Holly Blue Butterfly (Celastrina argiolus)



The Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus) is small blue butterfly that may be seen from early spring, often in and around habitat where established Ivy (Hedra helix) and Holly (Ilex aquifolium) are growing in a sunny sheltered position.


The Holly blue may be found in this type of habitat in hedgerows, woodland, urban gardens and parks across Southern England, Wales and Southern Ireland.

Holly Blue butterflies lay two broods of eggs the first in Holly (Ilex aquifolium) April – May, and the second  brood on Common Ivy (Hedera helix) August – September.

Holly Blue Butterfly- Female-with wings open

Holly Blue Butterfly- Female-with wings open

Holly-Blue-Butterfly (Celastrina-argiolus) on Holly (Ilex aquifolium)

Holly Blue Butterfly (Celastrina-argiolus) on Holly

Upper wings are violet blue and are only occasionally seen, while the butterfly is nectaring or resting, although after periods of cloud cover or rain, they may be seen sunbathing for brief periods, with wings open taking full advantage first available warm sun light.


© Urban Butterfly Garden 2010-2018

Silver-washed Fritillary Butterfly (Argynnis paphia)


A bright orange butterfly, found mainly in open woodland across the south and south west of the UK, in areas where it’s primary larval food Plant the Common Dog-Violet (viola riviniana) grows, although recent observations suggest colonies are moving Northwards.

Seen from mid June-August, the male silver-washed fritillaries are often first to appear, around a week before the females, adult butterflies spend some time in the tree tops sunning and feeding on honeydew from aphids, although during spells of warm weather they will often descend to warm sunny areas to nectar on Bramble flowers, Knapweed, wild marjoram quickly moving from flower to flower.

Silver-washed Fritillary Butterfly (Argynnis paphia) Female

Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia) Female

Silver-washed Fritillary Butterfly (Argynnis paphia) Male on Brambles

Silver-washed Fritillary (Argynnis paphia) (Male)

Getting it’s name from the distinctive silver streaks on the underside of the wings, the Silver-washed Fritillary is the largest of all the Fritillary species found here in the UK, it is also a strong fast flyer with a wingspan around 60mm. The male is bright orange with black or dark brown stripes and spots on the upper wings, the female is similar in size and markings although slightly duller in colour.

Silver-wash Fritillary Butterfly (Argynnis paphia) - Female - Underwings

Silver-wash Fritillary (Argynnis paphia) – Female – Underwings

© Urban Butterfly Garden 2010-2018

Brown Hairstreak (Thecla betulae)


A small rare butterfly, the Brown Hairstreak spends most of its time fluttering round high in the tree tops of a chosen Ash tree, often referred to as the Master Tree.

Most active on warm sunny days, both the male and female Butterflies may occasionally come down lower to nectar on bramble or other flowers, although the female is the most likely the one to seen close up, as she flies around to find a suitable site to lay her eggs.

Upper-wings are brown with orange patches on the fore-wings, under-wings orange/brown with two white lines or streaks.

Brown Hairstreak Butterfly female with wings open

Brown Hairstreak – female with wings open © Urban Butterfly Garden 2010-2014

Population Status

The Brown Hairstreak is a priority species for conservation, due to continued habitat loss. The use of mechanical hedge cutting or flailing in late summer and Autumn damages hedgerows making them unsuitable for the female butterfly to lay her eggs, also cutting away previously laid eggs that will hatch in the following spring.

