Chambers Farm Wood Butterfly Garden

The aim in creating the Garden is to raise the profile of Butterfly Conservation, and to enthuse others to garden for butterflies & moths by:-

  • attracting butterflies into the Garden, so that visitors are able to get good views of the more common species of both butterflies and moths,
  • demonstrating the types of plants that will encourage butterflies & moths,
  • experimenting with different habitats & management regimes to minimise maintenance without reducing the Garden's attractiveness to both people and wildlife.

General View GardenThe Garden continues to be developed. It is designed to be at its best from June through to September, though we hope that it will be of some interest all the year round.

Chambers Farm Wood (Grid ref: TF 147740) is located off the B1202 Bardney to Wragby road - follow the brown signs.

The Garden is used and developed with the kind permission of the Forestry Commission.

Contact: Audrey Spring (tel: 01472 879624)


Please click link below:



Gardening: Dates and Times

Join us in the Garden:
'Weed a bit, plant a bit, relax a bit - what a way to spend a day - a workout & relaxation therapy all for free!'

 Gardening days for 2015/2016 - all are Tuesdays - anytime between 10.00 am and 2.00 pm

September 2015
1st & 15th
6th & 20th
January 2016
1st & 15th
5th & 19th


For all gardening, please wear appropriate clothing & footwear. Tools and drinks will be provided, but bring your own if you prefer.
Please note: all dates are provisional and will depend on the weather conditions, so, please check with Audrey (tel: 01472-879624) to confirm before travelling.


Butterfly Garden Features

BG-D.ThompsonDave Thompson has produced this superb feature on the Chambers Farm Wood butterfly garden.  Please click on the link below to enjoy:




The Gardeners - D. ThompsonDave Thompson has produced another feature, this time focusing on the gardeners who work to maintain the Chambers Farm Wood butterfly garden.  Please click on the link below to view:




Top Ten Plants for Butterflies

  • Perennial Wallflower: 'Bowles Mauve': Apr-Sept
  • Red Valerian: May-Sept
  • Sweet Rocket: 'Hesperis Matronalis': May-June
  • Verbena Bonariensis: June-Oct: likes dry
  • Marjoram: June-Sept
  • Hebes: June-Aug
  • Purple Loosestrife: July-Aug: Likes damp
  • Buddleias varieties: July-Sept
  • Sedum varieties: Aug-Oct
  • Michaelmas Daisies: various: Aug-Oct

For more on plants, have a look at the main BC website on:


 Plant of the Month

Ivy Flowering







Hedera helix - common ivy

Providing a valuable source of nectar for late flying butterflies such as Red Admirals.


News from the Garden: Our 'Blog'!

3rd November 2015

  • A foggy, misty day for our final session of the year. We split into two teams today - one outside preparing the garden for winter and the other giving the vounteers' shed a good sort out and clean.
  • In the garden James shredded a huge pile of cuttings, this should speed up the composting process as well as producing better quality compost. Nev set about removing more of the old membrane that we initially used on the Buddleia bed to supress the weeds, however the area is damp so by opening up the soil should give us more opportunities to improve the conditions.
  • Last session we put protection (wire netting and straw) around the Hebes - they do struggle in the combination of frost and Nuthatch - James Hewsondamp but also from the resident Munjac who like to nibble in winter. The narrow leaved Michaelmas Daisies were cut down, they are a great late source of nectar but you can have too much of a good thing!
  • Not surprisingly, no butterflies today, though after lunch a Nuthatch visited the food that Alan had put out.
  • This year the prize for the best plant must go to Red Valerian.
  • This is the last blog for 2015, we hope you have enjoyed the garden and found oour notes informative. We re-start on 16th February. All are welcome to join us.

Next Session: 16th February 2016

20th October 2015

  • A perfect autumn day - sunny and still. Lots of volunteers - was it the promise of cake?... and lots to do. It was good to see the Michaelmas daisies in full bloom, and to be visited by one each of Comma, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral and an unidentified White. Though numbers were low for such a sunny day.Small Tortoiseshell
  • At this time fo the year we review the successes and the failures. Gardens don't just stand still. Mature areas fo the garden may need more than just a tweak, like our raised beds which we cleared today for re-planting.
  • We also identified self-seeded plants that could be moved or potted up for sharing. It's good to concentrate plants into a good clump, it increases the impact and makes it easier for the butterflies to find. We were pleased to find Devilsbit Scabious has started to seed around. The seedlings were gathered up and planted alongside the established plants.
  • The scree area that we created some years ago for perennials like Rock Rose, Birds foot Trefoil and Scabious that like hot dry spots, has been too successful in that the thugs amongst them seed relentlessly - we gave that area a good work over today but it's hardly living up to our aim of low maintenance.
  • We need to think of a way of containing the large perennials which by August tend to be flopping across the paths.

