Just saw one of these on my allotment

although I couldn’t get a photo with just my mobile. It says on that link that it’s not that rare, but I don’t remember seeing one since childhood, and that may just have been in I Spy Butterflies.

I also saw a marbled white

a couple of weeks ago in my polytunnel, which again I’m not sure if I’ve ever seen before. I did get a shot of it, which I’ll post when I get home.


I haven’t seen as many as usual this year. No Gatekeepers at all, just a few Small Blue and the occasional Cabbage White. I saw a Red Admiral in Crystal Palace Park last week, though.


I think this is a gatekeeper, only seen a couple. This is from Saturday in my garden - I’m trying each year to grow more bee and buttterfly friendly plants.


Yes, that’s a Gatekeeper. Fabulous photo.


Thanks Rachael - I had a few hours on my own on Saturday very unusually as the kids were out - I know this is a butterfly thread but here is one I liked I managed of a bee on the same flower (there were many many missed shots!)


Brilliant! Those open-toped flowers are great for the bugs. Mine never last more than one summer, despite being supposedly perennial. I’ve planted heleniums and echinacea in the past - never to return.


I find Heleniums ok but much harder with Echinacea which I love, and have difficulty just growing normally. The flowers in the photo are second year and I have loads so hoping they come back every year.


Here’s the Marbled White in my polytunnel


I have dahlias which I originally grew from seed, but keep the tubers over winter. I don’t know if they were meant to form the sort of pom poms which bees then can’t get at, but they don’t, so the bees are very happy.

The also work well as cut flowers - the stems are extraordinarily stiff.


I’ve got 2 now I planted when already grown, tried planting tubers and no luck (inc this year). I was wondering if I should bring them in over winter as it is relatively warm in London generally over winter. Dahlias do look nice!


I bring the tubers in over winter, and keep them in dry compost. It’s all about discouraging rotting.

This year I spilt up several plants.


Saw a red admiral today -a lot easier to see with open wings

Wings closed


Not seen this before - 2 butterflies making more. They seem to like the Verbena (first year I’ve planted any). Not sure on the species…

The one below I had 2 in the garden today and I see more regularly and I think is a Jersey Tiger Moth which are meant to be becoming more prevalent in SE London I believe.

Does anyone plant anything for caterpillars to eat - I’ve only really considered the plants for butterflies vs caterpillars.


Yes, it is a tiger moth. You’ll see a flash of red on the underwings as they fly past.

Are the top two Gatekeepers?


Not sure - there is no spot at the top of the wings but maybe they are hidden? They didn’t move and I didn’t want to get too close is disturb them.


Interesting question. I have a patch of undisturbed turf, which I don’t cut till July, and I remember googling Gatekeeper butterfly habitat, and finding this was probably good for them.

Also, having both holly and ivy around is good, well necessary, for the Holly blue, which is fairly common in the area. As a kid, I remember clouds of small tortoiseshells, which lived off stringing nettles, but they have declined massively.


Looking at Google images, there are some that look very similar.


Thanks Tim.

I knew about nettles, and was wondering whether to plant some though not ideal plants with a 3 and 6 year old running around - could probably find an out of the way spot for it though.

The grass bit in interesting, I’ve traditionally left a bit normally as I think it’s good for most wildlife, but didn’t know it was good for gatekeepers. I think I might to think about a proper wild area of the garden.


I have a couple of holly trees and always get lots of Holly Blues (didn’t know that’s what they were, thanks for the tip off, Tim). Haven’t seen any this year at all. :frowning:


Found this wriggly fat fella among a pile of leaves last week. Turns out it’s a tomato hornworm that will one day pupate into a hawk moth.