More summer visitors arriving every day.

While we have been having all our lovely hot sunshine, more and more butterflies have been arriving in the garden. Some I have been able to photograph, some are too skittish and fly away as soon as I get near them. We had Orange Tips and Brimstones earlier in the year and a few weeks ago had Common Blue and Holly Blue, but no photographs unfortunately. I’ll start with our friend from the Channel Islands, the Jersey Tiger Moth.

This is the third year on the run that we have seen the Jersey Tiger Moth here, so I’m thinking it must like it here and maybe is laying its eggs here.

Jersey Tiger moth

Jersey Tiger Moth

You can see the long proboscis being used, just like having a built in straw to suck the nectar.

Jersey Tiger Moth

The white buddleia is certainly a favourite with the butterflies too, the perfume is so much stronger than all the others.

Jersey Tiger Moth

Today is the first time this year that I have seen this one, I’m hoping it will stay around for a bit, but the remnants of Hurricane Bertha are on the way unfortunately, with strong winds and lashings of rain!

Tortoise shell butterfly

There are lot and lots of Tortoiseshell butterflies.

Tortoise shell on Verbana

Verbana bonariensis isn’t visited as much as the white buddleia, this is one of the few times that I’ve seen a butterfly on it.


And lots and lots of Peacock butterflies, once more on the white Buddleia.


We are almost over run with Gatekeeper butterflies, they are everywhere. We have to be careful when crossing the grass as they are down there too. Eupatorium or Joe Pye weed is also favoured by the bees and butterflies, we have a bit where they have self seeded, so they are left for the wildlife to enjoy.


Tortoise shell

Three Tortoiseshells on a purple buddleia for a change.

Tortoiseshell on Eupatorum

In the front, in the bee and butterfly border is a cultivated Eupatorium perpurium atroperpurium, I hope I’ve got it’s name correct! This plant was given to me by a friend as it grew too big for her garden, I’m so glad she passed it on to me as every summer it is absolutely covered with bees and butterflies, I would say that this is the number one plant for them.

Peacock and tortoiseshell

Yes, I know, I have some lovely bindweed! As soon as the butterflies flew away, I disentangled the poor buddleia! A Tortoiseshell and Peackock feeding happily together.

Red Admiral

A red admiral butterfly, we have lots of very ragged ones, maybe it is a bit early for the new batch yet.


Another Gatekeeper.


Red Admiral

And another Red Admiral to finish. All these have been seen today, so I’m hoping that there is still time to see the Silver Washed Fritillary, the Comma, the Ringlet and the Small Skipper that usually visit us over the summer months. Have your colourful summer visitors arrived with you?



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32 Responses to More summer visitors arriving every day.

  1. Sigrun says:

    Wonderful! I have never seen a butterfly like the first one, the others we have also in our garden!


    • Pauline says:

      The first one Sigrun, is a daytime flying Moth, which also lives in the north of France and the Channel Islands, I think it is only found near the south coast of England.

  2. rusty duck says:

    The Tiger moth is a beauty. You’re lucky to have it, the range is quite restricted I think. You’ve made me feel a whole lot better now, seeing your bindweed. Good luck with Bertha. It seems that, as ever, the South West is on the front line.

    • Pauline says:

      My butterfly and moth book tells me that in England it is just on the south coast. We are about 10 miles inland, how far are you from the coast, I would have thought you would have it too? I just wish I had noticed the bindweed before I took the photo!
      Yes, its time to batten down the hatches and wait for Bertha, hope she doesn’t cause anyone too much damage.

  3. Chloris says:

    Lovely butterfly shots, Pauline. The Jersey Tiger Moth is so beautiful, I have never seen anything like it. But what a wonderful year it is for butterflies. They are a constant source of delight. I saw a Speckled Wood butterfly in the garden this afternoon. That was a first here.
    I’ m not keen on Buddleia but it is worth growing it for the butterflies.

    • Pauline says:

      When the Tiger Moth opens it’s wings Chloris, the under wings are bright red! We usually have lots of Speckled Woods with the little bit of woodland that we have, but none seemed to be flying today, unfortunately.
      I agree, it has been a good year for butterflies, peaking at the moment, we have so many fluttering around the garden. I wouldn’t be without my buddleias, especially the white one.

