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

  • Small Tortoiseshell - Matt Berry
    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.

The Garden continues to be maintained and developed by a team of enthusiastic volunteers and with the kind permission of Forestry England. It is designed to be at its best from June through to late September, though we hope that it will be of interest all the year round. The garden is always open for you to wander around, to enjoy the peace and tranquility.

Chambers Farm Wood LN8 5JR (Grid ref: TF 147740) CFW ......... is located off B1202 Bardney to Wragby Road on Hoop Lane (signed to Langton) – after 200yds take first narrow lane to the right.

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!'

Contact: Margaret Westcott (tel: 01205 750719)

 Gardening: Dates and Times

Month Dates
January 2024 None
February 20th
March 5th and 19th
April 2nd and 16th
May 7th and 21st
June 4th and 18th
July 2nd and 16th
August 6th and 20th
September 3rd and 17th
October 1st and 15th
November 5th
December None

For all gardening, please wear appropriate clothing and footwear. Please bring your own tools and refreshments.
Please note: all dates are provisional and will depend on the weather conditions, so, please check with Margaret (tel: 01205 750719) to confirm before travelling.

Butterfly Garden History

In 1992 Peter Cawdell met with Peter Webb, (Forestry Commission Officer for the Bardney Limewoods). Peter Webb asked if the Branch would like to take on the rough area behind the old tractor shed that was being developed as a Visitor's Centre, as the BC Lincolnshire Branch Butterfly Garden.
A butterfly garden on the edge of one of the best butterfly habitats in the County, right next to the new Visitors Centre where the branch would be allowed to hold their Committee and Members meetings, and a volunteer building where branch tools could be stored along with equipment and paperwork. How could the Branch say no!
Peter drew up a plan for the garden and regular work parties at weekends and evenings set to work to create the garden. Hedges were planted and the pond was dug out by hand.
Peter had successfully applied for a substantial British Gas grant specifically targeted at providing disabled access and public toilets for the project. Using these funds, the concrete paths around and through the garden were installed, which conveniently separated the various flower beds. Bird boxes and a bird feeding station were installed, so the garden was more a wildlife garden than just for butterflies and other pollinators.
The garden was eventually completed to plan and started to be used during branch events in 1993.
The garden was dedicated to a leading Lincolnshire entomologist Joe Duddington who had died in 1992, while on a butterfly holiday with branch members. Mick Speight made the plaque that stands near the. entrance to the garden.

Butterfly Garden in the making
Butterfly Garden in the making

Mick died in 2009, shortly after the branch had celebrated its 25th anniversary. The notice board inside the garden is dedicated to Mick.
The Tsar plum tree is dedicated to Ray Mitchell, who was involved at the start of the garden project. Peter chose this variety of plum as he had seen a Camberwell Beauty nectaring on fallen fruit of this type within the County – hoping that one would make its way to the garden someday – we all live in hope!
Initially the garden was being managed as a wildlife reserve rather than a garden. At an AGM, John Petyt approached Peter and suggested that the garden would be a better ambassador for wildlife gardening if it was planted with butterfly/pollinator friendly garden plants. This was quite a suggestion and needed careful consideration.
Around this time, in 2006, Audrey Spring took an interest in the butterfly garden and soon became the unofficial leader of the gardening group who managed the garden on a regular basis. Audrey gathered together an enthusiastic group of 10 - 20 loyal volunteers, including Ron Fox who was always there to lend a hand or advice. With Audrey's guidance and persistence the garden has become the fantastic facility that it is today.

High summer in the garden
High summer in the garden

The garden is always a good spot to visit before and after a walk in the Chambers Farm Wood complex, to see what is about. The garden draws the occasional rarities from the wider woodland. Species such as White Admiral, Purple Emperor, and Silver-washed Fritillary in their season. Brown Hairstreak use the blackthorn every autumn to lay their eggs. Richard Davidson has found 40 there this last winter (2021-22).

Top Ten Plants for Butterflies

Peacock - Tim Melling
  • 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

Plant of the Moment









Pulmonarias (also known as Lungwort) are always good for early pollinators


News from the Garden: Our 'Blog'!

March 2024

  • Two good working days in March and much has been accomplished. We are continuing to weed and mulch the flower beds, thin out the pond plants, and prune back the Buddleias.
    Gardeners at work
    Gardeners at work
  • Observing and recording wildlife in the garden always takes a priority, adding a huge interest to the day. Observing newly emerged queen bumblebees brings out the cameras. So far we have recorded Buff-tailed, Red-tailed, Tree, Common Carder, Vestal Cuckoo Bee and the Hairy-footed Flower Bee.
  • A parasitic fly, Tachina ursina, was watched patrolling a small area near the pond, when a second one appeared. They settled to be photographed. 
  • During March we have also noted a young Grass Snake, a few voles, Bee-fly, Plume Moth, and many species of birds. Two species of butterflies are on the wing, Peacock and Brimstone.
  • Quite unexpectantly, a self-seeded Stinking Hellebore turned up, complete with its tell-tale leaf miner.