Brown Hairstreak on Blackthorn

Brown Hairstreak on Blackthorn © Urban Butterfly Garden 2010-2014

Quick Info

  • Family Group: Blues (Lycaenidae).
  • Habitat: Found along the edges or in open areas of woodland or hedgerows in areas where Blackthorn or sloe is found growing in abundance.
  • When: July to October.
  • Where: Localised mainly in Southern and Central England.
  • Size: Around 40mm.
  • Larval Food Plant: Only Blackthorn (prunus spinosa) and other prunus species.
  • Adult Nectar Plant: Aphid Honey dew found on Ash trees, Bramble
  • Photographed: 8th September 2012, Chambers Farm Wood, Lincolnshire
© Urban Butterfly Garden 2010-2018

Small Copper Butterfly (Lycaena phlaeas)


Lively and brightly coloured, the Small Copper Butterfly can be found throughout the UK, apart from the far north of Scotland.The Small Copper Butterfly can be seen flying from  May-September, they are usually found in open grassy areas such as, Meadows, Waste ground, Heathland and Woodland Rides, where they enjoy basking in warm sunshine, often on the heads of wildflowers or a bare patch of earth.

Upper-wings are Bright Copper or orange with black spotted markings with a dark brown fringe on the fore-wings .

Under-wings are similar to upper-wings but light brown instead of dark brown.

Small Copper Butterfly (Lycaena phlaeas) roosting on Knapweed

Small Copper Butterfly (Lycaena phlaeas)

Small Copper Butterfly (Lycaena phlaeas) on yellow flower

Small Copper Butterfly (Lycaena phlaeas)


  • Family Group: Lycaenidae – Blues.
  • Habitat: Meadows, Waste ground, Heathland and Woodland Rides.
  • On the wing: May-September
  • Wingspan: approx 25mm.
  • Larvae feed on: Common Sorrel.
  • Photographed: 17th July 2010.
  • Location: Barnack Hills and Holes NNR.
© Urban Butterfly Garden 2010-2018

Silver-Studded Blue Butterfly (Plebejus argus)



The silver-studded blue is a small butterfly, similar in appearance although slightly smaller than the more regularly seen Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus).

The upper-wings of the male are purpleish/blue, with a  border of black on the outer margins.  The female is dark brown, with a dusting of blue scales, and orange spots around the margins of the wings.

Silver-studded blue butterflies are single brooded, emerging and on the wing in mid June, they form a close colony, most colonies contain just a few hundred adults, although in an area with plenty suitable habitat, there may be more than one colony.


Localised but widespread the Silver-Studded Blue mainly found across the Southern counties of the UK, Norfolk, Suffolk, Cornwall, Devon and Wales.

Male Silver-studded blue butterfly (Plebejus argus) wings open

Male Silver-studded blue butterfly showing bright blue upper-wings

Male Silver-studded Blue (Plebejus argus) seen mid June on Bell Heather

Seen mid June Silver-studded Blue on Heather

Quick Info: Silver-studded Blue

  • Name: Silver-studded Blue (Plebejus argus)
  • Family Group: Blues – Lycaenidae.
  • Habitat: Found mainly in warm areas on open sandy heaths or occasionally on grassland and coastal dunes in areas where Gorse, Ling and Bell heather are often found.
  • When: Beginning mid June, with numbers of individuals peaking around the end of June into July although this varies depending on the subspecies and colonies location.
  • Size around: 28-30mm
  • Larval Food Plant: Gorse (Ulex europaeus) and Bell Heather (Ling) (Erica cinerea)
  • Adult Nectar Plant: Flowers like Bell heather, Birds-foot trefoil.
  • Population Status: A priority species for conservation although the overall population at this time is stable
  • Photographed: Kelling Heath, Norfolk
© Urban Butterfly Garden 2010-2018

Welcome to Urban Butterfly Garden


Urban Gardens could play an important role in Butterfly Conservation

Gardens can play an important role in increasing the population and spread of some of our native and migrant butterfly species.

We are encouraged to use far less chemicals in the garden, and switch to more organic methods, like composting, and the use of natural fertilizers for our plants and vegetables, these changes can help to create a safer environment for us and our wildlife.


Orange-tip Butterflies may be seen in gardens from early Spring

These planted areas create what is known as a Green Corridor, allowing the movement of butterflies and other insects and wildlife through urban environments.

There are wildlife friendly plants and seed kits available to create a butterfly garden, and give things a great start.


