The bees are working overtime as a chill spreads over September and winter downtime looms for them. So busy are they that there is competition for individual flowers – even though there are more than enough to go round. Bumbles were out in force yesterday, and there are still butterflies around, mainly tiny Small Coppers and Whites of different sizes.
We’ve done a quick assessment of plant popularity this spring and summer that produces this league table:
- Hyssop – the runaway winner for bees of many types, ditto butterflies and (new entry) moths. Planted for the first time in May, and has effortlessly thrived (throve? thriven?) to become Nectar Central.
- Lavender – perennial success with bees and butterflies. More planted this spring and very well visited.
- Cosmos – new to the garden this year, a fast and easy grower, and hugely popular with bees, especially bumbles. Also visited by honey bees and butterflies, but only on their way the the hyssop.
Blurry, I know, but the intruder arrived from nowhere as I pressed the button… Why it didn’t land on one of several vacant flowers next to this one, I have no idea. Maybe fighting drunk on pollen?
Putting aside thoughts of a ‘Two Ronnies’ sketch about policemen in Dorchester, the small copper referred to is a butterfly I photographed yesterday. I only had a tiny old Canon with me (hello, ‘Two Ronnies’ Church Dignitaries sketch), with its ‘battery dying’ light flashing and no charger to hand. So these pics are the best I could get in a hurry…
It’s been a remarkable late summer for butterflies and moths, with many species I have never seen / noticed before – including this little one. It’s possibly because we planted some hyssop in early May that has flourished. At any given time of day, there have been 3 or 4 butterfly species (mostly Red Admirals, Peacocks, Tortoiseshells and Whites); a couple of moth brands; 3 or 4 bumblebee types (mostly white-tailed and carders); and varied honeybees of indeterminate make. Apart from a white buddleia, we have never had a plant that has been so attractive to flying creatures. Even the flycatchers have enjoyed it.
HYSSOP, WITH VERY PRETTY SMALL BEE [ID welcomed via ‘Comments’]
SMALL COPPER BUTTERFLY