Our next dates are 2nd and 16th April.

February 2024

  • A new gardening season begins, and luckily for us, it was a day without rain.
  • There was a feeling of Spring in the air as we worked. Primroses were popping up here and there, snowdrops amongst long grass, and the heather positively buzzing with honey bees and four species of bumble bee.
  • The boggy end of the garden was, well, boggy, but between us we managed to weed out some beds and cut back perennials, which were prepared for composting.
  • We are hopeful that the garden has bred Brown Hairstreaks this year, as many eggs have been spotted on the blackthorn.
  • The gardeners are looking forward to an uninterrupted years gardening, with many butterflies and many visitors.
  • New volunteers are always welcome. Please see the gardening calendar, and call in for a friendly chat.
We next meet in March on 5th and 19th.

November 2023

  • Another gardening season comes to an end, celebrated with cake and more cake!
  • The Michaelmas Daisies are now over, and will be cut back in March.
  • The new Salvia bed has been especially attractive to bees, and the Hummingbird Hawkmoth. It is still in flower, and we hope will survive the winter.
  • The native hedge has many overwintering Brown Hairstreak eggs. This is really exciting news.
  • A new species of beetle to the garden is the Rosemary Beetle, with iridescent red and green stripes.
    Rosemary beetle
  • The gardeners come from far and wide to work in the garden, twice a month, from February to November.
    We always welcome new members. Please contact Margaret on 01205 750719.

August 2023

  • August brings our various species of buddleia into full bloom. The butterfly species are up to 15, and include large numbers of Red Admirals.
    Common Blue
  • Other wildlife seen includes grass snakes, hoverflies, day- flying moths, shieldbug nymphs, grasshoppers and crickets.
  • The garden is very colourful, with blossoms of helenium reaching upwards of 2 metres, falling gracefully over the soft blue globe thistles. The golden rod contrasts beautifully with the purple loosestrife.
  • The next gardening dates are 5th and 19th September.
    The access road has some closure dates in September for maintenance.

July 2023

  • July brings us lots of rain with sunshine in between. The butterfly species are up to 11, including the Silver-washed Fritillary. A regular visitor is the Hummingbird Hawkmoth which is attracted to the salvia bed.
    Hummingbird Hawkmoth
    Hummingbird Hawkmoth
  • With a wealth of annuals and perennials, bees and hoverflies abound, while over the pond skim chasers, darters and Damselflies.
  • Our buddleia varieties are coming into flower, with the promise of great butterfly attraction, a magnet for our enthusiastic visitors
  • Weeding and deadheading are high on the agenda.

The next gardening dates are 1st and 15th August.
Please visit any day, or pop in for a chat on a gardening day.

June 2023

  • June has brought out the butterflies, with Large White, Large Skipper, Meadow Brown, Red Admiral and Speckled Wood. Alongside these are the caterpillars of the Brimstone, Orange-tip and the Mullein Moth. The latter has decimated its host plant, Common Mullein.
    Large Skipper
  • Over the pond skims a male Broad-bodied Chaser, and Large Red Damselflies take up residence.
  • Clumps of Red Valerian attract the Broad-bordered Bee Hawkmoth, which in turn attracts the visitors with their cameras. Also, the pretty Currant Clearwing is about.
  • The garden is looking promising, the new salvia bed already drawing pollinators.
  • The Butterfly Garden is always open.

The next gardening dates are 4th and 18th July

May 2023

  • Having completed two sessions in May, the garden is beginning to take shape, and the butterflies are appearing.
    Holly Blues and Orange-tips flit before us, while a Red Admiral dashes through.
    Crucifer Shieldbug (Eurydema oleracea)
  • With the sun comes a mass of Hairy Shieldbugs, and a few Crucifer Shieldbugs. Nursery-web spiders soak up the sun, and a Crab spider awaits its prey. A Dock Bug was scrutinised and the return of the Mint Moth noted.
  • As the Spring flowers go over the Red Campion lights up the garden, together with the perennial wallflower Bowles Mauve.

The next sessions are 6th and 20th June. Please pop in and say 'hello'.