  4. Cathy says:

    You are indeed well blessed, Pauline, and well done for managing to get photos of them – surprisingly we have have had few in the garden this year, don’t know why 🙁

    • Pauline says:

      I would have thought that you would have had plenty of butterflies Cathy, with all the hot sunshine we’ve been having. In the past few weeks though we have had loads of butterflies, but so far, fewer varieties. Hopefully the rest will catch up soon.

  5. Cathy says:

    I’m so pleased to hear that you have so many butterflies this year Pauline! I’m convinced that every little oasis helps them, and your garden certainly is one! I have seen a Jersey Tiger Moth here before, maybe 2 years ago, but none this year yet. Lovely pictures of it. Otherwise your butterflies are very similar to what we are seeing here at the moment. Hope you get to see the Comma or Fritillary. It’s always such a thrill to see the larger ones flying. 🙂

    • Pauline says:

      Today Cathy, we have the remains of hurricane Bertha, not good butterfly weather, with all the rain and high winds, so I don’t think I will see any today, unfortunately.
      There’s still time to see the more unusual butterflies, I think it was September last year before we saw them, in the meantime, I will just enjoy the ones that we already have.

  6. Alain says:

    Very interesting pictures as of course most are different from ours on the other side of the Atlantic (but we share at least the Red Admiral). To my knowledge, we have nothing that looks like the Jersey Tiger Moth.
    Here in the garden, I especially like the Hemaris which you also have. We call them hummingbird moths and I read that you call them bee hawk-moths.

    • Pauline says:

      Are you on the migration path Alain, for the Monarch Butterfly, they are so beautiful? We have the Hummingbird Hawk Moth which we sometimes see in the garden here, but you have made me realise that we haven’t seen one for about 4 or 5 years, I wonder why?

  7. I am sooo jealous! I hardly get any butterflies here despite growing things that they like. I do get lots and lots of bees, though, so can’t be doing things too wrong. The only ones I have seen this year have been cabbage white – well, to be honest, that is the only one I recognise anyway! I think I must make room for a Buddleia, though – I like the idea of a white one too. I did put in a dwarf one last year, but so far it hasn’t flowered.
    Great photos of the Jersey Tiger Moth – isn’t it spectacular?

    • Pauline says:

      I think Annette, that you get some different butterflies up where you are, that only live in the north of the UK.
      I have found the white buddleia to be the best for attracting the butterflies, the Eupatorum has masses of bees and butterflies, so is good for both and I have a patch of wild Michaelmas daisies which is just teeming with all sorts of varieties of bees.
      The Jersey tiger Moth is even more spectacular when it flies and shows its red underwing, it just wouldn’t co-operate yesterday!

  8. You have done your fluttery visitors proud with your nectar-rich plants Pauline, and you’ve certainly convinced me to find room for a eupatorium of some description again. I am too fed up of dealing with buddleia seedlings to plant one of my own. Fantastic photographic record too, though I am glad to hear I am not the only one to fail to capture some of the smaller, more elusive butterflies. That
    Jersey Tiger Moth is amazing.

    • Pauline says:

      I would recommend a hybrid of the Eupatorium Janet, the wild one seeds around far worse than any buddleia! I have only had one seedling buddleia and as it turned out to be white, it was allowed to stay. I have to admit that I am always deadheading them, mainly so that they keep on flowering , but also to stop them from going to seed.
      To have the Jersey Tiger Moth visiting three years running, I think I must be doing something right, it can’t be the same one!

  9. Frank says:

    Hold tight for Bertha!
    Your pictures came out great, I tried to get a few yesterday but everything was blurry or just clicked as the butterfly lifted off!
    The white butterfly weed is also very popular here, but I just don’t like how the brown faded blooms start to fill up the bush. Zinnias have been making the butterflies happy too, as well as the verbena.

    • Pauline says:

      So far Frank, Bertha hasn’t been as bad as we were led to believe, compared to the rest of the country, we got off pretty lightly, thank goodness.
      I’m having to deadhead the buddleias nearly every day, especially the white one, but it’s worth it to have so many butterflies flitting round the garden.

