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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 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.


  • 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.
  • Not the bordered gothic but the gothic...
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,817

    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.

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Robbie182Robbie182 Posts: 1
    Was looking forward to this update, great job Kate :^}
  • Steve 309Steve 309 Posts: 2,753

    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.



  • 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.


  • 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.

  • VrystaatVrystaat Posts: 50
    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...
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,871

    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 image

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

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