Peacock Butterflies seen in Gardens Spring and Mid Summer


Setting aside an area of the garden how ever big or small, for a selection of easy maintenance Flowers, or Shrubs, like Buddleia, Wild Marjoram (oregano), some Meadow Grasses maybe a few Nettles, will encourage butterflies and moths as well as other beneficial insects like Ladybirds and Hoverflies into the garden.

Common Blue Butterfly

Common Blue Butterfly (Polyommatus icarus)

© Urban Butterfly Garden 2010-2018

Common Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum)


A fast growing climber, Honeysuckle is seen by many as a traditional garden shrub, often seen in gardens growing up a trellis or trailing over walls and fences.

Honeysuckle flowers generally appear from June-August and vary in colour from creamy white, pink, red and light yellow. They are mainly trumpet shaped, and give off an unmistakable sweet scent, most noticeable late evening and at night.

The flowers are followed by bunches of red berries which ripen in Autumn and are often eaten by wild birds during the winter months.

Native Honeysuckle

Probably the most popular variety of honeysuckle is Lonicera periclymenum (Woodbine) a native species which grows wild in woodlands and hedgerows throughout Europe.

It is deciduous (loses leaves in Autumn) with particularly fragrant light yellow flowers flushed with pink/purple and may grow to a height of 5-6m.In Britain wild honeysuckle can sometimes be seen growing up trees in woodland, spreading amongst hedgerows, and other plants using then for support.

The leaves are grey – green and oval shaped.

Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum) red berries

Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum) red berries

Common Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum) Woodbine in flowering in Woodland, growing amongst Blackthorn and Wild Privet.

Common Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum) Woodbine in flowering in Woodland, growing amongst Blackthorn and Wild Privet

Honeysuckle for the Garden

Honeysuckles grown specifically for the garden can vary in that, some are deciduous others are evergreen and semi-evergreen. The flowers also can be trumpets or funnel shaped, often forming clusters, although some can occur in pairs depending on the species. Traditionally scented, some Honeysuckles can also have little or no scent, but make up for this with masses of spectacular flowers.

Quick Information

  • Name: Honeysuckle (Lonicera. Sp)
  • Family: Caprifoliaceae
  • Height: May grow up to 5m if supported.
  • Position: sun or semi shade
  • Care: Feed or water if needed, prune or shape if required in Winter or Spring
  • Wild Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum) is the primary food plant for the caterpillar of a rare British woodland Butterfly the White Admiral (Limenitis camilla).
  • Photographs: 8th – 15th August 2010

Popular Garden Honeysuckle and Varieties

Honeysuckle ‘Scentsation’
(Lonicera periclymenum)

Lonicera periclymenum, Common Honeysuckle, Woodbine yellow trumpet flowers

Honeysuckle ‘Scentsation’ Lonicera periclymenum

Pale yellow and ivory flowers from midsummer to September, and a powerful sweet perfume, make Honeysuckle ‘Scentsation’ a delightful garden climber. It is a great plant to let trail over a garden wall, or train up a fence or trellis. After flowering the glossy red berries are an attractive food for garden birds in late summer

  • RHS Perfect for pollinators: Yes
  • Type: Hardy Shrub
  • Colour: Pale yellow and Ivory
  • Flowering Period: July, August, September.
  • Position: sun or semi shade.
  • Great For: scented gardens, woodland garden, Fences and Walls

Available in a range of pot sizes from 3 ltrs, for more information find it here at Thompson & Morgan

Honeysuckle ‘Belgica’
(Lonicera periclymenum)

Honeysuckle 'Belgica' a colourful flowered sweet scented climber

Honeysuckle ‘Belgica’ a colourful sweet scented climber

A hardy climber Honeysuckle ‘Belgica’ has sweet scented flowers that begin white and gradually turn yellow with rich red streaks. Early Dutch Honeysuckles usually flower early summer and often follow up with a second flush of blooms in late summer, September to October. The glassy red berries that are loved by garden birds.

