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 2014/15 - all are Tuesdays - anytime between 10.00 am and 3.00 pm

September 2nd & 16th
October 7th & 21st
November 4th
Dec & Jan None
February 3rd
March 3rd & 17th
April 7th & 21st

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 - J. Spring








Ivy - Hedera helix
very popular with late flying Red Admirals, as well as offering shelter over the winter for many species of insect.


News from the Garden: Our 'Blog'!

4th November

  • Our last gardening day of the year. A good turnout, the last day started very cold but by lunchtime we were dining 'al fresco'.
    Not sure if it was the warmth of the sunshine or the heat generated by all the digging.Alfresco lunch
  • Digging out Fleabane to clear a bed for annuals next season. Also digging our invasive Narrow leaved Michaelmas Daisies to give the Water Mint and Yellow Flag some room to breathe, and reducing the onward march of Golden Rod. Fortunately the conditions were ideal for the job.
  • Collected seeds from Joe Pye Weed -Eupatorium purpureum - a larger version of Hemp Agrimony and equally attractive to insects. It is a native of North America.
  • One Red Admiral was seen after lunch, Buzzards were overhead and in addition to the regular birds we saw Blackcap and Bullfinches.
  • Next Time: Tuesday 3rd February 2015


21st October


  • Joyce and Colin valiantly braved the rough weather to top up the pond and do some dead-heading.


7th October


  • Despite the rain, a good turn-out of gardeners. Somebody did put the question "are we dedicated or mad?", but I didn't hear an answer. The Michaelmas daisies, especially the tall Harrington's Pink, are still putting on a good show.
  • Unsurprisingly no butterflies today, but we did disturb a Great Diving Beetle and several dragonfly nymphs as we hauled a largeGreat Diving Beetle amount of Canadian pondweed out of the pond. It is OK to do this now, but we left the pondweed on the side of the pond until next time to allow any creatures to creep back into the pond. We had a donation of Hornwort a native pondweed which we hope will thrive, plus more Arrowhead and a Flowering Rush.
  • We planted fresh Thyme on the scree bed and moved some Buddleias into the hedge. We continued to deadhead the more vigorous plants, although most will be left for the widlife to enjoy until we have our major cut right across the garden in March.
  • Up to four Common Buzzards circled overhead as the weather improved.
  • Next time: Definitely weather permitting - removing the old, dry pondweed. Making sure that the early flowering plants like Pulmonaria have room to expand.

16th September

  • Red Admirals were the stars in the garden today - lots, big and beautiful. Mainly on the tall Michaelmas daisies - Harrington's Pink - see flower of the month. This plant is at its best at the moment and will hopefully continue for a while yet.
  • Later more sunshine brought out Small Tortoiseshell, Brimstone, Small White, a Comma and a Small Copper.
  • The gardeners amongst us began to implement our re-assessment plan of reducing and relocating over enthusiastic perennials Comma on Aster x frikartii monch - J. Springlike Fleabane, Hemp Agrimony, Yellow and Purple Loosestrife - starting with the scree bed which was created for drought tolerant scrub plants like Birds Foot Trefoil, Vipers Blugloss, Rock Rose, Small Scabious and Thyme.
  • We also scattered Yellow Rattle seeds that should reduce the grass around the margins,
    allowing Devils bit Scabious, Knapweed and Meadow Cranesbill to flourish.
  • Seeds from the annual Vipers Blugloss were saved for next year.

  • Next time: Reducing the amount of weed in the pond. Digging up surplus Fleabane - available for collection - please contact Audrey.

2nd September

Today, some gardening followed by a BBQ for Garden Volunteers. The garden is looking good, still lots fo Purple Loosestrife and Fleabane.

  • A number of Small Tortoiseshells were seen during a sunny break, and later a Red Admiral and Small White. Also a single Hummingbird Hawkmoth.
  • Buddleia x weyeriana golden glowSpent time assessing the garden bed by bed. Making notes on the successes, the failures, which plants are threatening to take over and which good plants are in danger of being squeezed out. We decided to remove the seed heads from the Hemp Agrimony (Eupatorium cannibunum) as it has had an exceptionally good year and it does seed everywhere. A strange plant, a good coloniser of bare patches but it does not like too much competition.
  • We continued to dead head the Buddleias. The more common Buddleia davidii are mostly finished, but Buddleia x Weyeriana with its golden yellow flowers will continue to provide a good nectar source until late November.

  • Next time: More seed collections and starting to put our review into action.