Next Session: 3rd November - weather permitting - this will be the last session for 2015

6th October 2015

  • Autumnal views greeted twelve of us as we entered the Butterfly Garden. The Harrington Pink Michaelmas daisies were heavy with rain and looked a bit battered by our weather but they were still flowering well.
  • After exploring the garden and discussing who would like to do what we settled down to work and potter. Although quite damp the grass was lightly mown. The pond was filled and weed taken out and left on the side for the creatures to find their way back. On closer inspection, some of the weed was covered in numerous Ramshorn snails so this weed was put back.
  • Many Buddleias were still flowering as they had been deadheaded in previous months. Some Buddleias that had finished Buddleia weyeriana golden glowflowering were cut back and reduced in height by half.
  • It was too damp to collect seeds, but two dozen Marjoram and Perennial Sunflowers were potted up to sell next summer. A Robin was very interested in the disturbed soil.
  • In the Pulmonaria bed vigorous Michaelmas Daisy roots had strayed across the bed. So these were removed and some of the Pulmonaria plants were brought forward to the path edge into more light.
  • Some lower branches were removed from the Cherry Tree so that sunlight could filter under its canopy.
  • Soon it was time for lunch. We worked for a bit longer after lunch but then the rain started. So good company and a good session was had by all.

Next Session: 20th October - collecting seeds and planning for next year.

15th September 2015

  • Yet another wet Tuesday. Thank goodness for the shed, we were in and out all day. In between the showers we managed to take the tops off the Hemp Agrimony to reduce further seeding, as it has had an exceptionally good year.
  • Sedums are flowering well now and the Michaelmas Daisies are starting, so it was important today to clear spent growth from around these plants, to give them more light and encouragement. When the sun did appear later in the day, Red Admirals wereRed Admiral on Harrington's Pink Michaelmas Daisy soon nectaring on these flowers.

Next Session: 6th October - reducing Buddleias by half as suggested in 'All Aflutter' (Butterfly Conservation's email newsletter); collecting seeds and planning for next year.

1st September 2015

  • Today was the 'end of summer BBQ' for the garden and reserves volunteers. It was a great success I think, despite some rain. We did a little gardening in the afternoon: filling the pond, mowing the grass and dead-heading.Colin - master chef
  • We have managed to extend the flowering of the Buddleia davidii varieties, but they are coming to an end now. The yellow Buddleia Weyeriana is taking over and the Sedums are ready to open with the gorgeous Harrington's Pink Michaelmas daisies to follow.
    The Joe Pye Weed has more heads this year and the Devils bit Scabious has started to seed itself around the garden, more good nectar sources. The annuals did not do as well as we had hoped, we may have seeded too early or the area is just too damp - another re-think on that one.
  • Not a great day for butterflies - quite a few varieties but none in great number, but there were two beautiful Southern Hawkers, one ovipositing in the pond.Small Tortoiseshell

Next Session: 15th September - 10am to 3pm. See new dates above.

18th/19th August 2015

  • 18th August - total washout, it rained all day.
  • 19th August - so a few of us came on the 19th, to top up the pond and deadhead the Buddleias.
  • The garden looked great with lots of butterflies and lots of appreciative visitors and photographers.
  • Plants in flower: Buddleias, Purple and Chinese Loosestrife, Lavender, Hemp Agrimony, Fleabane, Golden Rod, Marjoram, Gatekeeper on Marjoram
    Field and Devils bit Scabious, Rudbeckia and tall Rudbeckia.
  • Butterflies: Peacock (lots), Gatekeeper, Green veined and Large White, Comma, Brimstone, Painted Lady, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown and Silver Washed Fritillary.
  • Pond life: Southern and Brown Hawker.

Next Session: 1st September at 4pm, followed by a BBQ.

