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 2017 - all are Tuesdays - anytime between 10.00 am and 3.00 pm

January 2018
6th & 20th
3rd & 17th
1st & 15th
5th & 19th
3rd & 17th

7th & 21st

September 4th (BBQ 4 pm) & 18th
October 2nd & 16th
November 6th
December None

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 Feature

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





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:


 Plants of the Moment

Ivy flowering - J. Spring









Hedera helix (Ivy) - which is an excellent provider of nectar & shelter for late flying Butterflies, particularly Red Admirals


News from the Garden: Our 'Blog'!

7th November 2017

  • A damp wet day for our last session of the year.  So today was spent preparing the garden for winter.  Putting  winter protection around the Hebes. Our wet ground seems to make Hebes more vunerable to cold weather, also in hard winters the Munjac deer come into the garden & make short work of unguarded Hebes.
  • Parts of the large Buddleia bed were cleared, taking out the weeds & heeling in the wanted perennials.  Other perennials surplus to our requirements were bagged up to pass on to other butterfly enthusiasts.
  • One of the annual beds was cleared & covered for a fresh start next spring.  Our experiment of sowing corn with the cornfield flowers achieved our objective of  keeping the flower stems upright -  we hope to repeat this next year.
  • It was good to see the winter heather already showing a few flower buds.

Next Session: Tuesday 20th February 2018

3rd October 2017

  • After Monday's gales it turned out to be a largely sunny and warm day in the garden. We could have done with more like this earlier in the year. The stars of the show were of course the Michaelmas daisies which played host to lots of Red Admirals, Michaelmas Daisy with 3 species of butterflyCommas and Peacocks with smaller numbers of Speckled Wood, Small Tortoiseshells and Large Whites as the supporting cast.
  • The other stars of the show were the team who tackled the many and various tasks to be done to keep the garden looking so good. Everything from manicure trimming of the heather beds to deep-sea diving efforts in the pond as well as endless mowing and shredding, to say nothing of the laborious task of clearing out all the stuff that had 'gone over'.
  • The upshot was good progress in all areas. The pond has had a good space cleared whilst leaving all the vegetation that was removed at the pond side to allow its inhabitants to move back into the water. The shredding and composting is in full swing so thast we will have space for more material which will be removed at at later date. The grassy areas look very good along with the path edges and give a 'cared for' look to the whole area. Some of the jobs on our 'to do' list remain for another time but jobs like hedge trimming and levelling are now complete for this year.

Next Session: 17th October - further thinning of the growth of Bog Bean and the Greater Spearwort in the pond. Fleabane, Hemp Agrimony and Purple Loosestrife will also need more thinning. Collect up seeds and self sown seedlings. Collect up and bag Fleabane for collection.

19th September 2017

  • A beautiful day, lots of butterflies (mostly Red Admirals, Small Tortoiseshells, Commas and Whites) on the massed ranks of Michaelmas Daisies - what a spectacle. Lots of photos were taken but then work has to be done.Harrington's Pink Michaelmas Daisies with butterflies
  • The pond had been getting better and better each year, but has now reached the point where if we don't do something soon the water will not be visible next year for all the plant growth. So we are starting the process of thinning the growth, particularly of the Bog Bean and Greater Spearwort which are competing for total dominance. We do pot up our surplus plants and pass them on to 'good homes'.
  • We added to our stock of Sweet Rocket, Sweet Williams, Joe Pye Weed, winter flowering heathers and Foxgloves - all good for butterflies and bees.

Next Session: 3rd October - continue with thinning the pond plants and other aggressive perennials.

5th September 2017

  • Despite the damp conditions, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Green-veined White were seen today. Red Admirals on the beautiful Harrington's Pink Michaelmas Daisies being harassed by Hornets.Sedum spectabile
  • Also seen were 7-Spot Ladybird, Buff-tailed Bumblebees, a Snout-type moth plus lots of Migrant Hawker Dragonflies in the lane. The Michaelmas Daisies and Sedums were the stars of the day.
    The human species managed some cutting back and dead-heading before the rain came.
  • The rain being a good excuse to start the annual end of season BBQ early.

Next Session: 19th September

22nd August 2017

  • The perfect day I think - such colour, so many insects and sunshine too. Just to stand between the tall beds of brilliant Golden rod and hear the loud buzz of insects - magic.Golden rod with hoverfly - Colin Beck
  • Eight species of buttefly, three species of Dragonfly and two species of Damselfly. Hornets and any number of bees and Cardoon with Red Admiral - Colin BeckHoverflies recorded by Alan and photographed by Colin. See the photos of the Red Admiral on the beautiful Cardoon head (Cynara cardunculus).
  • The volunteers were busy too, keeping on top of the dead-heading and making space for the Michaelmas Daisies and Sedums which are bursting into flower now. They will keep attracting the insects for the next month and beyond.

