A Butterfly Diary: June


Black-veined White (Aporia crataegi, Baum-Weißling)

There have been so many butterflies this month – I was quite surprised! The same ones that were around all spring can still be seen – Common Brimstone, Cabbage White, etc. The one above, however, is one I have never seen before, and despite its wings looking slightly damaged I thought it was simply beautiful. Just recently my dear blogging friend Uta at Uta’s Flow posted a fascinating video of this butterfly emerging from its chrysalis – take a look here, and there are more photos here.


There have been so many Tortoiseshells this summer – all on the Centranthus and on some Lobelia I have in pots – which I was rather pleased about as I didn’t realize it attracted them. This is the Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae, Kleiner Fuchs)


They lay their eggs on nettles (hence the name “… urticae), and the adult butterflies feed on nectar from hundreds of garden plants, so leave a few nettles standing somewhere if you can. Those that overwinter fly from March to April here, and there are then probably another two generations in a year.

Occasionally they pause on the lavender, which highlights the blue fringe on the wings.



Another very frequent visitor this year is the Skipper – both small and large, although I’m not much good at telling the difference! I think this one is the Large Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanus, Rostfarbiger Dickkopffalter), and I have often seen it on the Lavender and Vetch, as well as the Centranthus. (This photo is on a singed fern leaf though!)…


And this one on a white Sweet William might be the Small Skipper (Thymelicus sylvestris, Braunkolbiger Braun-Dickkopffalter). Just look at that proboscis!


Both Skippers are quite small, only a 2-3 cm wingspan, and the larvae feed on many types of grasses. There are several other similar ones, so if any expert out there spots a mistake, please let me know!


 One of the loveliest and one of the largest butterflies we often see is the Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia, Kaisermantel)


I read that the caterpillars like violet leaves, of which we have plenty so that is good to know! This one was about 6cm across, and posed beautifully for me on the Acer, and then on the Lavender too. There’s some nice information about the caterpillars on the Wikipedia page here


(He was watching me carefully!)


The next one is a rarer visitor to my garden, although not an uncommon butterfly in Germany: the Marbled White (Melanargia galathea, Schachbrettfalter). The German name “Schachbrett” means chess board, describing the pattern quite aptly.


This one was attracted to the crown vetch (Securigera varia). It is more common here in the south of Germany than in the north or west, and prefers areas with chalky ground. Only one generation flies in a year, so the caterpillars overwinter and the butterflies are seen from June to August.


The Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta, Admiral) is one of the butterflies I remember seeing in abundance as a child on my Mum’s Buddleia. This smallish one (about 4-5 cm) looks as if he came through a storm.



Finally, for today, a Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus, Hauhechel Bläuling) which I also showed in last month’s Butterfly Diary.



I have also seen Hawk-moths galore over the last two weeks, and will include them in a post soon!


Update: 16th August 2014

I found this photo that I had forgotten to include of a Five-spot Burnet (Zygaena trifolii, Sumpfhornklee-Widderchen) and it will also be posted on my August 2014 Butterfly Diary.


It looks stunning on the lavender!


As I read up on all the butterflies for my butterfly diary each month I am becoming much more aware of which flowers and grasses in and around my garden are important for the wildlife.


Take a look in your garden.

Do you see any of these butterflies I have shown today? What has been visiting your plants this month?


Fun facts about butterflies #1

Fun facts about butterflies #2

Fun facts about butterflies #3

53 thoughts on “A Butterfly Diary: June

  1. Cathy, what absolutely stunning photographs! I am going to keep this page to look at again and again. I’d say the silver-washed Fritillary was simply posing for his close-up!

    • Thank you! That is such a lovely comment Susan. I think some butterflies just know how pretty they are and want to be admired close up! 😉

  2. Those are wonderful photos! Quite the butterfly variety too, I have only seen one butterfly this year so far I think. I miss them! Love the buggy eyes of the butterfly watching you- you can almost see its personality!

    • Only one butterfly? Oh dear, I do hope more turn up soon. I think the eyes are actually quite ugly, but the rest of the butterfly features make up for that. 😉

  3. Hey Cathy, I love your butterfly pictures, I saved a couple to use a the background screen saver on my laptop!! In the fourth picture, what is the name of the white flower with the purple dots in the center?

    • Well thank you Michael – glad you like the photos so much! The flower is a Sweet William (Dianthus barbatus). I used to have hundreds in different shades in the rockery, but only a few came up this year.

  4. Your photos are amazing and you have done an amazing job getting such a diverse variety of butterfly’s. It has taken me 4 years and now I have just three varieties that include the western yellow swallowtail.

  5. Hi Cathy, quiet a variety. In the wilderness I have seen some indivuals of Marble Whites. Skipper are all around. As the first Vanessa cardui have reached the north, the Silver-washed Fritillary has not been seen yet. Have a wonderful weekend! Uta

    • I have seen a few more yet to be identified or photographed, so hope the relatively stable weather continues and will try and catch them in July. Have a great weekend too Uta!

