At the risk of boring you, the butterflies only flutter by after they have had a pit stop at the nectar bar in the front garden. The nectar bar I’m referring to is Eupatorium purpureum atropurpureum given to me by a friend as it grew too big for her garden, thank you Jill ! Right from it’s first year here it has been a magnet for bees and butterflies. Each year now it puts up more stems topped off with the huge pink flowers, at least 10 inches across, far larger than the ordinary Joe Pye Weed, opening from deep pink buds. When I got out of the car the other day, I stood mesmerised by all the butterflies and bees feeding on the flowers, it really was a feeding frenzy with more insects arriving all the time.
This is the area I’m talking about, looks pretty ordinary, nothing to get excited about, until you move in closer. The patch of Michaelmas daisy is a wild flower, blown in from I know not where, but the bees love it, it is always heaving with bees and flies.
One Tortoiseshell and bee.
One Red Admiral.
Tortoiseshell and Red Admiral.
Three Tortoiseshells and one Peacock.
And again, three Tortoiseshells and one Peacock.
Three Tortoiseshells, two Gatekeepers and one Peacock. One of the Gatekeepers is difficult to see as it has its wings closed facing towards us, but it is there!
These were all photographed in the space of 5 minutes. Standing there completely still, I was surrounded by bees and butterflies, coming and going, sometimes they were so close they were almost brushing against me. At one time I counted at least 15 tortoiseshells, but all on different flowerheads. There is a buddleia to the left, but this only had 3 or 4 butterflies on the whole bush at any one time, they definitely preferred the Eupatorium.