Next Session: 5th September - a short gardening session from 2.00 pm followed by the BBQ for the volunteers.

8th August 2017

  • Heavy rain all day - no gardening

Next Session: 22nd August - please, no rain!

18th July 2017

  • Twelve species of butterfly in the garden today, a good number of Red Admirals and Peacocks plus Small Tortoiseshells, Comma, Painted Lady, Large, Small and Green-veined Whites, a Large Skipper, Meadow Brown, Ringlet and Gatekeeper.Comma on Chinese Loosestrife - James Hewson
  • The garden was looking good too, with Purple Loosestrife, Buddleia, Lavender, Marjoram, Field Scabious and Hemp Agrimony being the key attractions for the butterflies at the moment. Other less well known perennials flowering are Agastache, Lysimachia clethroides (Chinese Loosestrife), Inula and in the pond yellow Fringed water lily.Fringed water lily - James Hewson
  • We erected new information posters for the Open Day on Sunday 30th July and did our best to subdue the perisistent growth of Bindweed which is making a bid for our newly laid hedge.

Next Session: 8th August

4th July 2017

  • Hooray, there were butterflies in the garden today - Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Red Admiral, Large Skipper, plus a Purple Emperor in the car park. Also seen, a 6-spot Burnet moth, Banded Demoiselle, Azure and Large Red Damselflies.
  • The mini cornfield in one of the new annual beds was looking particularly good, though not many Poppies or corn stalks - the corn was sown to support the flowers but Cornflowers and Corn Marigolds are successfully supporting each other so far. We Red tailed Bumblebee on Cornflowersprinkled the poppy seed on the surface of the soil, but may be poppy seeds need to be raked in well - we will try again next year.
  • The biennial Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea), a new plant for us is putting on a good show at the moment and attracting lots of insects.
  • Lots of purple Buddleias are in full flower so we will need to keep dead-heading to prolong the flowering. Many other plants are flowering earlier this year, just as well that the inscets are emerging early too.

Next Session: 18th July - dead-heading, bindweed 'bashing' and erecting posters for the Open Day on Sunday 30th July

20th June 2017

  • Thankfully not as hot today as predicted, in fact not sunny enough for any butterflies again. However seven Grass snakes were seen leaving the compost heap and three Hawker Dragonfly larval cases were found by the pond.Dragonfly exuvia of nymph case
  • Everything has grown so much. After five weeks the grass took some cutting down to size but we managed it. I can't way we beat the Bindweed but we tried. However there were lots of flowers and even more ready to burst open.
  • Buddleias look ready to open, in fact some have - so it may be a good idea to give some bushes a prune to ensure flowers in August. The variety Buddleia 'weyeriana' with yellow tassels will continue flowering into the late autumn.
  • The annual Phacelia tanacetifolia (used as a green manure) attracts lots of insects and can be sown at monthly intervals to give a continual flowering.

Next Session: 4th July

6th June 2017

  • Success - at least eight Orange tip caterpillars found on the Sweet Rocket. So it was worth turning out on such a wet day as today. Also a reminder to always check Sweet Rocket before dead-heading.Orange tip caterpillar
  • 100+ Orchid heads were scattered across the garden and Greater Spearwort making a good display in the pond. We decided this year to make sure we had plenty of Sheep's Sorrel, the foodplant of Small Copper caterpillars. So we were disappointed that the seeds sown in the autumn have not germinated. However, today we discovered lots of self-sown plants already in the garden.
  • We heard that Broad-bordered Bee Hawkmoths were seen in the garden last week but of course none were seen in today's rain. Greater Spearwort
  • The beds for annuals are filling out well and should make a good show over the next two months

Next Session: 20th June

16th May 2017

  • A damp day today, so excellent conditions for planting the last of the annuals - Nasturtium, Cosmos and more Echium. We took the netting off, leaving the annuals to the mercy of the local fauna - wild and domestic who seem to find this area particularly attractive.
  • The Forget-me-nots that provided that lovely blue haze as well as nectar, were reluctantly removed as in three weeks when we return they will be well and truly over. It does make space for the next plants to flower and we always leave a few to set seed for next year.
  • Our newest volunteer all of two and a half months old and his mother joined us in the garden, he took the role of the sleeping partner most of the time...but still delighted everybody.
  • The invaluable Red Valerian is coming into flower now - such an attractive plant for insects. Let's hope the Broad-bordered Red ValerianBee Hawkmoths pay us a visit again this year. Too wet for butterflies today but we did see a Nursery Web Spider, a large Toad and a Large Red Damsefly. Singing Willow Warblers and Blackcaps provided a welcome backdrop.

Next Session: 6th June - three weeks time.

