More Big Butterfly Counts for Butterfly Conservation, a Few Extra Rose Flowers, & Orchid Seed Pods!

More Big Butterfly Counts for Butterfly Conservation

I’ve been so busy this week, but whenever I’ve been able to get outside and take a 15 minute Big Butterfly Count – I have taken a break and made the most of this lovely chance to relax and observe butterflies.  I adore the Big Butterfly Count!  Every year I look forward to this event, as I find taking a Big Butterfly Count is inspiring and relaxing, and just such a wonderful thing to do.

The Big Butterfly Count 2023 closes on Sunday 6th August 2023 – please don’t miss out!  Here are the results of my Big Butterfly Counts, along with the pictures I’ve taken…..

My Big Butterfly Counts on 1st August 2023

I see so many Gatekeeper Butterflies in my new garden – this is the butterfly I see most often. Pictured on the 1st August 2023, during one of my Big Butterfly Counts for Butterfly Conservation.

I saw these butterflies and moths during my Big Butterfly Count in my garden on the 1st August 2023……..

  • 2 Comma Butterflies (Polygonia c-album)
  • 1 Gatekeeper Butterfly (Pyronia tithonus)
  • 1 Silver Y Moth (Autographa gamma)
This is the Silver Y Moth (also known by its scientific name, Autographa gamma) – a migratory moth that’s often seen at this time of year. Female Silver Y Moths lay their eggs on Bedstraws (Galium), Cabbages (Brassica oleracea), Clovers (Trifolium, Nettles (Urtica dioica), and Peas (Pisum sativum).

These pretty mint flowers have attracted large numbers of butterflies to my garden.  The flowers are small but they are very popular with butterflies, moths, bees, hoverflies, and other pollinating insects.  For more information about the mint plants I’ve grown, please click here.

Here’s another shot of the same Silver Y Moth (Autographa gamma) showing the moth’s wings from a different angle. As I was taking this picture a hoverfly flew in to investigate this flower. This plant is mint – a delicious herb with fantastic flowers for butterflies, moths, hoverflies, bees, and other pollinating insects.

I saw these butterflies during my second Big Butterfly Count in my garden on the 1st August 2023……..

  • 4 Gatekeeper Butterflies (Pyronia tithonus)
  • 2 Large White Butterflies (Pieris brassicae)
The weather has been cooler and wetter than usual. It has also been very windy this week, making it very challenging to take pictures of butterflies! I was grateful for the sunshine whilst I took this Big Butterfly Count on the 1st August 2023. Mint flowers are always popular with butterflies, this Gatekeeper Butterfly (Pyronia tithonus) stopped to refuel with nectar. I am growing all of my mint plants in containers of peat-free compost.
Silver Y Moths can be seen on the wing during the daytime and at night. Silver Y Moths’ caterpillar food plants include Bedstraws (Galium), Cabbages (Brassica oleracea), Clovers (Trifolium), Nettles (Urtica dioica), and Peas (Pisum sativum). This Silver Y Moth spent sometime feasting upon the nectar from this mint flower.

My Big Butterfly Count on 2nd August 2023

This area of brambles attracts so many butterflies, moths, bees, hoverflies, wasps, beetles, and other insects. I spotted this Gatekeeper Butterfly, whilst I was taking a Big Butterfly Count for Butterfly Conservation on the 2nd August 2023.

I saw these butterflies and moths during my second Big Butterfly Count in my garden on the 2nd August 2023……..