  10. Liz says:

    Hi Pauline,

    Lovely to see so many butterflies, and I’m pleased you’ve had Blues as I’ve heard some others that they don’t seem to be doing too well this year. So far I haven’t seen any Holly Blues when normally I would… Hopefully there’s still time yet to see some.

    I too rarely see butterflies on v bonariensis. If anything they seem to prefer other verbenas. I think generally they have a hierarchy of blooms they like, and if they’re not available then they go to the next ones down.

    • Pauline says:

      Just last week Liz, I saw a Holly Blue, right in the centre of Exeter, where there was a lot of holly and ivy, so I imagine it would be very happy.
      I think V bonariensis is third on the list of butterflies preferred flowers, it doesn’t seem as popular where buddleia and eupatorium are grown.
      There is still plenty of time to see the ones that have been missing so far, as long as the weather holds.

  11. Enviable amounts of butterflies Pauline.

  12. pbmgarden says:

    Such smart butterflies to choose your lovely garden to visit. It’s nice to see such a broad variety Pauline–very few in my little patch this year.

    • Pauline says:

      I think they enjoy all the different varieties of flowers that I provide for them Susie. We are lucky in having the woodland as we get butterflies that live in woodland as well as the usual ones that like gardens. Also some like long grass to lay their eggs and there is plenty of that in the field next door, the adults then pop over the fence for a quick drink of nectar.

  13. Helle (Helen) says:

    Wonderful all your butterflies. Last week I saw a saw Jersey Tiger for the first time, not in my garden, though. Sadly, there are hardly any butterflies in this part of the country apart from cabbage whites ; -), gatekeepers and, well, swallowtails. They breed on my fennel plants. But it is sad that there are so few other butterflies. But then, when I go for walks I wonder where would they live and feed? Everything is cleared and cleaned up to within an inch of its life. But, I’ve got lots of ivy and some holly, so maybe the Holly Blue will show up here.

    • Pauline says:

      Helle how fantastic that you have Jersey Tiger Moths as well! The only swallowtails that we have here are in the SE corner of England where they pop over from the continent, unfortunately they don’t come down to Devon, but with global warming, who knows?
      The butterflies certainly like rough patches to lay their eggs, fortunately I have a few corners that are left wild for the wildlife!

  14. Peter/Outlaw says:

    Butterflies are the flying flowers of our gardens. So glad that you’ve had so many happy customers in your garden this season. I’ve not seen as many as usual here but our hummingbird numbers seem to be higher than usual and we now have bats visiting the garden each evening.

    • Pauline says:

      That is so true Peter, a lovely way of putting it! Hummimgbirds are so beautiful, I wish we had them over here. We do have bats though, little Pipistrelles which zoom round the house at dusk and I’m sure they carry on during the night too. We have also seen a very large on during the daytime, but haven’t been able to identify it yet.

  15. Christina says:

    Perfect images, Pauline. You have so many different butterflies this year. I’ve seen that first moth here in the past years but not this year. Our cooler summer has meant less butterflies for us. Interesting though that all the butterflies you see in your garden I see here too; their ranges are very large aren’t they?

    • Pauline says:

      I have just photographed the Jersey Tiger Moth on the Eupatorium Christina, I don’t know if it was the same one or not. It was quite happy feeding amongst all the Tortoiseshells, but certainly stood out in its black and white outfit!
      I think we are just about on the limit northwards for some of the butterflies that we get, you don’t find some of them further north.

  16. Tistou says:

    Wonderful post. I like your enthusiasm about butterflies, it shows in many of your entries! We seem to have many common butterflies but no Jersy Tiger Moths in Estonia. I also love bees and butterflies and try to garden for them as much as possible. I have some flowerbeds dedicated to bees and butterflies entirely! You might like some of the post in my blog. 😉

    • Pauline says:

      Hi Tistou, lovely to hear from you! You sound very much like me, planting flowers to bring the bees and butterflies into your garden. I will certainly pay your blog a visit to see your garden!

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