2nd May 2017

  • An Orange tip was seen in the garden today. The Erysimum Bowles Mauve was looking good and the pond was a mass of Bog Bean with its surprisingly beautiful flower heads. We planted seedlings of Echium Blue Bedder and Borage in the bed for Orange tip maleannuals both of which did so well last year.
  • The heather which is still flowering was weeded and mulched with garden compost. At the next session it will get a light trim to keep it compact. The garden is coping well with the lack of rain. It is a wet site so there is plenty of moisture beneath the surface for established plants.Ken and the wall
  • Ken made a very good job of repairing the low wall which had been in danger of crumbling - see photo.

Next Session: 16th May

18th April 2017

  • The first butterfly was seen on a working day this year - a Green-veined white. We also saw several Bee flies - they seem to like the Comfrey.
  • The garden is bursting into life again with these sunny days.The soil is drying out and was easier to work, so there was a lot of weeding and mulching done today. Seedlings brought for the annual beds however, have been take home to be matured until next time, as there are still cold nights to come. Last year we lost Nasturtiums by planting them out too early.
  • We did add more Erysimum Blowes Mauve (plants that were already in flower), also Honesty and Hebes. Over 50 Common Spotted Orchids have already been identified scattered around the garden - all marked to avoid losing their heads to the mower.

Next Session: 2nd May - planting the annual flower beds

4th April 2017

  • Dull and cool today so no butterflies. We were delighted to see the cornfield seeds sown last time are already showing growth. The timing and the weather must have been just right. It is hoped that the corn will provide a natural support for the flowers.
  • We also sowed seeds of Phacalia and Echium vulgare 'Blue Bedder' which did so well last year.Primroses 2017
  • The compost heap has produced excellent compost this year, due in part to shredding the garden prunings and a constant supply of horse manure. Today it was sieved and spread liberally as a mulch on the perennials.
  • Frogspawn had hatched, but the recent dry, warm weather has meant that the pond needed topping up already.
  • Honesty and the reliable Erysimum 'Bowles Mauve' are starting to flower.
  • A Bullfinch came down to the feeders. Blackcap and Chiffchaff were both heard.

Next Session: 18th April

21st March 2017

  • Unbelievably a third perfect gardening day - will our luck last? Completed hedge, thanks to the team of Nev, James, Alan and Colin ably led by Steve - well done to all. The rest of us pruned Buddleias, planted more Primroses and Snowdrops. Did some weeding and divided perennial Michaelmas Daisies.Hedge close up - Colin Beck
  • The first annual bed was sown with Cornfield seeds - Cornflower, Corn Marigold and Poppies. For the first time ever there is Frogspawn in the pond. It will be interesting to see if we get the usual Toadspawn as well.
  • In flower today - Heathers, Pulmonaria, Primroses, Hyacinths and Comfrey. No butterflies or Honey bees, just a few Bumblebees.

Next Session: 4th April - more shredding, spreading and sowing annuals.

7th March 2017

  • Perfect gardening weather again, but rather wet underfoot. The hedge-laying continues, in fact the end of the initial laying was reached. Next time it will be completing the staking and binding the top.Hedge Laying
  • Today we started cutting back the perennials in the more formal beds and identifying those plants we want and removing the interlopers. The garden looks raher bare at this time of the year with all the perennials cut back, but still plenty of bees on the winter flowering Heathers, Pulmonaria, Viburnum x bodnantense and primroses that are all in flower. No butterflies seen today.Bee on Pulmonaria

Next Session: 21st March - Completing the hedge-laying and mulching the formal beds

21st February 2017

  • The perfect gardening - mild and sunny. Bees were busy on the Heather, Snowdrops and on the flowering Viburnum x bodnantense. Bees on viburnum - Colin Beck
  • More Primroses were added - they provide early nectar and look so good at the base of the hedges. The hedging continues and the expertise is increasing. Brash was shredded to add to the compost heap, spent horse manure will be mixed with it next week. Last year's mix is ready to be spread liberally on the flower beds in the coming months.
  • We are starting some annuals - Borage, Agastache, Nasturtiums and Echium vulgare blue bedder - indoors as we did last year. It worked well for our cold, wet, clay soil.

Next Session: 7th March - Starting work on the more formal flower beds, weeding, dividing and adding more plants.

24th January 2017

  • A cold start for the hedgers this morning, but the sun soon appeared. Under Steve's guidance good progress is being made.
  • The winter flowering heather is opening to provide nectar for any early flying insects. Now is the time to think of how we can allHedge Laying add nectar to our gardens. Erysimum Bowle's Mauve that flowers almost all year round, Red Valerian which will continue to flower if cut back after first flowering, Marjoram popular with so many species of butterfly or Michaelmas Daisies for later in the year. If you are short on space then plant a 'Pot for Pollinators' - see Butterfly Conservation's home page for more information.

Next Sessions: 7th February for continuing to lay the hedge,
21st February for the annual mowing, dividing up perennials and planning the scheme for the annual beds.