Dorset Branch members Peter & Judy Westgate started their private collection of well over 100 buddleia varieties in Fontmell Magna last year, with the aim of finding out which were the best for butterflies.
This year the bushes have grown larger, and are attracting even more butterflies: those who have already visited have counted nearly 100 Peacocks, plus growing numbers of Small Tortoiseshells, Brimstones, Red Admirals, Commas from the mid-summer Hutchinsoni variety and occasional Painted Ladies, Clouded Yellows and Dark Green and Silver-washed Fritillaries. Of course there are also clouds of fluttering Whites, mostly Large and Small but also some Green-veined.
Buddleia test plot
We would welcome more recorders to visit & help to collect data on which varieties and colours attract the most butterflies.
Last year’s champion, the amazing dark purple Dartmoor with florettes hanging down in bunches like bananas, has not yet reached full bloom, but there are many new varieties now taking the field.
The collection is open at any time but if you have not visited before please contact Bill Shreeves to obtain directions on how to get there, how to record & a plan of the site. E-mail: email@example.com or write to 5, Butt’s Mead, Shaftesbury, Dorset, SP7 8NS.
If you visit, it would also be much appreciated if you could help the plants to keep flowering by doing some ‘dead heading’ – bring your own secateurs!
As an extra inducement Peter Westgate has also provided a comfortable seat under the shade of the orchard from which the amazing butterfly spectacle can be contemplated!