The Large White Butterfly dating 'n mating

There's a whole lot of mating going on!

It appears another male is coming in! Making three?

Butterflies mate facing in opposite directions with their
abdomens attached.

With mating, males mate numerous times during their
short lives.

Most females mate only once.

Watching butterflies mating singles the beginning of the end
for adult butterflies.


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This isn't the first egg I've found buried whole in my planters!

It's the work of a fox, who being very dexterous can handle, bury and dig up eggs without breaking them.

I'm just glad I didn't break into it with the trowel!

Where on earth it's finding the eggs .. but there's evidence to be found around the garden.

There's no farm nearby, or who keeps chickens? .. a neighbour must be putting them out especially for the opportunist thief.

It stores them away for the next time it's hungry.

I wonder where it's next cache will be found?



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.. berries

.. grasses

.. seedheads



Forecast for today .. blustery with rain.



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Monty Don said on Gardener's World this evening that he's been pleased with how his Dahlias have done this year, and so have I.

The one above is Happy Princess, one of the five dark-leaved varieties I ordered from Unwins at the beginning of Summer.

Ordered at the same time were plugs of New Guinea Impatiens, which I planted four in a trough. Usually this is the time of year to turf out the Summer bedding, but I can't do much at the minute as they are still flowering away like mad! These are great value plants, which are tolerant to a bit of drought and sun.

This beautifully structured nest came out of one of our neighbour's trees.  The bronze leaves on top are from the shrub/tree Amelanchier. Does this nest belong to a Crow or Magpie, anyone know?

I've been secretly longing for this monstrosity of a conifer to come down, at least the top section anyhow. Magpies seemed to favour it, and the sound of a magpie is not the kind of birdsong I want to be hearing at any time of the day.

I shall miss the little Dunnock though, who did like to sit right at the very top and sing it's little heart out!

I've seen an increase in Red Admirals in my garden this year, four together on Michaelmas Daisy. Even today there was one catching up on last minute nectar from Verbena B.

Other plants they've favoured over the summer months have been Giant Scabious and Cosmos.

I know their caterpillars like to feed on nettles, so I keep a big patch in an unused spot at the top of the garden. The butterflies like to feed on apples, so leave out some windfalls if you have them.

This fern looks especially lovely in Autumn light. I've a few different varieties planted in part shade around the base of a tree.

We were down in Somerset for a few days this week, and on a cycle ride I noticed the edge-ways were covered with Harts Tongues. The first time I've ever happened to see so many growing together in the wild.

My garden this year has again been filled with many different varieties of bee. Most of them I'm not familiar with, but I'd be interested to learn more about them in the future.

The small one above is on another one of those Dahlias, this time Happy First Love. This variety has almost a paint-brushed effect on the petals.

Sadly all five are coming to an end now, but I shall try my very best to overwinter them, but cannot promise any success?



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Instead of Runner Beans next year, I think I'll grow more Sweetpeas.

After a slow start, this mix Elegant Ladies have been flowering really well.

They smell amazing, and remind me of the old-fashioned Matucana and Cupani varieties.

I took up Monty Don's invaluable advice to pick blooms every 10 days, which has proved a great success!



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It's October, and we imagine the garden to be full of browns, yellows and oranges.

Not so!

Salvia Black 'n Blue

Aster Barbados

Dahlia Happy Wink


I've decided to leave my 300th post giveaway open for a while longer.

For each and every comment you leave, you'll gain an entry into the draw.

Think of it as a little thank you for your loyalty to my blog.

2007 to present.

Good luck!


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Hummingbird Hawk-moths move at speed, and are not easy to photo, so I was pleased to get these three photos of one in action in my garden.

I've noticed this particular one returning to the same patch of Verbena B since the end of August.

If you have seen one or more in your garden, you can plot your sighting at the Migrant Watch webpage.



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I don't know where they've been hiding up until now, but today I spotted the first Painted Lady of the year.

A year or so back Britain saw an invasion!

Have you seen one or more, or a Hummingbird Hawk-moth in your garden this year? If so, how about plotting your finding(s) at the Butterfly Conservation's website in their survey Migrant Watch.

In my garden both species have been favouring Verbena Bonarensis.

Which plant(s) have you spotted either species on?


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This is my 300th post so I'm having another giveaway!

The giveaway prize will not necessarily be influenced by my love of the garden, leaving it open to everyone.

If you'd like to enter, comment on this post and I'll pick out a winner at random on Sunday 11th September.

Good luck!

This year the Sweetpeas have been very slow to flower, and slow too to even climb up the poles.

Maybe because they're Elegant Ladies, and can be seen here proudly showing themselves off with a 50p jelly-mould!

Monty Don suggests Sweetpeas are to be picked every 10 days.

I guess I should take his advice.

Big 'n blousy Gladioli.

I've never ever grown these before, so I took a chance in planting some up in large pots.

I stole the idea from Carol Klein, after seeing her do the same in her own garden at Glebe Cottage.

They're doing really well, and come as a highly recommended addition to a late Summer garden, and the good thing about having them in pots is you can move them around when you so desire.

It seems the odd spike may become a little top-heavy, like the one above which flopped over in today's blustery conditions.

I snipped it off, and it's now looking drop-dead gorgeous indoors!

Another new discovery for me this year is Helenium.

