Friday Flowers

We have a bit of a mix this week between the blooms and wildlife, we’ve had a bit of an explosion in butterflies – mainly the Peacocks, although still no Red Admirals and I’m thinking we’re unlikely to see any at all now this year. Also, there’s quite a marked decrease in Gatekeepers, I still had a lot compared to many, but I’m used to 30+ but this year I’d estimate numbers were closer to 15-20. Even last year we managed 30+ and it was so wet, so I wonder whether the late snows in spring impacted on them?

So, onto photos…

Geranium Thurstonianum and Lady’s Mantle

Salvia sensation rose


Yarrow and meadowbrown butterfly

Really I ought to rename the borders, as realistically the upper tier should be the ‘Aster border’ as I have 4 species up there and only one now actually in the Aster border.

Aster Lady in Black, Flat-topped Aster and Veronicastrum

Ah yes, Teasel at last. After numerous seedings and no results last year I bought some wildflowers from Clumber Park, waited a year and here we go. Then, earlier this year low and behold I notice a Teasel growing on the edge of the Aster border! It’ll need moving, but I’ll probably be gone by then so will leave it to whomever moves in!



I was perhaps far too excited when I spotted wands on the Dierama… Three this year, I know that sounds rubbish but it’s the most yet and I haven’t had any at all for I think 2 years. So I’m thrilled.

Angel’s fishing rod

With the drop in temperatures I’ve seen lots of Bees ‘sleeping’ or hiding on blooms to avoid the rain. Generally I poke them to try to get them to move on and find a safer/more suitable resting site. So the top left Bee was less than impressed with my poking and it was sticking its legs out at me – as they all do when I poke them 😉 However, you might want to click on the photo to enlarge and check out the leaf-cutter Bees mandibles (top right photo). Amazing.

Bees and blooms

Heeeeeey, look who’s back!!

Geum Totally Tangerine

I’ve been most impressed with the Ringlet numbers this year… Even if they were looking somewhat tatty over the last week or two. Shows what happens when they’re always chasing each other!

Butterflies: Meadowbrown, Ringlet, Gatekeeper and Comma

Cinnabar caterpillars are desecrating the Ragworts, not a problem after all that’s the very reason I’ve allowed them to seed around the garden. Hopefully next year their numbers will explode… I have so many caterpillars there’s no way I can count them all.

Cinnabar Caterpillars

Just as I was trying to catch the Ringlet, look what landed right in front of me… A Small Tortoiseshell! Its colours are in stunning contrast to the pink Yarrow.

Gatekeeper and Small Tortoiseshell butterflies

And then, as if the last shot wasn’t handy enough, it happened again!

Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly

Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly

The butterflies seem to change their plant preferences from year to year… Previously I’ve rarely seen them on Yarrow, and they all seemed to prefer Ragwort and Erysimum, this year the Gatekeepers and Ringlets really liked the Yarrow and I didn’t really see either on the Erysimum; in fact the only flutters I’ve seen on Erysimum were the Whites.

David Austin Harlow Carr Monkshood, Lavender, Ringlet and Peacock butterflies

And I think perhaps I ought to stop… So I’ll finish with the Vapourer moth caterpillar. Such amazing, crazy, interesting caterpillar. It’s a shame it grows up to be perhaps the most boring moth you could imagine!

Vapourer Caterpillar

Copyright 2013 Liz.
All rights reserved. Content created by Liz for Gwirrel’s Garden


17 thoughts on “Friday Flowers

  1. I am so inspired by your garden of butterflies! Such great photos as always. I have some milkweed seeds to get started to attract Monarch butterflies, and of course the 10 new butterfly bushes (dwarf) I planted this year will help. So do you contrive some consistent muddy spots for the butterflies as I’ve read they prefer? I think I need some pink yarrow after seeing yours. I have crimson ‘Summerwine’ but that mid pink is great, too. Cheers.

    • Hi VW,

      Aww, I’m glad I’ve inspired you. You’ll love it, they’re just so magical to watch (not to mention mesmerising). I’ve just sat out in the garden hypnotised by them for far too long when I intended to do other jobs around the house/garden. What was meant to be a 5 minute walk around to check on things, turned into almost 2 hours.

