluttery friend refused to pose outdoors, even though he’d been on almost every flower in the garden – then he came in to visit us and stayed still for a photo-shoot. He’s a Meadow Brown butterfly.

Verbena bonariensis – that’s even more of a butterfly magnet than the Buddleja, believe it or not. I have some right outside the garden room door, and there’s hardly a minute when there isn’t a butterfly on the flowers.

This time I managed to ‘capture’ the visit of a Red Admiral.

And a Large White – they’re often around, as well.

I suppose the butterfly that I see most often is the Painted Lady – and she does enjoy several plants. One was in the back garden on the Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’.

And they flock to Agastache foeniculum – another magnet in the garden.

The underside of the wings of this beautiful butterfly look like stained glass windows.

The Small White isn’t as frequently seen – and I was surprised to see one on my Busy Lizzies. He seemed happy, though!

The final butterfly in this group of beauties eluded me for ages – he loved the Scabious, appropriately called Scabiosa ‘Butterfly Blue’, and flew happily from one flower to another – just as I clicked the button on the camera, off he went to my Aster amellus – another magnet.

So you can only get a glimpse of the brilliant orange colour of the wings of the Small Copper butterfly.

Which other flowers do butterflies like? Well, lots, but Hebes and Sedum, in particular, Asters, Coreopsis, Erysimum too. They’re all butterfly magnets.

Hebe

Coreopsis

Erysimum

Which other butterflies visit us? Well – I get Yellow Brimstones, tiny bright blue ones, too – I think they’re probably Common Blue butterflies, but neither of them will stay still long enough for me to get a photo!

One day, maybe.

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Comments

 

They are the most beautiful creatures, SH, and they sure do like your garden. Your photos are superb. I want a butterfly bush when our garden is ready to contain one....they work around here to attract the butterflies. Thanks for your nice photos.

5 Sep, 2010

 

yes they are such wonderful insects. I have trouble trying to snap the common blues too. lovely photos spritz.

5 Sep, 2010

 

A beautiful blog Spritz,not a good year for butterflies with us.At least if we have the right plants we can only hope the weather will be kinder next year.
Oh no,more visits to the GC I fear :))

5 Sep, 2010

 

A really wonderful blog Barbara. I shall be revisiting this a few more times...going on to my favourites. The best one of all, for me, is the Comma on the scabious. The colours compliment each other beautifully and it's such a beauty!

5 Sep, 2010

 

Spritz, these photos are stunning, worthy of gracing a book. Your planting knowledge, to encourage all these creatures into your garden is fantastic, not only enjoying the flowers, but all the other things as well. Love it. :o)))))

5 Sep, 2010

 

love your blog spritz, lovely insects , have been getting a lot this year, seems i an doing it right then, as have quite a few of the plants u mentioned, lol x

5 Sep, 2010

 

Great Blog as usual Spritz, you really know your butterflies don't you, and the camera work is amazing. I only recognize a cabbage white or red admiral and that's my lot. Thanks for the info.

5 Sep, 2010

 

Interesting read Spritz, wish I could remember those names when I'm out n' about. I keep getting the small brown ones mixed up Lol. Can you tell me did I dream it or are Swallowtails making a come back?

5 Sep, 2010

 

This is going straight on to my Favourites ... excellent blog. I took part in the Big Butterfly Count and wonder if members may be interested to know the results of the Top 10 so far. The recordings were taken across gardens, parks and/or open spaces.

1. small white
2. large white
3. gatekeeper
4. meadow brown
5. common blue
6. peacock
7. green-veined white
8. red admiral
9. small tortoiseshell
10. ringlet

Results so far suggest the small tortoiseshell has bounced back (6th most common in gardens) from recent years observations.

5 Sep, 2010

 

Thanks all - I'm so pleased you enjoyed looking at 'my' butterflies.

Shirley - that's very interesting! Thanks. :-)

Heron - I think it's still rare, but hanging on, according to what I read in the paper recently. Too rare to come and visit me here, sadly!