4th August 2015

  • The garden looks stunning today - with Purple Loosestrife, Hemp Agrimony and Buddleias providing the main show, backed up by Marjoram, Lavender and Field Scabious.Purple Loosestrife - John Spring
  • Peacocks were the predominant butterfly, mostly favouring the Buddlieas, which all seem to have remarkably large flower heads this year.
  • Dead-heading, particularly the Buddlieas was our main task, also ensuring that the next plants to flower, sedums and the small Michaelmas daisies, have sufficient room and light to put on a good show.
  • We also had a mass attack on the Bindweed but I think it is winning again...

Next Session: 18th August - more of the same, plus collecting seeds and planning for next year.

21st July 2015

  • Today we concentrated our efforts on preparing for the Open Day on Sunday (Butterfly walk starting at 11am) - mowing, trimming the edges, filling the pond, weeding and preparing plants for the plant sale.
  • Reluctantly we had to cut back the Red Valerian that has attracted so much insect life, but hopefully it should produce a second flush of flowers later in the summer. Fortunately the Marjoram, Hemp Agrimony and Purple Loosestrife are drawing in the butterflies now, particularly the Small Tortoiseshells which are abundant today.
  • The Buddleias seem to be flowering earlier and earlier, so it is important to dead head as often as possible so that they continueWhite Admiral - James Hewson to provide a nectar source for the next month or so.
  • The highlights of the day were a White Admiral that drifted through the garden, and a Hummingbird Hawkmoth that managed to find a piece of Red Valerian still flowering.

Next Session: 4th August - mostly dead heading to keep a plentiful supply of nectar available.

7th July 2015

  • It threatened rain so we immediately got down to the serious business of cutting the grass, filling the pond and tackling the amazing abundance fo growth (wanted and unwanted) that had taken place over the previous three weeks.Butterfly Garden July - James Hewson
  • Then the sun came out and the garden was suddenly a buzz with masses of bees, butterflies (Small Tortoiseshells, Small and Large Whites, Broad bordered Bee Hawkmoths, White Plume moths and a Blood vein moth), ladybirds and other insects.
  • The activity centred mostly around a large patch of Red Valerian, Lavender, Field Scabious and Vipers Bugloss.
    A magic moment - which we all stood and wondered at....this is why we do it...Moments like these really make working in the garden worthwhile.

Next Session: 21st July - more of the same and preparing for the Branch Open Day on Sunday 26th July.

16th June 2015

  • A warm sunny morning gave us a much needed opportunity to apply preservative to the benches and mow the grass.It also brought out two Broad-bordered Bee Hawkmoths on the splendid Red Valerian.Broad-bordered Bee Hawkmoth - James Hewson
  • Emerging Hawker Dragonflies on the Yellow Flag Iris, a Broad-bodied Chaser and numerous photographers, but we managed to work around them all.
  • We added Agastache which will flower later and is good for bees, treated the Winter Heathers to a dose of ericaceous feed to promote another good display next winter.
  • Now is a good time to take cuttings from shrubby plants like the perennial wallflower Bowles Mauve, Hyssop and Hebes which can get leggy or damaged by frost, so benefit by being replaced every few years. Take 3/4 inches of a new non-flowering shoot, remove the lower leaves and plant around the edge of a pot of Dragonfly emerging - Marycompost. Buddleias propagated in this way ensure you get the Buddleia of your choice rather than a chance seedling.
  • Butterflies seen in the garden today - female Brimstone, male Orange Tip, Large White and a Peacock.

Next Session: Preparing plants for the Open Day on sunday the 26th July,

2nd June 2015

  • The grass was knee high. Would we get the grass mown? It was touch and go, but the rain eased and with the help of Ken with a strimmer and Nev with the mower the grass was reduced to a reasonable if still slightly unkempt state.The Mowers taking a well earned rest - James Hewson
  • The rest of us removed the Forget-me-nots - beautiful as they have been unless pulled out they deteriorate rapidly and crowd out the flowers to come. Pulmonaria benefits from shearing for the same reason, then will produce fresh green leaves in a few weeks.
  • The combination of sun and rain has produced rapid growth so some patches of over-zealous Marjoram were given the 'Chelsea chop' to prevent over crowding in the bofders - the plants will soon recover and flower a little later.
  • All this activity generated lots fo much needed green waste for the compost heap. We also choppd down one patch of Comfrey (good composting material) and added that to the heap, leaving the othr patch for the bees who love Comfrey.
  • We are watching the annual bed sown in April with interest - it has been invaded by Silver Weed. A better strategy for next year probably needs to by devised.Common Blue - James Hewson
  • It was too wet and windy for many butterflies today, except for one Common Blue.

