Gardens and Butterflies 

David Attenborough is asking folk in the U.K. to help with a butterfly survey. The numbers of British butterflies seem to be going into a decline. There has been a lot of interest in gardening for wildlife and it was hoped that bees and butterflies could be recovering but there have been a range of factors affecting numbers and particular species.
Here are some of the butterflies I was fortunate enough to photograph at Navasola in May and June. I love the wild plants and flowers here and these seem to support a variety of wildlife but I have been delighted that my efforts in creating some small patches of garden have not only paid off with a range of flowers but also brought these beautiful butterflies close by.
Last year I was given some Sweet Williams by a friend nearby. These were planted last year and survived August heat and bloomed beautifully from the end of April to June. I hope these will self seed but I have collected seeds too. I may also be lucky and get a second show of flowers from the same plants next year. Seeing how these flowers have attracted a range of butterflies and bees means they are a must for any wildlife garden and nature lover.

Please let me know any hardy flowers that have attracted butterflies in your gardens and parks. Of course the eggs and larva also need very specific plants too and these are often wild ones that are seen as weeds. Enjoy!

Who is looking at who? A Cardinal in the Sierra Aracena.
A newly hatched Cardinal spreading its wings out to dry.
A fritillary we struggled to fully identify. Visited at same time as the Cardinal.
Swallowtail heaven!

A Meadow Brown keeping an eye on me!

All taken by me but with a LUMIX camera borrowed from my naturalist friend and artist.

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32 thoughts on “Gardens and Butterflies ”

  1. That’s beautiful. We need more flower and veggie gardens all around us to get bird life and insects back. I think so many people have distanced themselves from nature to the point of not realizing that we depend on these creatures to survive on the Planet. That’s a great project taking place, butterfly survey! Look forward to seeing more of your posts and photos.

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  2. Wonderful shots. Not too many butterflies here, so seeing yours is extra special. The deer eat my flowers, and the malathion from the mosquito control people keep all the flying critter populations low (but for birds, so far). As always, glad to see your post.

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    1. Yes, deer proofing is difficult and then there’s the other baddies. I don’t like mosquitos and can have allergic reactions. However malathion doesn’t seem good either. I wonder how much we have upset the equilibrium and whether there are more biodiversity friendly ways to manage such challenges. Good to hear from you and will catch up but I blame the current politics as I spend too much time following the news since our Brexit referendum and your Trump responses to draining swamps! Am also busy back and forwards to U.K. for various reasons and focusing on preparing my first novel to send to any willing agents. Good to hear from you.

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      1. Nava,
        Thanks for the response. My solution to the mosquito problem is to “drain the swamps,” literally, to destroy mosquito habitat, like William Gorgas did in the Panama Canal. We in Savannah have serious flooding problems because the “powers that be” can’t get it together to maintain drainage ditches or dredge river channels. That’s partly because there are three bureaucracies, at least, involved, and they have ongoing turf battles. They all want more funding, but none wants to do the work. Our drainage problem may be unique, but our bureaucratic tangles are universal.

        PS–I feed the deer. They may eat flowers, but they don’t eat butterflies.

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      2. Sounds like you need good wetlands management and agree the bureaucracy and tussles always ensure nothing gets solved. Deer are beautiful too! No mosquitos here at present, so dry but I could speak too soon! Take care.

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  3. They are amazing things, butterflies, aren’t they? I can’t say I’ve noticed a shortage of them, or of bees, in the gardens round about this year. Mostly just common whites and admirals, but that’s normal for here. 🙂

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  4. I wonder if there is a website that informs you what host plants are required for different species? I frequent one that has North American butterflies and moths, but it probably wouldn’t help you with European species.

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  5. You have some lovely photos of butterflies here, Georgina. Here, we have been seeing a few more butterflies than last year which was an awful year for them! This year has been warmer and sunnier than last year which probably has something to do with it. However, we don’t have a fraction of the moths and butterflies we had even 12 years ago!

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  6. Butterfly in the third photo looks to be a ‘Doncella de Ondas Rojas’ (Eurodryas/Euphydryas aurinia) – Marsh Fritillary in English? – quite common in Central Spain, don’t know about down South. Sometimes very beautiful with a vivid red and yellow colouring, though often somewhat duller orange tones..

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    1. That’s useful. In the book it was difficult to align place with patterns. I guess there can be variations and although we don’t have marshes we do have a lot of constant running streams and a lot of water underground. Or I hope a lot. The source of the Odiel is not far away!

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  7. Gorgeous Spanish butterflies – when I lived there one of the favourite summer wildflowers were thistles and scabious, as they are here. The most common fritillary we saw there too was the Marsh fritillary, so may be worth checking out.

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    1. Scabious is here but more June and July. Now manly wild carrot and yellow mullein. Thistles seem to have been and gone too. Plenty of bracken! So it is moist somewhere in the soil. Think Marsh fritillary is probably the one.

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