5 Sep, 2010

 

Thanks I enjoyed seeing your friends :o)
I've seen more this year than for a while. I think it's because my garden is becoming established now , and therefore attracting more insects.
I think the flower that attracts most butterflies in my garden is Veronica spicata ( I think that's it's name anyway) It seems to be a real 'magnet' for them. Oh and Sedum aswell....

5 Sep, 2010

 

I haven't seen any on my Veronicas, Hywel - but I definitely won't now - they've finished flowering and have had their heads chopped off! lol.

5 Sep, 2010

 

Lovely blog, Spritz, definitely going on my favourites! You have inspired me to try to take some pics with my new camera. I am afraid the white ones have proved a bit of a problem to Rachel's brassicas this year!

5 Sep, 2010

 

Oh dear. I know they're also called 'Cabbage Whites'!

Thanks, I'm glad you liked it, R'smum.

5 Sep, 2010

 

Just wonderful! Barbara are the any houses for sale near you, as the Butterflies are almost distinct in my garden . I spotted one Red
Admaral despite all the new Buddelias, Sedum, and Veronicas! thanks I will use your Blog for future reference;0))

5 Sep, 2010

 

Superb blog Spritz, thanks for taking the time. I know its not easy taking pictures of butterflies, they are often so camera shy.

6 Sep, 2010

 

I have had quite a lot of Butterflies this year mostly Red Admirals,Peacocks, and Cabbage Whites.

6 Sep, 2010

mad
Mad
 

Thats a wonderful blog Spritz, and you are very knowledgeable about butterflies. The photos are beautiful and it was so good that you identified them as it is something I can always refer to. Thank you.

6 Sep, 2010

 

Camera shy! I should say so...even a shadow across them, let alone a human approaching makes them take off - usually above my head. :-((

Thanks, Mad....I bought a book a while ago, as I didn't know all the names - then! ;-)

6 Sep, 2010

 

really lovely blog & photos...

6 Sep, 2010

 

:-)))

6 Sep, 2010

 

This will be a reference blog for a lot of people, lovely photos, Spritz :-)

6 Sep, 2010

 

Thanks, Louise. None around today! I think they're in hiding - don't blame them, do you?

6 Sep, 2010

 

No i don't !
It's been pouring with rain for the past hour or so and been a really grey day :-((

6 Sep, 2010

 

Oh well - it's the first 'proper' rain for ages here.

6 Sep, 2010

 

Lovely photographs Spritz and thanks for naming the butterflies, there has been a lack of them in my garden this year even though I have plants that would attract them, not even many Cabbage Whites......

6 Sep, 2010

 

Lucky you for having so many different butterflies visiting your garden. We don't get so many here in Hackney ( I have seen one red admiral in the garden this year, lots of whites and a few blues, and maybe a comma... that's about it). Beautifully photographed too.

6 Sep, 2010

 

Thanks, both - sorry you haven't had the pleasure of their company. That's one of the joys of my garden! More thanks for the compliments. :-)

6 Sep, 2010

 

I remember many more butterflies about when I was a child, they snagged my attention and I became very interested in them. But despite having butterfly attracting plants, I rarely see them these days, other than on Buddleia when its in the sunshine. Painted Lady I've not seen since I was 8 here in London. Do still see Peacocks and Red Admirals, and Holly Blue and obviously the Whites, but really not a lot else any more. A great loss really, I envy you your obviously high population where you are Spritz.

6 Sep, 2010

 

I love this blog Barbara, it was lovely to see all your butterflies and to find out there favourite flowers. I find Verbena bonarensis really is a magnet for them along with Erysimum Bowles Mauve. I was told that bees and butterflies prefer mauve flowers because they see them more clearly than other colours. :o)

6 Sep, 2010

 

Super blog as usual, was lovely to see them all, I have very few down here ! :0(

6 Sep, 2010

 

Poor Bamboo and Valadel! I do love seeing my 'friends' here. I suppose I must be lucky to have so many!