Next Session: 16th June - Keeping on top of the mowing and weeding, applying preservative to the benches and taking cuttings of shrubs.

19th May 2015

  • Despite threatening skies and cold wind, nine hardy souls were in the garden ready to explain our work to 12 visiting primary school children. The children and their teachers are engaged in an eco project, which includes creating a 'pallet' garden for the Lincolnshire Show in June. So they came to see what we grow. I'm not sure who enjoyed it most, the children or the garden volunteers. Fortunately one brave Green veined White put in a brief appearance ro confirm the focus of the garden. The pond was very popular as well.Bugle a nectar rich plant - James Hewson
  • We did find time to sow, plant and weed, but left the beautiful Forget-me-nots until next session. The Erysimum Bowles Mauve, Sweet Rocket and Red Valerian are the other major attractions for butterflies at the moment. We also planted two more Hebes that were kindly left for us by a frequent visitor.
  • If you have Alder Buckthorn in your garden, look for the pointy white eggs of the Brimstone butterfly on the underside of the leaves. Three of our gardeners have found eggs on their trees. The trees do not need to be big for the butterflies to be interested in them. Colin and Joyce's tree is still in a pot. Saplings are available from the garden on gardening days.

Next Session: 2nd June. Definitely mowing - weather permitting, putting up poster on each of the beds, tackling the perennial weeds like Bindweed.

5th May 2015

  • Today brought us variable weather -  wind, rain and sun.
  • The pond was filled and we were amazed at how warm the water was. Great Ramshorn snails and other water snails were spotted along with newts, tadpoles and diving beetles. If we enlarged the pond we could use it as a dipping pond (where you actually go for a swim!)
  • Three men worked hard on bench repairs,much enthusiastic discussions and activity. A great job was achieved. Invitations were issued for the seating to be sampled. All comments were positive, amongst the chuckles.
  • The annual seed bed had the Silverweed extracted and annual seeds sown and some Honesty plants were put in at one side.
  • Forget-me-nots were removed where other plants were coming on. The herbaceous border and the garden near the entrance gate was weeded and mulched with compost. It is great that the compost has not produced lots of seedlings as I had feared it might.
  • Hyssop cuttings were taken even though they still seem a bit tender.
  • The wind kept the butterflies and birds grounded.

Next Session: 19th May - checking that the plants we want to grow have the room they need. so reluctantly the Forget-me-nots must go. Starting the battle with Bindweed. Potting up any interesting seedlings. General weeding and feeding.

21st April 2015

  • Today the first Orange Tip was seen in the garden. Perfect gardening weather again, great for the first sowing of anual flower mix from the Grow Wild scheme. Our ground virtually sits on the water table so it is waterlogged in winter and consequently is slow to warrm up which means we leave it later to sow annuals.
  • Another good job done today was sieving and turning the compost.
  • Flowering at the moment are: Primroses, Cowslips, Pulmonaria, masses of Forget-me-nots. Starting are: Erysium Bowles Mauve and Sweet Rocket in time for the Orange Tip butterflies.
  • We obvioiusly missed the spawning of the Toads as we have gone from adults at the last session to Toad tadpoles this session - plenty of Newts in evidence today probably gobbling up the tadpoles, but not all we hope.
  • There were Buzzards overhead as usual now, and Willow Warblers were heard in the wood.
  • We were suprised to see a Bat, probably a Pipistrelle, leave the shed eaves during the morning, our 'elevenses' must have been a rowdy affair that woke the bat!

Next Session: 5th May - still sowing annuals and mending benches.

7th April 2015

  • Perfect gardening weather - sunny, warm, ground damp but workable and butterflies. The winter heathers still look brilliant. We added to the Primroses, they add a real touch of spring to the garden. Some Pulmonaria is flowering but there are lots more to come.
  • Today we pruned the Buddleias, some pruned harder than others to try and ensure a longer display.
  • Marilyn finished the preparation of a bed for annuals, as Sheila managed to get lots of wildflower seeds through the 'Grow Wild' scheme funded by the Big Lottery Fund and supported by Kew. We shall sow them next time, perhaps staggering it over two sessions, again to extend the display.
  • We worked on the more formal beds, weeding, moving, sorting the plants - grouping like plants together for added impact. More Erysium Bowles Mauve were added, we are trying them in the raised bed this year where they won't have so much competition.
  • Butterflies today as you might expect - Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and Brimstone. A Chiffchaff greeted us this morning and Buzzards, a common sight now, mewed overhead.Peacock Butterfly in the garden
  • No toad spawn yet, but there were at least six very active toads in the pond so hopefully there will be spawn next session.