  • RHS Perfect for pollinators: Yes
  • Type: Hardy Shrub.
  • Colour: white, yellow, red.
  • Position: sun or semi shade.
  • Growing and Aftercare: Easy
  • Soil: Moist, well drained – Most types

Available in a range of pot sizes from 3 ltrs, for more information find it here at Thompson & Morgan

Honeysuckle ‘Halliana’
(Lonicera Japonica)

Lonicera Japonica Halliana (Honeysuckle)

Lonicera Japonica Halliana (Honeysuckle)

Lonicera Japonica Halliana is an evergreen Honeysuckle that produces masses of creamy white and yellow very fragrant flowers, all spring and summer. Also known as Japanese Honeysuckle, Honeysuckle ‘Halliana’ is a vigorous climber and will rapidly make it’s way up a trellis or wall, plant in the garden near windows or doors to fully appreciate the wonderful scent.

  • Also known as: Japanese Honeysuckle
  • Type: Full Hardy climber
  • Planting Position: Full sun to partial shade
  • Flowering: May to September
  • soil type: Most well drained
  • Height: 600cm
  • A great plant for attracting wildlife to your garden

See more information about Honeysuckle ‘Halliana’ Click Here to Visit Jersey Plants Direct

Honeysuckle ‘Dropmore Scarlet’
Lonicera x brownii

Honeysuckle 'Dropmore Scarlet'

Honeysuckle ‘Dropmore Scarlet’

A robust climber with long, red and orange trumpet-shaped flowers that continue to bloom from July through to September. Although unscented, Honeysuckle ‘Dropmore Scarlet’ makes up for this with masses of colourful flowers, vigorous growth and semi-evergreen blue-green foliage, ideal for hiding an unsightly area of the garden like a wall or fence, or trailed through a large mature tree.

  • Type: Hardy shrub
  • Colour: Orange and red (Scarlet Trumpet Honeysuckle)
  • Flowering: July, August, September
  • Planting Position: Full sun to partial shade.
  • Soil Type: In fertile, moist, free draining soil.
  • Height and Spread: 4m (13′), 2m (7′).
  • Ideal For: Wildlife garden, Cottage garden, walls and trellis

For More Information on this climber you can visit Thompson & Morgan Here

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© Urban Butterfly Garden 2010-2018

Green Hairstreak Butterfly (Callophrys rubi)


A small green butterfly, widespread and distributed across most areas of the UK, it’s colouration and fast flight make the Green Hairstreak well camouflaged, and often difficult to spot, even in areas where it is locally found and numbers are known to be high.

Seen from April-June, Green Hairstreak butterflies are mostly only active, and give away their whereabouts during periods of warm sunshine. They may be found in a wide range of habitats such as, woodland clearings, meadows, heaths and on hillsides, forming localised colonies that often vary greatly in numbers.

On emerging the Butterflies will often seek a nectar source on plants and shrubs such as, Hawthorn, buttercups, Brambles, Crab-apple, Common-rock Rose, Gorse, Birds-foot Trefoil, Dogwood and Buckthorn and numerous others.

Green Hairstreak laying eggs on birds-foot trefoil

Green Hairstreak laying eggs on Birds-foot Trefoil

Green Hairstreak Butterfly (Callophrys rubi) resting on hawthorn shrub

Green Hairstreak Butterfly (Callophrys rubi) resting on hawthorn shrub

Quick Info

  • Name: Green Hairstreak (Callophrys rubi)
  • Family Group: Lycaenidae – Blues,Hairstreaks.
  • Where: Throughout the UK.
  • Habitat: Edges of Woodland, Hedgerows, Heaths, Moorland
  • When: Flying in largest numbers from May to early June.
  • Size: Wingspan around 32mm.
  • Larval Food Plant: Common Rock Rose (Halianthemum nummularium), Birds-foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatas)
  • Adult Nectar Plant: Hawthorn, Bramble, Wild Privet, Dog Rose, Crab-apple,Broom
  • Population Status:
  • Photographed: 19th April 2011, Barnack Hills and Holes NNR. Left-25th May 2014
© Urban Butterfly Garden 2010-2018