Thanks, Sandra - that's interesting about mauve...It would explain the Hebes, Buddlejas and Vb as well as the Erysimum. Maybe that's why I get them - I do like mauve and purple flowers!

6 Sep, 2010

 

A lovely blog and lovely pics....Thank you Spritz xx......we are only now seeing butterflies in our gardens.....they are very late this year. Today we had a tortoishell, red admiral and peacocks......of course we get the cabbage whites all the time....grrr........I think someone mentioned the rare Swallowtail?.....I believe they are making a comeback....but you would have to visit certain parts of Norfolk to see them......

6 Sep, 2010

 

A magical blog, Spritz...stunning camera work too! Straight onto my Favs :~))X

6 Sep, 2010

 

A bit far from here - only the other side of the country, Alice, that's all! LOL.

I'd love to see one - maybe they'll arrive one day.

Thanks for the lovely comment. :-)) xx

6 Sep, 2010

 

I got Verbena B and have had loads growing inbetween the cracks of pavers but still no flutterbys !

6 Sep, 2010

 

Hallo Flori! Thank you. xx Did you spot any flutterbies when you were here??

6 Sep, 2010

 

They'll come,Valadel - they LUUURVE it! lol.

Yes, my Vbs grow in all sorts of daft places. I never mind, though!

6 Sep, 2010

 

I did indeed, Spritz...Often think fondly back on our visit to your wonderful haven of paradise out there in the country.....

6 Sep, 2010

 

:-)))

6 Sep, 2010

 

wow, great photo's.

6 Sep, 2010

 

I don't know why my Veronica attracts butterflies then lol - maybe they're the best the butterflies can find in my garden. I do have a buddleja now but I think it's in the wrong place. I'll have to move it somewhere I can see it better.
I can't cut my Veronica back . I can't get to it through all the other overgrown plants lol

7 Sep, 2010

 

Oh, Hywel! It really is time to get out there and get stuck in, then! :-(((

Thanks, Khayla - I appreciate 'wows'!!! LOL.

7 Sep, 2010

 

like you barbara iv enjoyed the butterflies this year, had loads of tortoishells and peacocks, one red admiral and a few comma`s, lots of whites but love to watch them all, lovely pics barbara and enjoyed reading your blog ;o))

7 Sep, 2010

 

Thanks, Sandra. I'm glad you did! :-)))

I saw a different one just out in the lane this morning - wish I'd had my camera there! I need to look it up...it was brown with creamy speckled wings.

7 Sep, 2010

 

sounds nice i will look it up to,, i was chasing a bright blue dragon fly round today but the damn thing wouldnt settle for a pic lol, 15 mins later i gave up hahha, im sure it knew and was winding me up ;o)))

7 Sep, 2010

 

could it have been a grizzled skipper barbara or speckled wood,

7 Sep, 2010

 

Speckled wood, I think. The picture in my book looks like it, anyway. I'll try to have my camera with me next time! lol.

I managed to get a dragonfly photo last year - he posed for me! :-)))

7 Sep, 2010

 

thought speckled wood barbara, lucky you with dragonfly to ;o))

7 Sep, 2010

 

I can't remember when I posted that photo...some time ago, now!

7 Sep, 2010

 

will look through when i have chance barbara ;o)

8 Sep, 2010

 

OK. Good luck finding it! LOL.

8 Sep, 2010

 

The only butterflies I was getting in my garden were the ones laying eggs on my sprout plants...Everyone destroyed and everyone taken up..I used to love butterflies ......Lovely pics though...The ones I had in my garden didn't stay around long enough for me to take pics lol

8 Sep, 2010

 

We didn't get any painted ladies this year, others yes, but would have loved to have seen a painted lady. Think the cold weather and the rain in late spring must have washed them away. I really love butterflies and have tried to plant flowers that attract, all the butterflies we get love the butterfly bushes, thanks for putting on those fantastic pictures. Fingers are crossed for next summer. thanks again.

8 Sep, 2010

 

Lovely blog on butterflies, Spriz! I loved it from the moment I opened the page! I've added it to My Favourites!

