Safari Sunday

Today has seen the nicest weather of the year so far with temperatures in the mid-late teens I decided not to go out today and instead take the opportunity to enjoy reconnecting with the garden and completing some jobs. I haven’t cut everything back yet, because with clear, sunny skies will come frosty nights and I want to leave the plants to help protect the new growth.

Out I popped to dismantle some of the old fence panels and chop back some of the willow. I hoped I might even get to see some Butterflies if I was lucky.

As it happens I was apparently overflowing with luck.

First up was a Comma, which didn’t land for me to take photos. Instead I opted to take photos of the Anemones and the last of the Crocus and then onto the real work in the garden.

Stood up on the tier helping Pete rip planks of wood and I spot…

A Brimstone!

Off I run to grab the camera leaving a confused Pete for some record shots just to make sure I was correct. It didn’t land for me unfortunately so nothing close or really worthwhile showing.

But I’m just so incredibly happy because I have never seen one here before.

Once we’d finished I had three Peacocks in the right border enjoying the Crocuses and Erysimum. Later I also had Small Tortoiseshell and Comma.

Sitting out on the decking, I was yet to catch a close photo of one of many large, fat Bees. You know the kind you can hear buzzing metres away? This one decided to hide in the door… I moved her on because I was worried if the door closed, she’d be crushed.
The Bees always like to check out the back of our house for any holes. With it being south-facing this happens every year; if they’re not looking for homes, they’re sunbathing instead.

I had hoped with the arrival of the Bees and Butterflies I would see Ladybirds. Sure enough here’s a 7 –spot. Only the one though. Although to be honest I’m pleased, because last year I saw only one the entire year, late in the season.

Generally my garden only has summer Butterflies. So I’m more than thrilled that early in the year I now also seem to get them. I occasionally see Orange-tips too, but still have never managed a photo of one.

If you don’t have any Erysimum in your garden, please get some. They were the main attraction, and considering this is very early for Butterflies they would have only had Crocus to feed on – which they struggle with as they’re small. Erysimum are invaluable, not only in summer for Butterflies but also blooming constantly throughout winter and great for random early warm days which wake the insects (Bees and flies were also spotted feeding on the blooms).

Copyright 2014 Liz.
All rights reserved. Content created by Liz for Gwirrel’s Garden


22 thoughts on “Safari Sunday

  1. How fantastic to see so many butterflies today, I can’t say I saw any in the garden but a Brimstone was fluttering along the hedges in the next village when we drove past. I think you must have the plants which the butterflies like for their egg laying. I hope the good weather lasts so that we can all catch up on the jobs that have been waiting for months while we were all waterlogged!

    • Hi Pauline,

      I’m surprised you didn’t see any butterflies?? I’m sure you have plenty of host plants in your garden for them??

      I believe next weekend is due to be warm again, so hopefully i’ll get some more jobs done. Although priority at the moment ought to be taking the last of the clutter to the tip.

  2. Alas we didn’t have any fluttering visitors this weekend. The bumble bees were out in force, puzzled by the frailty of the crocuses which quickly buckled under their weight! Wonderful photographs, thank you for sharing.

    • Hi,

      The bumbles and butterflies had the same problems on the crocuses here, so I couldn’t blame them for moving onto the Erysimum instead!

  3. What a lovely experience you have had, Liz, and superb photos. I have been aware of the odd bee or two for a few weeks now – particularly around the Lonicera fragrantissima. 10 (ish) spotted ladybird near Elder daughter’s in Surrey today.

    • Hi Cathy,

      Last year I only ever saw the many spotted Ladybirds – mainly the small yellow and black types. I couldn’t really understand why, other than the late snows perhaps causing problems. But it’s not like they haven’t survived snow before?? Very odd and I hope their numbers bounce back this year.

  4. what a treasure trove of beauties; I wonder what it is that fascinates us so much about butterflies, I never see one without feeling pleasure. Yesterday I saw a humming bird hawk moth.

  5. How amazing to have butterflies in March! I’m hoping my yard will become home to more of them as the garden matures. Seems like we get some small white ones if it warms enough in April, but maybe it’s not until May? I saw a sleepy fly on a tree last week, and scraped off some scale, but no other signs of insect life yet. I’m planting bunches of Ammi so that should make the butterflies happy this summer. You’ll need to put out a moving directions sign to get all the butterflies to follow you to your new home 🙂

    • Hi VW,

      Good luck attracting your butterflies – I couldn’t imagine being without them here. Actually I wish I could have a sign for them. It’s perhaps one of my biggest worries, losing the wildlife. I appreciate that I am very lucky here to have such a variety that I never would’ve in other areas I’ve lived in. Of course it also now means I’m extra picky where I move to because I want to ensure there’s grass/wood/parkland nearby and that I’m not in the centre of a large estate and thus reducing any chance of much wildlife. If I’m completely honest, I’ll be happy not to have so many birds around… But then again, perhaps if I have none I’ll realise how much I miss them. At the moment I have far too many Sparrows, and I’d be happy not to have any. But they’re already on red lists because numbers are declining so much that really I should be thrilled we have such a thriving community here… It’s difficult to keep that in mind though when I spend far too much on seed for them and become tired of their faeces on my plants.

  6. Wonderful! And you are right, I really must get my act together on the erysium front, they are invaluable, and I now have a stable enough border to put them in too. I’ve seen my first butterflies (peacock), bees and ladybirds too – actually I’ve been seeing ladybirds on and off all winter, lurking in the buds of the witch hazel and in the fronds of the grasses, but they seem more perky now that the sun is out for longer and the background temperature is increasing. Congratulations on your early butterflies, may it be a bumper year for them!

    • Hi Janet,

      Lovely to hear you also have insect life – although it’s been quite chilly today here. Do you have any Peonies? Ladybird seem to love hiding in the old seed heads/buds on them… At least they do at my parent’s anyway…

      I’m sure you’ll soon have plenty of Erysimum 😉 remember, there are quite a few types. Although if I’m honest I don’t think I’ve ever seen any flutters on anything but bowles mauve. Hrm. Must take more notice this year.

  7. What a lucky day and a good sign for the year to come. Hope things warm up again there. The birds are starting to sing with a little more hope here in Pennsylvania, maybe spring will come our way too 🙂

  8. I spotted the first butterfly in my garden a few weeks back – I doubt it survived the cold snap on the following 2 days!
    Good to see so many visitors in your garden Liz – Erysimum struggles here in my garden but have recently been given a couple of cuttings which I’m hoping will do a wee bit better in the poorer soil in my front garden. Great shots as usual Liz, keep up the good work!

    • Hi Angie,

      Ooh, I assumed you’d be having nice weather up there like down here… Hadn’t realised that only parts of the UK was enjoying warm sun. Yesterday I had three Small Tortoiseshells and a Peacock, so it would seem they are still around. However today when I got home there wasn’t anything, but by then it had become grey and almost chilly…. I guess they decided to hide as the sun left.

      I’m surprised Erysimum doesn’t do well for you… I assume if it can survive on my heavy clay then it ought to survive anywhere really! Sometimes, some plants just don’t like us – Anemone for me. No matter how many I buy they just don’t like me.

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