Monday, May 31

Went to the market in town this morning to look for Heliotrope on the plant stall. Success! Bought 5 plants. On the walk home, I spotted a Speckled Wood beside the footpath not far from my home.

Sunday, May 30

At lunchtime a Large White came to visit the Hesperis matronalis. I have both white and lilac Hesperis matronalis flowers in that patch but the Large White was on a white flower.

Spent the afternoon filling pots and hanging baskets with bedding plants that I bought yesterday. I planted a multi-holed herb pot with Lobelia 'Cambridge Blue'. A large shallow bowl contains that Lobelia with bright orange Marigolds. I used Lobelia 'Sapphire' in the hanging baskets. One day I'll master the art of filling a hanging basket but till then I'll tell myself that the fun is to keep trying. I've watched butterflies crawl in under the hanging foliage and settle down for the night on more than one occasion in the past. That seems like a good reason to hang baskets of flowers up. I'm trying Verbena and Petunias in mine. Another shallow bowl holds Ageratum, Alyssum "Rosie O'Day" and Lobelia "Rosamund". In a big pot there's Zinnias, Salvia farinacea Victoria and a single Nicotiana Saratoga White. Another big pot contains a Lantana camara, Nasturtiums, Marigolds and a couple of trailing Snapdragons. The snapdragons are loved by bees, children and my husband but are not a butterfly plant.

Looking through my books, I see Busy Lizzies, Chrysanthemums, Dahlias, Marguerites and Osteospermums listed as butterfly attractors. I'm not a fan of those plants but perhaps you would like to test them...

Wednesday, May 26

Just thought I'd include a photograph of a Pyrausta aurata moth. There are lots of them in my garden at the moment.

Sunday, May 23

Saw a Green-veined White feeding on Bugle along a path in the Cotswold Water Park. There was also a Holly Blue butterfly beside the same path. A Brimstone crossed the road in front of us on the way home.

Whilst having lunch, I twice spotted a blue butterfly in the back garden - probably Holly Blues. The Bird's Foot Trefoil is beginning to flower in the back garden, which reminds me of the Common Blue: It is the larval foodplant of that butterfly.

Saturday, May 22

Saw a Holly Blue when walking back from town on Wednesday. I've been busy indoors and it's been raining at times, so I've not seen any butterflies for a few days. However, I did see a Brimstone fly past when visiting Bath today.

In the last few days, I've received emails asking about tiny brown moths. I have lots of them at present on my Thyme plants and other low-growing plants at the front. They belong to the Pyrausta species. There's a photo on my Moths page.

Tuesday, May 18

Look at this photograph but not if you don't like creepie-crawlies and have imagination... Intrigued? I'll tell you more in a moment.
It was another lovely sunny and warm day. This morning from an upstairs window, I saw a White butterfly in the back garden. It was moving like yesterday's Green-veined Whites. It stopped on Forget-me-not and Choisya. Since I've witnessed Green-veined Whites feeding on both of those in past years, it seems likely that I was seeing the same today but I can't confirm that since I was so far away.
I did see a Large White feeding on purple Hesperis matronalis when I was in the garden. I also saw from the bedroom window another White stopping on Hesperis matronalis.
The big surprise came when I was ironing about 5pm. My denim skirt had come out of the washing machine at 1pm and was immediately hung in the middle of the washing line in the back garden. The line is above the patio behind the kitchen and there are no plants near it. I turned the washing over about 3pm and fetched that batch indoors about 4pm. So I started ironing my denim skirt and realised that something was stuck to the pocket - a batch of eggs! Look at the close-up image. I would describe them as lime-green in colour. The question is what insect laid them? Do you know? I don't. I'm hoping that somebody can tell me.
I've switched on "comments" for this entry so if you know the answer, please click on "comments".

Monday, May 17

Saw a Peacock butterfly basking on the wall of Cirencester Park as I walked down Tetbury Hill into town. After a visit to the plant stall in the Market, I stopped at the supermarket and just a few minutes after leaving Tesco, I saw a Holly Blue ahead of me.

At mid-day in my back garden, there were 2 Green-veined Whites. I followed one of them around the garden and consequently discovered a Holly Blue in the vicinity of my Choisya ternata, now flowering. A Large White stopped for a rest on one of the Buddleias and an Orange Tip passed by.

Sunday, May 16

A Small White was in the back garden this morning. This afternoon I saw a number of White butterflies, including male Orange Tips, flying around when I went for a walk along the Sapperton Canal and through Siccaridge Wood. I also saw four Holly Blues in the Wood. The greatest excitement though was when I saw a pair of light-brown wings in a clearing. I watched the butterfly/moth move back and forth around the clearing until eventually it stopped. I was too far away on the path to use my digital camera but I did have my SLR. Hopefully a small speck on one of the slides will be identifiable. It might be the first ever Pearl-bordered Fritillary that I have seen. They are resident in this wood. This is the right time of year. I will just have to wait for my slide film to be finished and developed. Further along the path, I came across two Speckled Wood butterflies.
This evening, there was a Holly Blue in my front garden inspecting my Holly bush. It looks like this will be a good year for Holly Blue butterflies.

I have added two more pages in the Resources section of the website: Conservation and The Butterfly Year.

Saturday, May 15

A Holly Blue was lurking near the Pyracantha in my front garden this afternoon. Saw several Whites at a distance, including one which was probably feeding on an Aubrieta plant that I saw on my walk to town.

Thursday, May 13

A Green-veined White was feeding on Forget-me-not.

Tuesday, May 11

Today was an extra special day. At about mid-day I went to mow the lawn. Within 10 minutes, I was back to collect my digital camera. I'd found a Holly Blue near my evergreen hedge next to the front lawn. It was hovering over a bush. Now at least one human has mistaken this bush for a Magnolia, but this female Holly Blue wasn't fooled. She knew she'd found a Holly. The next few minutes were magical as I watched her depositing eggs and then I ran to get my camera. Here's my Holly Blue on the Holly. The movement and slight noises from my camera disturbed her. I took these pictures of the top view of her wings and a side view, and then I took the lawnmower and headed for the back garden hoping that if I left her in peace, then she would lay more eggs. I returned a little while later with my SLR to find that she had returned to egg-laying.

Monday, May 10

An Orange Tip, another White butterfly and a Small Tortoiseshell were in my garden during the afternoon.

Friday, May 7

A Holly Blue was taking an interest in one of my Aubrieta plants but that plant has only one flower so it flew away before I could get my camera. The shadow of butterfly wings passed over my head as I worked in the garden - a Brimstone flying past. A Small White came to rest on one of the shrubs.