  6. What a wonderful selection of butterflies, we have quite a few of them too in the garden here, but they haven’t been around in numbers yet. We too have the lovely Silver Washed Fritillary, with plenty of violets for them!

    • The Cabbage Whites show up well among the darker flowers today… but there are still so many others. Far more than in previous years. And bees galore! The lavenders are humming!

  7. Great images and an equally great variety of butterflies. My favourite pic is the one of the marbled white. These days I’m creeping through the meadow at dawn as I feel it’s easy to shoot them early.

    • I can just see you now, camera in hand, tiptoeing through long grass covered in dew… I hope you manage to capture lots of beautiful creatures to share with us! A good idea too, as the butterflies are a little slower in the mornings (like me!) before it warms up.

    • I hope to see a swallowtail soon – not quite so common here. I can do without the whites too… and they are growing in number this month!

  8. Lovely pictures. Centranthus (red valerian) grows extensively around here (Devon). It was introduced from the Mediterranean many years ago and now grows where it can – it is seen in walls, on waste ground and in gardens and, yes, it does attract butterflies but not many bees. Perhaps the bees prefer other plants.

    • It spreads like mad here too, but I can’t imagine it becoming a problem. You’re right, I can see the bees are attracted to the lavender and just make an occasional detour to the Centranthus. The hawk moths love it as well as the butterflies.

  9. Amazing photos and a wonderful selection of butterflies. I love the Silver Washed Fritillary and the Marbled White. We have had loads of Small Tortoiseshell on the lavender hedge but it is great to see all your different ones.
    Great that you have so many bees and butterflies.

    • It’s always lovely to see a slightly larger butterfly like the Marbled White. The tortoiseshells are probably in the majority at the moment, but the skippers are also numerous and now the cabbage whites are multiplying too (unfortunately for my salad plants!). Hope you see a few different ones too – it’s a great surprise when something out of the ordinary puts in an appearance!

  10. Another wonderful butterfly post Cathy. Nice you had a new one visit your garden, the Black-veined White. I don’t recognize many of these but find them all beautiful. This year I’ve seen only a very few so far. Enjoy your weekend.

    • That’s sad news about your lack of butterflies. I wonder if the winter set back a lot of them. Hopefully they will turn up in July! 😉

    • Thanks Deb! It is such a calming activity watching them, just for a few minutes every day. They really do seem to float sometimes! 🙂

  11. What a productive month June has been! Excellent pictures. I thought of you the other day when I saw a new butterfly zipping around the garden. “How does she manage to get a clear shot!?” is what I thought 🙂

    • Well, patience is involved, but most of it has been luck this year! We’ve just had so many staying longer in the garden and not just passing through for a few moments. I have never before been able to get as many photos as this year. I think the lavender has been the main attraction. 🙂

  12. Gorgeous photos of the lovely butterflies visiting your garden. I’ve been noticing a lot around here lately too, they’re loving the lavender and seem very partial to Sweet William flowers.

    • It’s good to hear you have a lot visiting your garden too Andrea… so many people are saying they haven’t seen many butterflies this year. Yes, the lavender is a favourite, but I have also been considering getting a Buddleia just for the butterflies!

  13. You saw a lot this month and your images are great. I especially love the blues, there aren’t so many in my garden yet but I think they are usually most common in August.

    • Thanks Christina! I love the blues too – so pretty fluttering around. I’m still hoping to see a Swallowtail again this year AND get a photo of it!

  14. Each photo is more beautiful than the last! But my favorite is the Tortoise Shell on Lavender – the color contrast is phenomenal! Wonderful photography.

  15. Cathy, you have so many different butterflies! And each is really gorgeous, but I just love the Silver-washed Fritillary. I’ve never seen one before and it is spectacular. I think these lovely butterflies are testament to how diverse and gorgeous your flower garden really is. 🙂

    • Thanks Debra! I really do like to think I can put the variety of butterflies down to my choice of flowers, although I suspect the weather and surrounding meadows played a role ths year too! Have a lovely week!

  16. Fantastic photos, Cathy! I haven’t seen very many butterflies yet this year (maybe it’s been too cold?). I did see a Canadian tiger swallowtail a couple of days ago, but didn’t have my camera. The lilacs are still blooming here and I think they particularly like those flowers.

    • I would love to see a swallowtail this year… they are quite rare here. I want to plant a buddleia to attract a few more different ones later on. Hope you see some more soon!

  17. Pingback: Flowering Dogwood, Bachelor’s Buttons and a living fossil – the Garden in June | Philip Strange Science Writing

  18. Such a lot of beautiful butterflies and so wonderful photos, Cathy! My butterflies in June are mostly the same ones as yours: Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Marbled White, Silver-washed Fritillary, Großes Ochsenauge, Small Skipper for the first time and Achat-Eulenspinner for the first time too.
    I´ve never seen the beautiful Black-veined White – and no Swallowtail this month.
    Happy butterfly watching in July, Cathy!

  19. Pingback: A Butterfly Diary (July) | Words and Herbs

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