  • 4 Gatekeeper Butterflies (Pyronia tithonus)
  • 2 Large White Butterflies (Pieris brassicae)
  • 1 Least Carpet Moth (Idaea rusticata)
  • 1 Meadow Brown Butterfly (Maniola jurtina)
This female Large White Butterfly (also known by the scientific name, Pieris brassicae) paused for a moment to rest on the Hibiscus whilst I was taking my Big Butterfly Count for Butterfly Conservation on 2nd August 2023.
I spotted this Least Carpet Moth (also known by its scientific name, Idaea rusticata) whilst I was taking a Butterfly Count in my garden on the 2nd August 2023. The caterpillar food plants for the Least Carpet Moth include Ivy (Hedera helix) and a Clematis known by the common name, Traveller’s Joy (Clematis vitalba).
Gatekeeper Butterflies (also known by their scientific name, Pyronia tithonus) are often seen by hedges and in long grass. This butterfly species’ other common name is the Hedge Brown but I stick to calling it the Gatekeeper, as this name is more widespread. The Gatekeeper Butterfly caterpillars’ food plants are grasses, including bents (Agrostis), fescues (Festuca), meadow-grasses (Poa), and Common Couch (Elytrigia repens).
This female Large White Butterfly (also known by the scientific name, Pieris brassicae) enjoyed resting on these brambles (also known by the botanical name, Rubus fruticosus) whilst I was taking my Big Butterfly Count for Butterfly Conservation on 2nd August 2023. White Butterflies can evade detection by predators by resting on brambles, as usually the underside of the bramble’s older leaves are white and there are often one or two leaves that have been blown, brushed past or turned the wrong way up and are showing their pale underbelly.
This Meadow Brown Butterfly was enjoying drinking nectar from these Hibiscus flowers, whilst I was taking my Big Butterfly Count for Butterfly Conservation on the 2nd August 2023. Meadow Brown Butterfly Caterpillar food plants include a wide range of grasses including Bents (Agrostis), Fescues (Festuca), Meadow grasses (Poa), Cock’s- Foot (Dactylis glomerata), Downy Oat-grass (Helictotrichon pubescens), and False Brome (Brachypodium sylvaticum).
This Hibiscus was already in the garden when I moved here. I think it’s Hibiscus syriacus ‘Marina’.

My Big Butterfly Count on 3rd August 2023

It was a delight to spot this pair of Common Blue Butterflies (also known by their scientific name, Polyommatus icarus) mating whilst I was taking a Big Butterfly Count for Butterfly Conservation on the 3rd August 2023. If you want to help these butterflies you could grow nectar rich plants with accessible flowers and grow plants for the caterpillars to eat. The main food plant for Common Blue Butterfly caterpillars is Common Bird’s-foot-trefoil (Lotus corniculatus). Other plants include: Greater Bird’s-foot-trefoil (Lotus pedunculatus), Black Medick (Medicago lupulina), Common Restharrow (Ononis repens), White Clover (Trifolium repens), Lesser Trefoil (Trifolium dubium).

The Big Butterfly Count I took on the 3rd August 2023 was my favourite so far this year.  I saw these butterflies and moths during my Big Butterfly Count on my village green, on the 3rd August 2023……..

  • 4 Gatekeeper Butterflies (Pyronia tithonus)
  • 2 Large White Butterflies (Pieris brassicae)
  • 2 Common Blue Butterflies (Polyommatus icarus)
  • 2 Red Admiral Butterflies (Vanessa atalanta)
  • 1 Meadow Brown Butterfly (Maniola jurtina)
  • 1 Small Copper Butterfly (Lycaena phlaeas)
  • 1 Yellow Shell Moth (Camptogramma bilineata)
I was absolutely thrilled to see this Small Copper butterfly (also known by its scientific name, Lycaena phlaeas) whilst I was taking a Butterfly Count on 3rd August 2023.
This is a female Large White Butterfly, (also known by the scientific name, Pieris brassicae). Pictured during my Big Butterfly Count for Butterfly Conservation on the 3rd August 2023.
I spotted this female Meadow Brown Butterfly (also known by its scientific name, Maniola jurtina) resting in amongst the grass on the 3rd August 2023.
I discovered this Yellow Shell Moth (also known by its scientific name, Camptogramma bilineata) during my Big Butterfly Count for Butterfly Conservation on the 3rd August 2023. This moth’s caterpillar food plants include, Bedstraws, Cleavers, Chickweed, Dandelions, Docks, Sea Wormwood, and Sorrel.

Remember to Submit Your Big Butterfly Count Results & Share the Results with Butterfly Conservation

If you’re taking a Big Butterfly Count, please don’t forget to submit your results to Butterfly Conservation’s website.  Butterfly Conservation will use your Big Butterfly Count results to discover how the UK’s butterflies are faring this summer.  Butterfly Counts are fun but this is really important information that can help Butterfly Conservation’s experts monitor butterflies across the UK and develop methods to help create a brighter future for butterflies.

