Orange Tip Butterfly (anthocharis cardamines)


Widespread across Southern and Central Britain, Wales and as far North as Scotland, usually seen from the beginning of April through to June.

The male Orange-tip butterfly, is quite striking in flight with an orange patch on the outer half of the fore-wings, and black wing tips.

The female however lacks the orange patch on the fore-wings but both share marbled-green under-wings, black wing tips and a black spot on fore-wings.

Orange-tip habitat

Often found in a wide range of habitats, Orange tip butterflies can be seen anywhere, from country lanes and forest paths, to gardens and parks. Particularly active on warm sunny spring days, they fly close to the ground, stopping briefly to nectar before continuing.

Orange-tip Butterfly on wild daisy flower in garden

Orange-tip Butterfly showing green patterned under-wings

Orange-tip Butterfly (Anthocharis cardamines) on common daises

Male Orange-tip Butterfly (Anthocharis cardamines)


  • Family group : Pierinae – Whites.
  • Wingspan around: 40mm.
  • When: April-June with numbers peaking around mid May although this may vary from year to year.
  • Caterpillars feed on : Cuckoo Flower (Cardamine pratensis), Hedge Mustard, Sweet Rocket
  • Early nectar plant : Common Violets, Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) , Greater Stitchwort, Cow parsley, Bluebells, Common Daisey, Ground Ivy, Hedge Mustard, Iberis sempervirens, among others
  • Photographed : 15th May 2010.
  • Location : My garden, South Lincolnshire.
  • Updated : 16th October 2012.
© Urban Butterfly Garden 2010-2022

Wild Strawberry (Fragaria vessca) Flowers and Berries


The Wild or Woodland Strawberry is similar, in appearance to the well known garden strawberry although still edible it is overall much smaller. In the UK they can often be found growing in many dry grassy places, from Woodland rides, Meadows and Gardens to Road side verges, often sending out long runners and colonising any available ground.

The leaves of the strawberry plant are made up of three oval leaflets, the small flowers have 5 white petals and a rich yellow centre and appear April to July.

Wild strawberry fruit or berries, may be found from June through to October, although small size they are stronger tasting and are often used commercially in jams and medicines.

Wild Strawberry Plant with Red Berries

Wild Strawberry Plant with Red Berries

Wild Strawberry Plant showing leaves and yellow and white flowers

Wild Strawberry Plant in Flower

Quick Info

  • Type: Perennial Herb
  • Also Known As: Woodland Strawberry
  • Where: Commonly found through-out Britain
  • Habitat: Often found on well drained – Meadows, Road side verges, woodland Clearings, Gardens and tracks.
  • When does it flower? April to July.
  • Fruiting: June through to October.
  • Height around: 20-30cm.
  • Larval Food Plant: Grizzled Skipper Butterfly (Pyrgus malvae)

Visit Thompson & Morgan to get Woodland Strawberry seeds

© Urban Butterfly Garden 2010-2022

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 2010-2022

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’

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 2010-2022

Comma Butterfly (Polygonia c-album)


The Comma Butterfly is quite distinctive in appearance, its bright orange and brown colouring and unusual jagged wing shape make it quite easy to identify even from some distance.

Widespread across England and Wales, Comma Butterflies can often be seen in woodland clearings, on open rides, hedgerows and maybe even in the garden. They can be seen on the wing from early March to September, often in a sheltered sunny spot basking in the warm sunshine.

The males are often quite territorial and may be seen patrolling a section of hedgerow or woodland path sometimes quite boldly making their appearance known to other male Commas.

The Comma may also make an appearance on quite cool days with intermittent sunshine, sometimes resting hardly noticeable wings closed in the subdued sunlight, taking flight at even the slightest disturbance heading upward to find a safer perch.

Comma Butterfly (Polygonia c-album) wings closed on a Branch

Comma Butterfly (Polygonia c-album)

Comma Butterfly (Polygonia c-album) in garden on leaf

Comma Butterfly (Polygonia c-album) in garden on leaf

Upper-wings: are orange with dark brown markings. Under-wings are mottled browns with a small white comma shape marking, from which it gets its name.

Comma Quick Info

  • Family Group: Nymphalidae – Browns
  • Wingspan: approx 45mm
  • Caterpillars feed on: Stinging Nettle (urtica-dioica), Hops and Elm.
  • Adults Nectar on: Bramble flowers, Ripe Blackberries, Ragwort
  • Adults Nectar in the garden on: Buddleia (mostly-yellow or White!), Rudbeckia
  • Photographs: Top right – Left – June 2011.
  • Location: My garden, and out on a local walk.
© Urban Butterfly Garden 2010-2022

Brambles, Butterflies and Blackberries


Brambles is often a name referring to the native blackberry bush, a thorny perennial plant that can often be seen growing wild amongst hedgerows and in gardens and woodland. It is able to tolerate even poorest soil types, and if left unchecked, often spreads, covering large areas of ground.

Its distinctive growth of long ‘biennial stems’ also known as Canes, these are covered along their length in sharp spines or thorns. In late Spring/early Summer stems of white petalled flowers appear from the canes attracting many species of butterflies, and other insects like hoverflies and bees.

Comma Butterfly feeding on ripe Blackberries

Comma Butterfly on ripe Blackberries

The blackberry is one of a group of more than 350 different species found around the world, these include raspberries, cranberries and loganberries.

