Monday, 25 October 2010

Butterflies and Buddleia

Winter in Redesdale last year started earlier, lasted longer and was more severe than most in recent memory. So when spring eventually stirred, I couldn't help but feel just a little relief.

Happily, the four buddleia bushes in my garden had survived the winter and were starting to produce new shoots. They were little more than rooted twigs, throw-aways from a neighbour's garden, when I had planted them five years before. But as time passed they matured, flowered beautifully in purple or white and, just as well-behaved buddleias should, attracted lots of butterflies (as described here in one of two pieces published in August, 2009)

Then one night, when the new growth was coming along nicely, the temperature plummeted to -12 and shrivelled it all. At first I thought the frost had killed the bushes entirely, but as spring moved on, they recovered and new growth returned, mainly from the base of each bush.

This said, they certainly flowered later than in previous years, and as a result were still attracting butterflies during the few mild days we enjoyed at the start of October. Here are two of those late visitors ...

Red Admiral (Vanessa atlanta)

Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae)

10 comments:

Roy said...

Two very beautiful images Emma.

Brian Robson said...

Glad to hear they survived Emma great plants for butterflys and bees.

I saw a single Red Admiral t the coast yesterday, it will probably be the last of the year for me.

ADRIAN said...

You always manage such great depth of field. I look forward to your butterflies and moths.

holdingmoments said...

They are a surprisingly tough plant Emma.
Two lovely pictures, but the Red Admiral just steals it for me.

Phil said...

I surprised at how hardy red admirals are, Emma. I have a yellow-flowered Buddleia x weyeriana still in flower in my garden and there were still red admirals feeding on it at the weekend, although Sunday night's frost may have finished them off....

Emma Anderson said...

Many thanks Roy, Brian, Adrian, Keith and Phil for your kind comments. To Keith and to Phil I would say that I am pleased that Buddleias are tough plants; I would have been very disappointed to have lost the ones in my garden.

kirstallcreatures said...

They are pretty robust shrubs aren't they Emma. There are a lot of buddleia growing on the rooftops of buildings in Leeds City Centre, an indication of how they can thrive with little resources. Lovely sharp pics of the Red Admiral and Small Tortoiseshell.
Linda

Midmarsh John said...

That was interesting. My established buddleia flowered early and then faded when before the butterflies arrived we reached a long dry spell.

Two beautiful pristine flutters there.

Emma Anderson said...

Thank you Linda and John for your comments.

A. Lee Firth said...

Buddleias are pretty much indestructible, I'm amazed at the places I see them growing and flourishing.

I hack mine back to ground level every autumn, otherwise it would take over the entire garden.