      Monarch butterflies… If only we had them here… Or Swallowtails. I oh-so-wish I had them!
      Nup, no muddy patches here, although no doubt there are some in other gardens around. Who knows. I think some species will drink from them, but I haven’t heard of the species I get in my garden visiting muddy puddles – Monarchs I think are well known for doing that, at least when I’ve seen shots of them they seem to.

      Sadly I don’t know the name of the Yarrow, it was a cheap plant bought as a ‘basic’ range from a local DIY shop trying to sell ‘cottage’ or wild type plants. So it was marked purely as Achillea. The pink can range from light to a deeper shade, not sure why.

  2. Hello again, Liz – what a delight to see your stunning images again! You are certainly doing your bit in showing a good selection of plants for wildlife 😀

    I could comment on every single photo, but instead, I want to pick up on your comment about your Geum Totally Tangerine being back again. I have that one in my garden too and I loved it last year. It’s not been so good this year and 1 of my 2 plants growing together in the same border has died. I’ve taken to cutting back hard some stems of the other after our hot, dry spell when it was looking scruffy and lacking flowers. Have you found this a tender plant with you – if so, I’ve a bit of a problem up here 🙂

    • Hi Shirley,

      Funnily enough, few wildflowers I have actually attract wildlife! Feels like a kick in the teeth, but I have plenty of other blooms which attract them instead. Of course it may be a case that ordinarily they would attract wildlife, but something else attracts it even more – i.e. they prefer one bloom other another. Either way, as long as I have butterflies, bees etc I’m happy.

      Totally Tangerine has been fine here, this is actually its second flush and I’m almost certain readers are thoroughly fed up with my photos of it so far this year 😉
      Shame it hasn’t done so well for you, perhaps it was the late snows? Sometimes plants just die, don’t they. For example I have a few Sea Holly, one for the second year running now has suddenly decided to just start dying at its peak. I’ve no idea why. Perhaps it’s time to get rid of that one (it annoys me anyway because it often sticks out over the steps and spikes me as I go past, but it’s handy for butterfly photos too).

  3. Lovely photos as always, and lots of info about the wildlife – thanks for both. I must look out for G Totally Tangerine – I love my geums anyway and with your recommendation this would be a great addition. My Mrs B has just started another flush – and yet I am sure last year they flowered almost continually through the summer.

    • Hi Cathy,

      I think my Geums also bloomed all summer last year… But these had a little break, well actually one didn’t have a break at all, but at the time it only had the one stem left with blooms on it until the next flush arrived.

  4. Great photos, Liz. Butterflies and caterpillars aplenty! Well done for the wands on the Dierama – which one do you grow and how long did you wait for the first flowers? And then that special Geranium thurst. which I admired before in your garden…I definitely have to search for it. Seems to flower for ages.

    • Hi Annette,

      Thanks very much 🙂
      Yes Thurstonianum does bloom for ages – since early June. it’s slowing down now, but if I cut it back I think it’ll produce new/fresh growth for me. It’s also really good for dark corners because its blooms are so bright. It is a thug though, so you’ll need to leave plenty of room for it.
      I bought the Dierama so long ago I can’t remember which one it is now, sorry. It’s only bloomed twice so far and I’ve definitely had it 6+ years. It’s a large one, with large leaves on it compared to the smaller ones I have which look far more grass-like. The leaves on this are similar to the thickness of Gladioli.

  5. Love your photos! And thank you, as literally minutes ago someone showed me a picture of that caterpillar and then coincidentally I read your blog, which has helped me to identify it!

  6. We haven’t seen many red admirals yet this year either, but it is fascinating to watch the flutter of the other species feasting in the borders. You’ve captured some lovely shots.
    My dierama flowered ( one lovely stem) this year for the first time; I was thrilled, they are so beautiful. I look forward to more flowering stems in the years to come *fingers crossed*.

  7. Thank you for the beautiful photos. My garden has had a large variety of butterflies and moths this year. Have so enjoyed them. I also grow teasel and enjoy the tiny flowers. Had no idea it was one of butterflies favorites.

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