There are also many hybrid varieties available specifically for the garden, some of which like ‘Black Diamond’ and ‘Black Pearl’ even have thorn-less canes.

Bramble Blackberry (Rubus spp.) flowers on bush

Bramble Blackberry (Rubus spp.) flowers on bush

As the flower petals fall away first signs of the green fruit begin to appear, growing in size during the summer and turning from red to black when fully ripened in the Autumn.

The blackberries when ripe attract butterflies, wild birds, small mammals and humans, although newly grown plants don’t produce flowers or fruit until their second year.

Ripe and ripening wild Blackberries rubus

Ripe and ripening wild Blackberries

© Urban Butterfly Garden 2010-2022

Scabious – Flowers that Attract Butterflies and Bees



Well known as a native wildflower, Scabious with its range of cultivated varieties and colours also makes it a traditional garden favourite. Its constant flowering throughout the summer months, makes it the perfect plant for when little else is flowering, such as in late July.

Scabious is a great choice for any wildlife garden, or meadow, its steady supply of nectar rich flowers will attract pollinating insects, like Butterflies and Bees.

Native Varieties

Wild native varieties like the common “Field Scabious” (Knutia arvensis) or the less common “Small Scabious” (Scabosa columbaria) can be found throughout England and Wales, flowering June-September they may be found on dry calcareous (lime or Chalk) grassland. Similar looking the two sometimes confused. Devil’s-Bit Scabious (Succisa pratensis) has smaller rounded flowers around 15-25mm across and is found in much damper conditions, than the Field or Small Scabious.

Field Scabious flower head

Field Scabious flower head

Scabious Information

  • Also Known As: Pincushion flower
  • Light: Full sun or partial shade
  • Sow seeds: February, March, April, May, June
  • Flowering: May – September or until the first frost
  • Height: Around 50-60cm
  • Soil: Well drained Lime-Chalk /Alkaline.

Well known varieties

Two of the most well known varieties are possibly Scabious ‘Blue Jeans’ and Scabious ‘Butterfly Blue’, their abundance of flowers throughout the summer makes these real garden favourites.

These and many more colours and varieties of Scabious are available Visit “Thompson & Morgan” here, to take a look

Scabious “Butterfly Blue Beauty”

General Plant care

New Scabious plants when large enough can be put out from April in a frost free position, always allow about a week for them to acclimatise and the risk of frost has passed before planting out 30-40 cm apart, varieties with large blooms may need light support if the weather is particularly wet or windy. Remove dead flowers (dead heading) during the growing season every week or so, new blooms will soon take their place.

In Autumn or when the Scabious plants have turned brown and died back they can be cut down to ground level, this can also be done in the spring, when plants can be propagated by division.


To keep a stock of healthy plants, Scabious requires some propagation this is best done March-April by root division, this requires lifting and dividing young plants into one or two divisions and replanting, or replacing the older less vagarious growing plants.

Field Scabious in Meadow

Field Scabious in Meadow

© Urban Butterfly Garden 2010-2022

Red Admiral Butterfly (Vanessa atalanta)



A regular visitor to the gardens, the Red Admiral may be seen throughout the British Isles, often attracted in numbers by nectar rich flowers such as Buddleia and Rudbekia around July to August.

Out of the Garden, a sunny sheltered spot with flowering Ivy or Hemp Agrimony, may also attract Red Admiral butterflies, although they are rarely seen in numbers before June.

They may even still be seen on the wing till late October – November on sunny days if a nectar source is still available.


With a large 60mm wingspan the Red Admiral is a strong flying butterfly, able to glide and manoeuvre after a small number of quick wing beats. The mainly black or brown colouration, broad red bands and white spots on the fore-wings and broad red band on the hind-wings make it easy to identify. The under-wings are a mottled black-brown .

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) wings closed on Ivy flowers

Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) on Ivy flower

Red Admiral Butterfly (Vanessa atalanta)

Red Admiral Butterfly (Vanessa atalanta)

The Red Admiral is seen as a migrant butterfly from Europe, arriving in Britain and Ireland from May-June. It is believed that with the milder winters of recent years, some are managing to hibernate during short cold periods, creating a resident population mainly across the south of England.

Quick Information

© Urban Butterfly Garden 2010-2022

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 2010-2022

Small White Butterfly (Pieris rapae)


A Common UK resident butterfly seen almost everywhere, in a wide range of habitats, such as Gardens, Hedgerows, Meadows and Roadside Verges.The small white butterfly is double brooded, the adult butterflies emerge twice a year peaking in numbers in April – May and July – August.

The Small White is also known as the “Cabbage White” and shares this name with Large White Butterfly, the caterpillars of both butterflies, annoy many vegetable gardeners across the country.

Small White Butterfly (Pieris rapae) with open wings

Small White Butterfly-male- (Pieris rapae) with open wings

Small White Butterfly (Pieris rapae)

Small White Butterfly (Pieris rapae)

The upper-wings of the male are white, with a grey tips whereas the female has two black dots on the fore-wings. The under-wings are pale yellow.

Quick Info

  • Family Group: Pieridae – whites
  • Wingspan: approx 45mm.
  • Larval food Plants: Brassicas inc Cabbage, Cauliflower, Field Mustard(Sinapis arvensis), Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus)
  • Location: South Lincolnshire
  • Photographed: Top – 27th June 2011, Bottom – on a windy 3rd July 2010.
© Urban Butterfly Garden 2010-2022