19th August

  • Another gardening day - greeted today by the stunning combination fo Purple Loosestrife and Golden Rod.
    Combination of Purple Loosestrife and Golden Rod - A. Spring
  • Spent time dead heading Buddleias to extend their flowering period. Also making sure the Sedums and dwarf Michaelmas Daisies which are about to come into flower, have light and room to flower well. These, together with the tall varieties of Michaelmas Daisies will
    provide good nectar sources well into autumn.
  • A Red Admiral was seen feeding on fallen plums.
  • Two Grass Snakes were seen leaving the compost heap as we arrived and later a Southern Hawker was ovipositing around the pond.
  • Spells of sunshine also brought out Small Tortoiseshells, Whites with a single Common Blue and Meadow Brown. A Hummingbird Hawkmoth was spotted which almost disappeared when it settled down with its wings closed.

  • Next time: More seed collecting, cutting back those plants that we would prefer not to seed and reviewing the success and failures of the year so far.
    NB See section on dates and times.

27th July

Branch Open Day and Butterfly Walk here at Chambers Farm Wood and butterfly garden.

  • Good weather, lots of flowers, particularly Purple Loostrife and yellow Fleabane. Lots of butterflies and lots of people - an excellent day. The plant sale went well, especially the specialist butterfly plants from the garden like Hemp Agrimony, Purple Loosestrife and Michaelmas Daisies - not easy to find in garden centres. Open Day in the Garden - J. Spring
  • Fleabane was much sought after. A great plant for all insects. Small Coppers favour it, but it can be rather invasive for a normal garden. However, great if you have a wild area beyond your garden. There are still plants left, which will be on sale over the summer on Gardening Days (see above).
  • Next Time: Collecting seeds, deadheading and planning for next year.


15th July


  • Lots of butterflies today - Large and Small Skippers, Large and Green veined Whites, lots of Ringlets, Gatekeepers and a single Specked Wood, Comma and Meadow Brown. 20+ Small Tortoiseshells dividing their time between the Hemp Agrimony, Marjoram and Buddleias. These three plants are in full flower now.

    Small Tortoiseshells
  • The Purple Loosestrife is about to burst into life along with the Golden Rod - the combination is quite stunning. The Golden Rod is particularly attractive to insects, you can hear the buzzing from across the garden.
  • We were kept busy dead-heading and making room for the next plants to flower like Nicotianas - great plants for moths. They are also popular with slugs so we surround the new plants with coarse grit as a deterrent.
  • We renewed the posters on each display area of the garden, listing the plants each area contains ready for the Branch Open Day.
  • Not only was the compost sieving completed, but the heap was turned and the structure repaired using redundant wooden pallets, kindly supplied by the Forestry Commission.
  • No Dragonflies today, just one Azure Damselfly and a Toad.

Next Time: Topping up the pond and collecting seeds, particularly of Yellow Rattle which we use to help stop the grassses from overwhelming the flowers.



1st July

  • A perfect day for gardening - plenty of helpers, time for a walk in the wood to successfully find White Admirals, plus cake.
  • Red Valerian is still drawing the crowds (insects and photographers), Hebes and Lavender in full flower with Marjoram and Buddleias starting. The garden is really lush after this excellent growing weather although the annuals are not doing so well but there is still time yet. Both Small and Large Skippers were seen in the garden, providing a good opportunity for everyone to take note of the distinguishing features. We continued to dead-head and weed - unfortunately the bindweed is begining to get the upper hand. The compost heap is yielding lots of bags of good compost.

    The Composters - James Hewson
  • We also saw Red Admiral, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell, Ringlet. Four Spotted Chaser and a single Banded Demoiselle flew past. A common Lizard was seen playing hide and seek on the wall as we had our coffee break.

Next time: General tidying for the Branch Open Day, preparing plants for sale and finish turning the compost heap.


June 17th

  • Hurrah! Orange Tip caterpillars were found on the Sweet Rocket - we count that a success! OT - Dave Thompson 
  • 3 Broad-bordered Bee Hawkmoths again, they cannot get enough of our Red Valerian.  
  • Insufficient sunshine today to see which butterflies are enjoying the beautiful Sweet Williams & Lavenders now in flower.  
  • Large clumps of Marjoram are about to burst into flower.  
  • Other plants are going to flower early this year, including Buddleias,  so we have given some of them a late ‘Chelsea Chop’ to try to ensure flowers into August and beyond.  
  • Added more Hebes today & sowed seeds of Foxgloves for planting out next year.

Next time: Mostly thinning & dead-heading.

3rd June
Gardening today was full of surprises.  It started with rain & ended in sunshine which  brought out the only Butterfly, a Brimstone.  But

HD - Audrey Springwe were not short of distractions.  It began with 3 Broad-bordered Bee Hawkmoths on Red Valerian, then an Angle Shades hidden in Hemp Agrimony plus Mullein caterpillars in Figwort. 

In the pond we saw Newts, & Dragonfly larvae & flying round were a Broad-bodied Chaser & a Large Red Damselfly.  Looking closer, with visitors, at & around the pond we found at least 10 empty Dragonfly larval cases (exuviae) on blades of grass & then we spotted a Hawker Dragonfly actually emerging (see photo) – great excitement!  It looked like a Southern Hawker, but seems too early.  In between we actually did some gardening, mowing, finishing sowing annual seeds – blue Cornflowers – and the usual weeding & deadheading.  We also planted more Rudbeckia Goldsturm & Nicotiana  sylvestris to boost our nectar sources for later in the summer.