Next Session: 21st April - sowing annuals and mending the benches.

17th March 2015

  • Eight volunteers with a 10am start, pottered the morning away in the butterfly garden. Enjoying the very special calm and almost eerie stillness of the day.
  • The garden feels very different at this time of year with the recently cropped flattened state of the area. In total contrast to the amazing, often hidden summer blooms, the greenery and the impressive height of the foliage in 3,4, 5 months time. Thank goodness there is a reminder of what it can look like in photographs displayed in the volunteers hut, from summer 2014.
  • In the garden the splash of colour from the heather beds looked spectacular. The Pulmonaris are only just starting to flower. We are looking forward to a good display of Forget-me-nots and lots of Teasels have seeded on the far edge of the annual bed behind the education hut and in the compost heap.
  • The first job was to fill the pond with water and search for toad/frog spawn which is very hard to spot amongst the pondweed. Maybe next time. Marsh marigold leaves were starting to show.
  • Foxgloves planted at the back and Corncockle seedlings planted in the annual bed. Honesty planted on the right. The hedge there, Field maple carefully snipped back to encourage the Blackthorn.
  • The benches were examined and the back leg supports on the bench near the noticeboard needs replacing with 4 inch round wood. Lots of discussion ensued and it was decided that two suitable hardwood trunks of 4 inch width would be adequate. Hopefully they can be found on site.
  • Questions were asked "were the Hebe leaves nibbled or frosted?" As they are  more or less leafless. No protective mesh this winter. Three of the perennial wallflowers 'Bowles mauve' have died. Maybe the site behind the loos is too overcrowded for them. conditions were not quite right - perhaps they needed more mulch?
  • Weeding and mulching was done in the Buddleia area and the scree area. Rabbit holes were filled in and the areas weeded. Compost was scattered around the herbaceous area after weeding.
  • Potted plants for sale were nurtured.
  • Cows were mooing for attention. Birds flitted back and forth across the garden. Two Dunnocks chasing in the bottom hedge. Blue and Great Tits singing. A Robin was interested in us for disturbing the soil and vegetation.

Next Session: 7th April.

3rd March 2015

  • Welcome sunshine today and a strong westerly, perfect for the task of raking off and burning after the annual mowing. We also coppiced one Alder Buckthorn and Blackthorn in the north side hedge to produce new young shoots at the right height for Brimstones in the first case and for Brown Hairstreaks in the latter. No Brown Hairstreak eggs were found in the garden this winter but hopefully the hedge trimming may encourage a female to choose our garden again this autumn.
  • The rabbits have been busy, they seem to favour the scree bed which is strange as below the 6 inches of sand is an Coppicing and Raking Teamimpermeable membrane. Still we have embedded wire netting in the surface as a deterrent. We shall not be pruning the Buddleias until April in order to delay and extend their flowering period.
  • No butterflies in flight today, despite the sunshine. However, volunteers have seen single Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock and Red Admiral in their own gardens. 

Next Session: Tuesday 17th March - Splitting large clumps of perennials and replacing short-lived perennials like 'Bowles Mauve' with some fresh plants grown from cuttings.

10th February 2015

  • The first gardening day of 2015 (last week was cancelled due to snow). Seven hardy souls braved the fog and the cold - it was cold - to make a start on the garden by cutting down the perennials in the more formal beds and preparing the rest for the annual mowing. The winter heathers are flowering with more to come. The Pulmonaria are starting to flower and the Primoses are appearing above the ground. So early emerging butterflies should have a choice of nectar sources.
  • Today a Jay was seen, Blue, Great and Coal Tits. Blackbirds were calling and two Robins hopped around our feet.
  • On the 18th January Richard saw a Small Tortoiseshell in the garden.

Next Session: Tuesday 3rd March - some coppicing and raking off.

January 2015

  • Gardening for butterflies in January...take a break.

Take the advice from Butterfly Conservation via the e-newsletter 'All Aflutter' - "The best thing you can do in your garden to help Butterfly Garden in Winterbutterflies and moths at this time of year is to do nothing! It's time to take a break, leave bushes unpruned and leaf litter undisturbed. Over-wintering species need safe, sheltered places to protect them from the elements."


Next Session: some coppicing, repairs to benches and planning.



See what happened in the garden last year.