Down on the allotment, as you might expect, is where I see the greatest number of butterflies. Especially the cabbage white! (

BTW, does your book tell you how to distinguish between the Small & Great White?)

I tried to take a photo of a Tortoiseshell on the Buddleia at the end of the allotment but it didn't stay still long enough! I've seen Peacocks as well as the others I've mentioned above. Been unable to take photos of any of them, not so much because they won't stay still long enough but because I've been unable to get my mobile phone out of my pocket or have had my hands full.

I think there are more butterflies around this year than other years. I seem to see more of them when I'm out & about. Might be because I'm also more "out & about" this summer as I'm still out of a job & perhaps the daily walks to town or the allotment enable me to see them more often than when I was working.

8 Sep, 2010

 

Thanks, Balcony. :-)))

It's definitely a 'have patience' game trying to get photos. At least I can 'lurk' near particular flowers and maybe get a photo...maybe not!

I don't think there are as many as in previous years, though. I've only seen one brimstone. He didn't hang around, either. :-((

I agree, Olive - not nearly as many Painted Ladies as last year.

Cazza, I'm sorry about their bad habits!

8 Sep, 2010

 

Spritz they are still such a beautiful species to have round...I would rather have them around truth be known :-)

8 Sep, 2010

 

That's nice...maybe you could grow some sprouts for butterflies, and some for you next year! LOL.

8 Sep, 2010

 

enjoyed looking at all your butterflies :-)))))

12 Sep, 2010

 

Great blog and I love the butterflies. They must be a wonderfully English thing as we never get any in Sydney!

12 Sep, 2010

 

None at all, Pip??? I'm amazed!

Thanks, G. x

12 Sep, 2010

 

Loved the blog Barbara, and those wonderful butterfly photos....what a great selection you have in your garden.....really enjoyed seeing them all! Yes...I've often thought the underside of the Painted Lady is like stained glass.......:o))

12 Sep, 2010

 

Sorry late to this lovely blog...great photos....

12 Sep, 2010

 

Cabbage moths is about the extent of it Spritz, but I have seen one or two orangey-brown ones in the long distant past.

12 Sep, 2010

 

Thanks, Janey, and Ray/Jane.

Pip - I'm sorry you don't get butterflies there. :-((

13 Sep, 2010

 

lovely pics spritz........... the butterflies have been great this year havnt they...

13 Sep, 2010

 

Yes - and I'm hoping for more! :-))

13 Sep, 2010

 

So am I Spritz! Sometimes I'd like to have little pretties like what you've just shown us flit around the yard..... land on the Buddleia.... yes, we do have a Buddleia! It just doesn't get any flutterbys....

13 Sep, 2010

 

Where 'are' they all in Sydney, then? Are there any elsewhere in Australia? There must be, surely........

14 Sep, 2010

 

Have no idea.... :o(

15 Sep, 2010

 

I think I'll google it. I also have a friend in Australia - I can e-mail her and ask!!!

We were at school together.

16 Sep, 2010

 

I'll be interested to find out your google results!

16 Sep, 2010

 

I'll let you know!

16 Sep, 2010

 

Cheers Spritz.... ahhh well I'm off to bed... goodnight Poms...

16 Sep, 2010

 

That was quick and easy! Look at this link, Pip.

http://www.virtualoceania.net/australia/photos/butterflies/

There are over 400 different ones, but some parts of Australia have very few.

16 Sep, 2010

 

Good link! The 'browny-red' ones I talked about earlier are probably either the common eggfly or the cruisers.
You can of course see butterflies at Sydney Wildlife World.... you can walk into the enclosure and have them land on you. it's very nice.

16 Sep, 2010

 

My friend lives in Elizabeth Vale, S. Australia. I'm no geographer - any thoughts as to where that might be??

I'm pleased that you looked at the link and found your flutterbies! :-)))

16 Sep, 2010

 

Unfortunately no, sorry

16 Sep, 2010

 

Oh well. I expect googlemaps will come to my rescue! ;-)

16 Sep, 2010

 

;o)

16 Sep, 2010

 

ZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzz

16 Sep, 2010

 

Oh sorry - I was answering a PM! I'll have a try now.