Cuckoo Flower, Wildflowers for Butterflies and Bees



Cuckoo Flower (Cardamine pratensis) is a herbaceous early Spring perennial, with delicate lilac or violet tinted flowers with obvious dark violet veins, and yellow anthers on a sturdy stem, varying in size to around 40cm long, seen from April to June. The leaves are a basal rosette, with 8 pairs of oval leaflets

Widespread but localised, throughout many areas of the UK, Cuckoo Flower where found, often grows in abundance, preferring, wet or damp grassy meadows, and similar locations ranging from lowlands to mountains.

Cuckoo Flower (Cardamine pratensis) Spring Wild Flower

Cuckoo Flower (Cardamine pratensis)

Cuckoo Flower (Cardamine pratensis)

Cuckoo Flower (Cardamine pratensis)

Cuckoo Flower or Lady’s Smock as it is also known, like other early wildflowers provides a nectar source for Butterflies, Bees and other insects in early spring, making it a great addition to a wild flower or wildlife garden. It is also an essential larval food plant for the strikingly coloured Orange-tip Butterfly.

Quick Info

  • Name: Cuckoo Flower (Cardamine pratensis)
  • Type: Native Herbaceous perennial
  • Family: Brassicaceae (Cabbage family)
  • Also Known As: Lady’s Smock
  • Where: Found locally through-out Britain
  • Habitat: Found on –Damp grassy meadows.
  • When does it flower? April to June.
  • Height around: 40cm.
  • Larval Food Plant: Orange-tip Butterfly (anthocharis cardamines) and Green-veined white (Pieris napi)
  • Photographed: 5th May 2012
© Urban Butterfly Garden 2010-2018

Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly (Aglais urticae)


Seen as one of our commonest and successful garden butterflies, the small Tortoiseshell is widespread, and may be seen across all parts of Britain and Ireland, often around patches of nettles or nectaring on wild flowers like, Dandelion, Thistles, Marjoram, Ragwort, and Buddleia in late summer.

Usually seen from March through to October, the butterflies emerge from two broods in a year, the first is in June and the second, August to September, some of the adult butterflies from the later brood hibernate, appearing again on sunny days in early Spring.

In the last few years, the pretty Small Tortoiseshell butterfly has unfortunately seen a massive decline in numbers, the cause of the falling numbers is not yet completely known, although changes in weather patterns are not being ruled out.

Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly (aglais urticae) wings-closed on Buddleia

Small Tortoiseshell (aglais urticae) wings-closed on Buddleia

Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly (aglais urticae) in urban garden on white Buddleia

Small Tortoiseshell (aglais urticae) on white Buddleia

2013 was a good year for the small Tortoiseshell with a good number of sighting across the country. After a mild winter 2013-2014 it seems a good few made it through winter hibernation. I have seen more this March and April than in previous years at this time.

Quick Info

  • Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae)
  • Family Group: Browns – Nymphalidae
  • Upper-wings: are a rich, orange with black spots on the front edge of the fore wings, Blue crescents sit in a Black margin around the fringes of the hind wings.
  • Under-wings: are Dark Brown – Black.
  • Wingspan: Approx 42mm
  • Caterpillars only feed on: Common Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica).
  • Nectar plants: Thistles (various), Hemp Agrimomy (Eupatorium cannabinum), Buddleia, Verbena (verbena bonariensis), Grape Hyacinth (Muscari), Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum), Red valerian (Centranthus ruber)
  • Photograph: Above – Small Tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae) feeding on White Buddleia (davidii) – August 09. Right – August 2010.
© Urban Butterfly Garden 2010-2018
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