The Butterfly Bed, October 2019

This time last year I started planting up my brand new flower bed. A year on it looks like it has been there forever. πŸ™‚ Β It has been amazing all summer, despite the drought, and with some welcome rain in the autumn it has continued to attract butterflies until today.

We have had no end of Painted Ladies all summer in all sizes and some very pale and washed out but with exactly the same markings as this bright one pictured above. The German name ‘Distelfalter’ – Thistle Butterfly – reveals its favourite plant, and we have plenty of them both in and around the garden! It has enjoyed the Verbena bonariensis, Buddleia and Cosmos especially.

Another butterfly was caught with my camera the other day. I thought it was a Silver Washed Fritillary, but now think it may have been a Queen of Spain Fritillary. In any case it also loved the Verbena. πŸ™‚

I have also seen Great Tits eating the Verbena seeds, which surprised me.

There are four Buddleias which I think attract the butterflies most in summer, but they are practically over now. Currently it is the Aster that is grabbing all the attention in this bed – not only that of the bees, hoverflies etc, but mine too!

Aster pringlei ‘Pink Star’ is leaning at a rather odd angle I’m afraid, as a storm in September threatened to topple it completely and it was propped up as best I could without damaging it. The butterflies – especially Peacocks – have been visiting regardless, and the bees love it!

Geranium ‘Rozanne’ has just got better and better since the heatwave in July which caused it to stop flowering almost completely. The little Achillea next to it is a relatively new addition. It is called ‘Pomegranate’ which describes the colour pretty well. Although we have wild Achillea all over the garden, the ones planted in the flower beds have not thrived, so I am hoping this one will do better.

Here is a wider view of both Pink Star and Rozanne.

Mmmm… Miscanthus!

It is one of my favourite plants! This is ‘Adagio’, chosen because I grew it in the old garden and it is a relatively compact one. I have planted other Miscanthus, but they need another year or two to get established it seems. Adagio must be a strong one to have done so well in such a short space of time. The Gaura in front of it in this photo was planted in spring and will probably not get through the winter, but it has been a wonderful splash of pink here all year. (18th Nov: Correction! This pink one in the photo is actually Miscanthus ‘Red Chief’ and Adagio is next to it…)

Finally, the hardy Scabiosa (S. caucasica ‘Perfection Blue’) which I grew from seed have flowered on and off all summer and already set seed with new plants appearing. The flowers are about 8-10cm across, and such a beautiful shade of blue… I really recommend this plant!

So, all in all it has been a good year for the Butterfly Bed. Next year I will try harder to get photos of the other butterflies visiting.

Have you had many butterflies this year? Which was most common? I would also love to hear what plants you grow for attracting butterflies.

Wishing you all a wonderful Sunday and a great week. Thanks for visiting!


43 thoughts on “The Butterfly Bed, October 2019

  1. It is amazing how much it has grown and filled in. Looks great! Like you, I love asters and they attract pollinators like crazy. Mine are mostly done now with a few late blooms here and there. Early in the season, we get a lot of Eastern Tiger Swallowtails and Skippers. Later on, we had a lot of migrating Painted Ladies and Monarchs (it was a promising year for them), but sadly, not so many Frittilaries, of which we used to see many. I have lots of violets, their host plants, but not sure why I’m not seeing adults. I’m hoping it is just a down cycle and they will rebound.

  2. Ooh, forgot to mention my favorite flowers for pollinators. Zinnias are a huge attraction, so I always grow those. Phlox and Echinacea are well attended. The bees love poppies, globe thistle, sunflowers and alliums, as well as flowering herbs.

    • Thanks Eliza. I want to grow phlox next summer too. In the old garden it was always eaten by slugs before it got going, but it might stand a chance here. πŸ™‚ Strangely enough I never saw a butterfly on my Zinnia. So many bees though, which was quite heartwarming with all the talk of our insect population decreasing. πŸ™‚

  3. Oh your new bed has certainly bedded in well Cathy. You and the pollinators must both be delighted with it. We has the usual butterfly visitors with one welcome addition – an explosion of delightful Painted Ladies. Your miscanthus caught my eye – what a glorious shade!

  4. Everything still looks so lush and you obviously live somewhere much warmer than I do. Most all of my flowers have given up the ghost, and been pulled from the garden. It’s sad to see them go, but there is something I like about a tidied up garden.
    Our butterflies have left also for warmer climates. But I still see an occasional bee, and that is always a joyful thing.

    • Well, I am beginning to see my flowers losing strength now here as well Cindy, and some annuals were pulled out this morning. I always leave it as late as possible to cut down any plants that might suffer if it snows on them, but planting spring bulbs is my next priority anyway. We still have a few butterflies today. πŸ™‚

    • Hi John. The garden is definitely starting to shrink back this week and autumn jobs are on the agenda. But there are still plenty of flowers, albeit a little tatty around the edges! πŸ˜‰

  5. The butterfly bed is looking beautiful and I am very comforted that the flowers will be being enjoyed by the bees as well as the butterflies – they are very good at sharing :). .We get scabious wild here but your caucasica looks like a great addition to the garden. Amelia

  6. Cathy your photos with butterflies and a bee are magnificent and divine. Due to the fateful circumstances of this year, I have not been able to enjoy my country house and I have not been able to see butterflies. I love your Butterfly Bed. Miscanthus with pink Gaura is a divine combination. I like the Aster very much. I hope your Achillea granada thrives because it has a wonderful color. To my Lavandula angustifolia the butterflies were going to eat a lot, and withstand the snowfall and the cold very well. Cathy enjoy your Fall colors around you and have a happy week. Greetings from Margarita.

    • Thanks Margarita. I do hope you can spend more time in the country next summer and enjoy butterflies and bees too. Yes, lavender is a good plant for them, and very tough too. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you. I’ll be cutting down a few things tomorrow, as damp autumn mornings with fog and mist are taking their toll. Bulb planting should finally get started too. πŸ™‚

        • I should follow that up, although you probably have more time to get them planted than me… most of mine are in but the last back-breaking lot is still sitting in a box and frosty mornings are standard now! Maybe tomorrow… πŸ˜‰

  7. Your butterfly bed is simply gorgeous, Cathy! I’m sure you’ve enjoyed it with so many beautiful visitors! I have a full summer of monarch butterflies, and just yesterday I took photos of a butterfly I have yet to identify. If I hadn’t been looking out the window at just that time, I’d have missed it Isn’t it wonderful when we know we’ve provided an enticing environment. πŸ™‚

    • Absolutely. So many people in nearby towns are complaining they don’t see many butterflies but we have had masses out here in the countryside, including a new one for us too. Most of ours are a lot smaller then your Monarchs, but every one no matter what size or colour is welcome here! πŸ˜‰

  8. You are right, it looks like the garden has been planted for years…congratulations it is lovely. I especially like the caucasica β€˜Perfection Blue’ as it is such a pretty color.

  9. Oh, I just stopped for the flowers. I don’t try to attract butterflies. My former neighborhood was known as Monarch Grove because so many monarch butterflies swarmed to the blue and red gums there.

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