It’s important to leave a few patches of stinging nettle in the wilder part of a garden, as it’s an essential food plant for developing butterflies.


  • Cosmos are an important source of nectar for butterflies.
  • Ivy is the food-plant of holly blue butterfly caterpillars and many moth species – including swallowtail moth.
  • Nettle and blackberry are also important plants which support butterfly throughout their life cycle.

Spring flowers:

    • Bugle (Ajuga reptans) – a ground-cover woodland perennial, with low spikes of purple flower
    • ErysimumBowles mauve’ – a perennial wallflower with mauve flowers
    • Lady’s-smock (Cardamine pratensis) – a delightful, slender plant with pink flowers for moist soils
    • Goat willow (Salix caprea) – a shrubby tree, which can grow to 15 m tall, so it needs space and shouldn’t be planted near houses because of its vigorous root

Summer plants: 

    • Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea) – a lovely perennial for the flower border, with large flowers with a central spiky cone surrounded by pink petals
    • English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) – short-lived subshrub that likes poor, dry soil
    • Hemp agrimony (Eupatorium cannabinum) – a British native perennial, sending up lots of metre tall leafy stems topped with fluffy pink flowerheads
    • Marjoram (Oreganum vulgare) – a British native of downs and grassland, about 30cm tall with lots of small pink flowers
    • Verbena bonariensis – a trendy plant that is so dainty its tall stems topped with purple flowers can be slotted in among your existing border plants.

Autumn flowers:

    • Bugbane (Actaea simplex ) – A tall, upright spike with white flowers along it
    • Devil’s-bit scabious (Succisa pratensis) – a native wet meadow & downland flower with little lilac pompom flowers
    • Iceplant (Sedum spectabile) – fleshy leaves and pink flat heads of flowers
    • Ivy (Hedera helix) –  allow it to get its head into the sun in order to flower
    • Michaelmas daisy (Aster novae-angliae) – a perennial for the flower border with familiar pink and purple daisy-flowers.

Comma butterfly — Saturday 30 March 2019.

Sighting Diary

  • Wed 25 March 2020 – saw a Peacock butterfly, feeding on dandelion flowers.
  • Sat 23 March 2019 – saw an orange butterfly with brown/black markings in the back patch
  • Sun 24 March – saw a yellow butterfly at the allotment
  • Sat 30 March on the allotment, we saw a Comma Butterfly (aka anglewing butterfly) – with orange / brown wing markings – very friendly!  We also saw a white cabbage butterfly and a creamy yellow butterfly.