Butterfly Conservation ask that anyone who wishes to take part in this year’s Butterfly Count, records their sightings and sends the results in to their butterfly and moth experts, who will study the findings to evaluate the growth or decline of our British butterflies and moths.

Orchid Seed Pods

Do you remember the Common Spotted Orchid (also known by its botanical name, Dactylorhiza fuchsii) I found growing in my garden?  This orchid’s flowers have now faded and my plant is now developing seed pods, which is very exciting!

I took part in Plantlife’s No Mow May and Let it Bloom June. I’ve still not cut the grass in my garden yet – I am waiting until September. Before I moved here the grass was cut every week for years, and no orchids were seen in the garden. I was over the moon when I spotted a single Common Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii) in amongst the grasses. My Common Spotted Orchid is now developing seed pods. I hope these seeds will germinate and produce plants that will bloom in three or four years’ time.

Rosa ‘Peach Melba®’ in Flower

My new garden is more exposed than my old garden; the wind feels like it has been particularly strong this year. This ‘Peach Melba®’ rose has lovely, healthy shiny foliage.

Earlier this year, Roses UK sent me the winner of The Rose of the Year Competition 2023 – the ‘Peach Melba®’ rose.  My ‘Peach Melba®’ rose’s second flush of flowers are just past their peak now.

I plan to make this climbing rose an obelisk to twirl the stems around, but I’ve not got anything I can use to make an obelisk at the moment.  This rose is growing in a container filled with peat-free compost.

My ‘Peach Melba®’ rose has just come into bloom for the second time this summer. Pictured on the 1st August 2023.

The growing media blend I made up for my ‘Peach Melba®’ rose is comprised of….

  • Four parts SylvaGrow® with added John Innes mixed with
  • Four parts SylvaGrow® John Innes No.3 (Peat-free) For Mature Plants
  • Two parts Dalefoot Double Strength Wool Compost – added as a top layer.

We purchased all of these composts from our local garden centres.  I opted to use a growing media blend I made from four parts SylvaGrow® with added John Innes mixed with four parts SylvaGrow® John Innes No.3 (Peat-free) For Mature Plants.  Rosa ‘Peach Melba®’ was then planted in my planter with a mix of these two growing mediums and finished off with an upper layer and mulch of Dalefoot Double Strength Wool Compost.  This is a rich, concentrated compost that will form a long-lasting feed for my rose.  Adding powerful nutrient-rich compost as a top layer allows the fertiliser to travel through the growing media to the plant’s roots; this provides my plant with a lasting and effective fertiliser throughout spring, summer, and autumn months.  My rose hasn’t received any other fertiliser.

I just popped out into the garden to take this picture for you and to take a moment to enjoy the scent of these Rosa ‘Peach Melba® flowers. This rose has a light, fruity fragrance.

If you’re interested in this rose, you’ll find more information about Rosa ‘Peach Melba®’ in this post.

We’ve received a lot of rain recently, which has contributed to the dark speckling on the petals of this old Rosa ‘Peach Melba® flower.

To read more about growing caterpillar food plants for butterflies and moths, please click here.

To find out more about my favourite mint plants, please click here.

To see all of my Big Butterfly Counts for Butterfly Conservation, please click here.

For gardening advice for August, please click here.

For more articles about wildlife gardening, please click here.

Other articles you might like:

One thought on “More Big Butterfly Counts for Butterfly Conservation, a Few Extra Rose Flowers, & Orchid Seed Pods!

  1. Roberta Goodey

    August 4, 2023 at 7:05pm

    We too are lucky enough to have an area of the spotted common orchid. Can you please advise how we collect the seed?

    • Author

      Pumpkin Beth

      August 6, 2023 at 7:39am

      Hello Roberta

      How lovely to have an area of spotted orchids in your garden. The seeds won’t be ripe yet – they need to ripen on the plant. Avoid touching the seed pod or the seeds. Orchid seeds are difficult to sow – you have a greater chance of success if you allow them to self seed in the same area – as there will be the particular species of fungi they need for germination and the right growing conditions.

      Best wishes
      Beth

Your email will not be published. Name and Email fields are required