It's orange colour is just perfect at this time of year.

I definitely plan to introduce more to my garden next year, and hopefully divide this one if it gets through the Winter?

Dahlia, an old favourite of mine, especially the dark-leaved varieties.

I confess to having bought five new young plants this year.

I'm by no means an expert gardener, and all becomes hit 'n miss when it comes to overwintering them.

This year I made the mistake of placing a couple out in the borders, later discovering I'd inadvertently given the resident earwigs the go-ahead for a good nibble - also all five were sprayed with a washing-up liquid solution to rid an infestation of blackfly.

All were rescued in the nick of time and somehow all managed to survive their ordeal, and each in turn are giving a lively display of colour.

Another plant now an array of flowers is the Japanese Anemone.

You'd be forgiven for thinking its pastel tones would fail to fit in with the bolder shades of late Summer.

I've small pockets of space around the garden to grow a small selection of vegetables.

Today I've picked a generous trug full of Runner Beans and another 1lb in weight of Raspberries.

No sign of any Summer Squash as yet, and the Tomatoes are slow to ripen.

I watched that Blackbird in the photo be such a good father to his broods this year, and have helped him out with a few sultanas here and there!

I've seen, and heard the foxes again on a number of occasions.

The neighbour's terrier lets me know when he and his sibling are around.

It goes ballistic!


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There are about 6000 species and 200 genera in the family.

I get to see many varieties in my own garden, including this rather impressive one, which I believe to be Volucella zonaria!

Please let me know if you know otherwise?


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Beautiful Anchusa with its gentian-blue flowers.

It's a hardy perennial, mainly upright with an annoying tendency to flop!

It's still one of my favourites, and over a long flowering period it keeps the bees and hoverflies happy too.

It's the last day to get your Big Butterfly Count in.

Nothing like waiting until the last minute, I entered my findings today!

2 x Large White
3 x Small White
1 x Red Admiral
3 x Gatekeeper
1 x Common Blue
1 x Peacock
1 x Comma

That's what I noted down from my own garden, over a 15 minute period.

Has anyone spotted a Painted Lady this year?

Thanks to all for entering into my giveaway, commenting on a favourite perennial of yours.

With names scribbled on paper, scrumpled into tiny balls, I picked out a winner.

Tales from a Cottage Garden

Congratulations, it's you!

A favourite perennial - well it has to be the cottage garden favourite - the lupin - beautiful and tough as old boots!

Couldn't agree more Jeanne!


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I question why it has taken me so long to introduce Cerinthe to my garden?

I've always loved the look of this plant, after seeing it featured in many gardening books and magazines over the years.

It's a half hardy annual, and it's very easy to grow from seed.

Just look at the results - it's so beautiful with its hints of blue and pink.

Try growing some, and see for yourself.

If it decides not to seed around, I'm definitely buying another packet from Thompson & Morgan.


... I'd love this beautiful blue-stemmed Sea Holly even more if it didn't smell so bad!

Since my last edit, I've come to the conclusion this Eryngium smells unpleasant in all weathers, and is also very attractive to Greenbottles!

Click on my comments and read what Sarah F had to say on the subject, and then read my reply below.

Oh my goodness, I can't believe you've said this. Fox/cat poo is exactly what I can smell, but didn't really like to mention that on my blog! Cats and foxes use my garden as a loo too. Thanks so much for your comment, it has made me smile, and the best one I've had in ages!


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Isn't it a beauty, it's a Helenium Sahins Early Flowerer, it's really tall, and it's going to look lovely in my garden.

It's featured in this The Telegraph article, which also gives suggestions for plants to choose as companions too.

I may well need another trip to the wonderful Jack Dunckley's Birchfield at Henfield!

This nursery is a plant lover's dream.

I've quite a few Heucheras around the garden, but this is my first Heucherella, called Golden Zebra.

What a great plant name!

Miscanthus sinensis Morning Light, a name just perfect for this beautiful grass.

I love grasses.

I really hope there's no rain tomorrow, so I can get my new additions settled in.



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There's been new visitors to the patch recently, including this fluffed-up blackbird fledgling and a young fox - one of two, who seems quite content to lie on top of empty flowerpots!

There's been new visitors and followers to my blog too, so thank you.

To mark this I'm having a giveaway!

As all you gardeners will know, Autumn is an ideal time to be adding plants to your garden, and to plan ahead for next season.

With this in mind my prize is a copy of 200 Great Perennials, a neat little book, full of expert tips, practical advice and inspiration.

No garden should be without a perennial or two, so what I'd like you to do is to name one you would recommend every garden should have.

I'm leaving the giveaway open to all who visit my blog, from the UK and overseas, and also those who haven't ever left a comment before.

I'll pick out a winner on 7th August, so please get your suggestions in as soon as you can.


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... is on.

So today hasn't been the best of days for counting butterflies, but there's plenty of time to get your sightings in.

I'm going to wait for a sunny day!

Big Butterfly Count

To date, all these beautiful butterflies have been regular visitors to my garden.

Above is the Small White on Verbena bonariensis.

A Red Admiral on Cephalaria gigantea.

A Speckled Wood on Buddleia davidii.

A Gatekeeper on Marjoram.

A Common Blue on Stachys byzantina.

A Comma on Euphorbia ?.

Gardening for Butterflies