16 Sep, 2010

 

It's just north of Adelaide. Any help?

16 Sep, 2010

 

This morning a Peacock butterfly flew into the greenhouse down on the allotment while I was watering the tomatoes. As it felt trapped I wasn't able to get a photo of it. :-(( It was fluttering around in panic I imagine not being able to understand why it couldn't fly where it liked when it could see the sky all around it!

Poor thing must have found its way out because later when I returned it had gone. :-))

17 Sep, 2010

 

Nope sorry :o(

17 Sep, 2010

 

Errrr....Adelaide must be on your map, as even I've heard of that town, Pip! I found Elizabeth Vale via googlemaps, too. That's a smallish urban area. I hadn't a clue how large or small it was before I looked.

Poor butterfly, Balcony - no wonder it panicked! :-((

18 Sep, 2010

 

Ten days ago I said

"I tried to take a photo of a Tortoiseshell on the Buddleia at the end of the allotment but it didn't stay still long enough!

Well today I was in luck at long last! A Tortoise Shell butterfly stayed put long enough for me to take its photo! I put the camera on the highest zoom function & managed to get quite a decent photo! :-))

I tried the same with a 2nd one on a flower head higher up but it must have escaped just as I pressed the button because when I looked at the picture on my computer it wasn't there!!! I did however catch a Cabbage White! I later deleted it as the butterfly had its wings in vertical & was high up in the pic & wasn't worth saving. Funnily I hadn't seen it with my own eyes but the camera eye caught it!

18 Sep, 2010

 

Adelaides the capital of south Australia, lol but have never heard of Elizabeth Vale

19 Sep, 2010

 

No, having seen what it's like and where it is, I'm sure you couldn't have, Pip, so I'm not one bit surprised.

Well done, Balcony! :-)))))

19 Sep, 2010

 

Super lot of butterflies Spritzhenry, I shall keep that in my Favourites.

22 Aug, 2013

 

My goodness - I'd forgotten I wrote this! Well done for finding it, Shirlwhirl. :-))

24 Aug, 2013

 

I just looked at the date!! Didn't realise it was so long ago Spritzhenry, lets hope there are just as many around this September!

24 Aug, 2013

 

At the moment, there are more - so I hope so, Shirl. :-)

25 Aug, 2013

 

There's are lots of butterflies around this year! I've seen many Peacocks especially on the Buddleia down on Gerry's allotment this summer! Must have been the hot July we had this year. I even managed to get a few decent photos this year. One I notice doesn't seem to be around as much as other years is the Small Tortoiseshell. The Cabbage Whites are always out in number!

The Buddleias this year have really lived up to their name of 'Butterfly Bush' this year! Someone mentioned 'Veronica bonariensis' above. I have a whole bed of this on my own allotment, Plot 12A, but I've not noticed it being frequented by butterflies. I also have a number of Borage plants which are alive with bees but I don't remember seeing butterflies on them!

30 Aug, 2013

 

I have plenty of Small Tortoiseshells, but only the one sighting of a Painted Lady so far. Lots of Small Whites and Cabbage Whites...and Peacocks, too. I see little brown jobbies which are hard to ID...they don't stay still enough, and one little brightly coloured butterfly flew past yesterday. No ID on that one as yet! No Brimstones this year, and only a few Commas.

By the way, is there a 'Large Tortoiseshell'? I can't find a mention of one in my books.

1 Sep, 2013

 

Hi Spritz, apparently there was a Large Tortoiseshell but think it is more or less extinct now. Not sure though. Never seen a Large one. We have lots of Peacocks this year and Tortoiseshells we also have only seen one Painted lady and one Red Admiral. All the others are flitting in and out and enjoying our lovely weather.

1 Sep, 2013

 

Thanks - I did wonder. That explains the name. :-)

2 Sep, 2013

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