Butterflies & Moths
Butterfly & Moth Details
Butterflies in a Reading Garden
These pictures were taken over the last 5 years in a member's garden, just outside the Earley boundary.
We started out by planting species that were good for butterflies in a general sort of way, but quickly moved to focus on a list of butterfly species present at Reading University campus, which was on the University web-site. However, the arrival of a Brown Argus (which wasn't on the University list) suggested that the list was probably incomplete and we have since focused on the Atlas of Butterflies in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, and Oxfordshire, particularly species sited within a 5 mile radius of the house.
I drew up a list of butterflies which were likely, possible, and impossible, given the distance between the nearest siting in the Atlas and our garden, plus the limitations of the range of plants we could introduce and conditions we could create. However, this proved to be only a rough guide. We still haven't seen two fairly common local species (Marbled White and Small Heath), while some visitors were quite a surprise (White Admiral, White Letter Hairstreak, and Silver-Washed Fritillary). The first two have only been seen once, though the Fritillarys were around for at least a couple of weeks last summer (2018) and there were at least two.
For planting, we used the lists of plants on the UK Butterflies site and obtained them mainly via mail order (Naturescape). If I was to advise anyone regarding top plants to grow for butterflies, I would say Buddleia, Field Scabious, Black Knapweed, Greater Knapweed, Wild Marjoram, Honesty, Meadow Cransebill, Birds Foot Trefoil, and Lavender.
Currently I am working on trying to attract Small Blues. After an original failure, we managed to successfully grow Kidney Vetch (on a gravel/rubble mound at the side of the garden, which is great for a range of wild plants). We have also planted seven wych elm saplings after seeing the White Letter Hairstreak last summer. The plan is to pollard them before they reach the size when they are vulnerable to Dutch elm disease.