 Next time:  Trimming back plants that have flowered & making space for those yet to come.  Taking cutting of favourite Buddlieas & Hebes. Yet more bindweed bashing.  Looking for evidence of Brimstone caterpillars on Alder Buckthorns, & Orange Tip caterpillars on Sweet Rocket & Honesty.



30th May

Mark Johnson reports seeing 3 Broad-bordered Bee Hawkmoths (Hemaris fuciformis) in the Butterfly Garden.

BBBHawkmoth Mark Johnson

20th May
Male & female Orange Tip were seen in the garden today plus a female Brimstone, so hopefully we shall find eggs/caterpillars on the Sweet Rocket & the Alder Buckthorn next time we visit.  Yellow Rock Rose & Bird’s Foot Trefoil are flowering well on the Scree bed.  Forget-me-nots still going, but reluctantly removed most to make room for next round of flowering plants – Marjoram, Marigolds, Agastache, Sedums etc

Four-spot & Broad-Bodied Chasers, Azure & Large Red Damelflies were whizzing around the pond.  A Turtle Dove watched usMating Marsh Frit - James from a tree at the bottom of the garden.  A Hummingbird Hawkmoth was seen in the wood, lets hope it finds our beautiful array of Sweet Rocket & Red Valerian in the garden. 

We took time out to walk to Little Scrubbs Meadow to see the Marsh Fritillaries – James took a photo of this mating pair.

Next time: Completing the sowing of annuals, trying to keep on top of the bindweed & prepare more plants for sale.

17th May
Wall to wall sunshine! Temperatures soaring up to 24 deg.C! Many people out enjoying the Butterfly Garden, including an Art group.

Broad-bodied Chaser (LGP)Also enjoying the fine  weather was this handsome Broad-bodied Chaser. He shot around the pond and immediate garden, alighting regularly on one or another of two overhanging sticks - put there for the purpose!  



30th April
Orange Tips in the garden  – with Sweet Rocket (Hesperis Matronalis)  just coming into bloom, good timing.  I identified shoots of the elusive Joe-Pye weed (Eupatorium purpureum) today, – a good Butterfly plant for later in the summer.  All the plants, wanted & unwanted are thriving in this excellent growing weather.  We are particularly plagued by Bindweed, so put in canes at this time of year for the young shots to grow up, making them easier to identify & remove.

A Willow Warbler joined the bird chorus, & we heard a Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming close by.

Next time:  Sowing more annuals.  Keeping a check on those unwanted plants.  Potting up spare plants to sell at our Open Day



15th April

There be Dragons (Audrey Spring)A sunny warm day so Butterflies at last – Peacocks, Brimstone & a Comma with a  Green-veined White & an Orange Tip seen in the wood.  The garden is bursting into life – a sea of  Forget-me-nots & Primroses;  Sweet Rocket & Red Valerian about to take over from the Pulmonaria; the ever dependable Erysimum ‘Bowles’s Mauve’ well in flower already, & will continue until October.  Buddleias pruned today & we did our best to keep on top of the unwanted plants.  Lots of  Smooth Newts in the pond also Dragonfly Nymphs & Caddis Fly larvae.  A Blackcap joined the Chiffchaff in serenading us today with Sparrowhawks & Common Buzzards overhead

Next time  Sowing annuals – Cornflowers, Phaclia, Corn Marigold, Nasturtiums, Candytuft & Cosmos.  Planting more Echinacae & Hebes.  Cutting down Pulmonaria almost to the ground to encourage fresh new growth.



1st April – another dull morning with just 1 Brimstone at midday though volunteers all had Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshell & Comma in their own Cowslip by Audreygardens this weekend.  Have a good show of Primroses with Cowslips opening too.  Serenaded by a Chiffchaff in the trees & a Pied Wagtail on the roof.   Spent much of morning relocating plants; Teasels from flower beds to grassy margins, Sedums into sunny positions etc.  We aim to make a decent clump of the popular plants – easier for insects to find, more nectar per metre travelled.

Next time: checking we have plenty of Honesty & Sweet Rocket coming along for Orange Tips, planting more Hebes & Echinacea for the summer & sowing the first annuals – we will be sowing a succession of annuals hopefully for an extended display.

Pumonia offic.



18th March: In flower and ready for passing butterflies: Winter Heather & Pulmonaria (illustrated) with Primroses starting. Unfortunately, no butterflies or bees today as 'rain stopped play'! However, a frog was seen in the pond & a Buzzard passed overhead.

Next month: Preparing the seed bed for Annuals. Pruning back Buddleias - we do it later & stagger the pruning to prolong the flowering season into August & September.