April 2023

  • Time marches on, and with improved weather, the garden is no longer waterlogged. Our major tasks have been weeding the beds and dividing perennials. In flower now are Primroses and the Wallflower-Bowles Mauve.
  • Now is a good time of year to sow Hardy Annuals which are good for pollinators, such as Borage, Calendula and Phacelia.
  • Butterflies seen in the garden this month have included Brimstone, Peacock, Red Admiral and an unidentified white. We were lucky enough to watch a Brimstone laying on our Alder Buckthorn.
    Brimstone butterfly egg on Alder Buckthorn
  • Next gardening dates for May are 2nd and 16th, when we will be in No-Mow-May.
  • New volunteers are always welcome.

Tuesday 21 March 2023

  • March, and two more gardening sessions have been completed. The weather has been very wet and half of the garden suffering from being waterlogged. We carry on regardless!
  • The Lincoln Conservation Group very kindly gave us a full day’s work. The perennial beds were finally cleared, the hazel hedge reduced in height, and one small bed cleared of roots ready for a revamp.
    Lincoln Conservation group at work
    Lincoln Conservation group at work
  • Another new bird box has been sited, the snowdrops added to, and overwintered perennials planted up.
  • The new oak borders to the annual beds will give them a new lease of life. One is sown with Phacelia, and plans made for the coming season.
  • Our next session is Tuesday 4th April 2023. New volunteers would be most welcome.

Tuesday 21 February 2023

  • What a lovely spring day for our first gardening session of the season......and we have two new seats in place courtesy of Forestry England
  • We were able to get started with pruning the Buddleias, and cutting back some of the perennials in the smaller beds
  • Two new birdboxes, made by one of our volunteers, were put in place in readiness for occupation
  • A rather big task, removing some old weed suppressant, was finally completed ready for a revamp of the shrub bed. The annual beds have also been prepared with compost added
  • All in all, the garden has survived the Winter months, and we look forward to a full year’s long as the access road remains open
  • Next gardening date will be Tuesday 7th March, 10am-3pm


Tuesday 1 November 2022

  • Our last session of the season, and a time to celebrate the achievements of the year with cake and more cake!
  • The timber for the annual beds had been delivered, and work was concentrated on constructing the new frames to replace the old boards which were collapsing. These oak sleepers should last for years
    Installing new annual bed border
    Installing new annual bed border
  • Red Admirals were still about, and a Common Darter over the pond
  • Perennials will not be cut back until March, which is the current advice
  • Our new season starts on Tuesday, 21st February, 2023.
  • New volunteers are always welcome, or just come along for a chat

Tuesday 18 October 2022

  • The weather was beautiful, the strong autumn sunlight illuminating the Michaelmas daisies, with Red Admirals flitting from flower to flower.
  • The gardeners worked steadily, clearing grass from the beds, and moving Teasels and Forget-me-nots to new homes.
    Marigolds in the butterfly garden
    Marigolds in the butterfly garden
  • One plot has been revamped and covered with plastic and garden compost, ready to receive Salvias next year. It's new to ideas which keep the garden moving on.
  • The bird boxes were examined and cleaned out. Of the three, two have been used this year.
  • Now is a good time to sow hardy annuals. Garlic Mustard, the native foodplant for the Orange-tip butterfly, was sown in scarified patches under the hedgerow.
  • Our last session for the year will be on Tuesday, 1st November.

Tuesday 4 October 2022

  • Today, the gardeners enjoyed a shared picnic lunch, and celebrated a successful season’s work, despite the slow start.
  • We were joined by our new Recreational Ranger, who has been working towards improving the facilities for the gardeners.
    The garden is looking splendid with all the various species of michaelmas daisies in bloom.
  • Five butterfly species were seen, which included one hibernating inside a wheelbarrow!
  • The pond has had its final clearout, and two species of dragonfly were on the wing.
  • On clearing one of the beds for rejuvenation, a small troop of Blackening Waxcaps were identified. These beautiful and brightly coloured little fungi could well have gone unnoticed.
    Blackening Waxcap
    Blackening Waxcap
  • The hop, which had become enormous this year, has now been cut back to reveal the Viburnum.
  • The grass, and paths have  been tidied, and state of the beds reviewed.
  • Now is a good time of year to sow collected poppy seeds and corncockle, also to prepare ground for Yellow Rattle.
  • Our next session is Tuesday, 18th October.

Tuesday 20 September 2022

  • Since the volunteers have been able to work in the garden, many tasks have been achieved.
  • The paths have been cleared of grass.
  • Annual and perennial beds weeded and tidied.
  • The pond has had a good clear out. A Southern Hawker was soon gliding over the surface.
  • A new bed has been prepared for Salvias, which will be set in the Spring.
  • Also, the gardeners were able to meet the new Recreational Ranger for FE, and were encouraged by the support offered.
  • Nine species of butterfly were recorded, which included a late White Admiral.
  • Next session will be Tuesday 4th October.

Tuesday 2nd August 2022

  • At last, the access road has re-opened and gardening dates can resume.
  • We had a lively session with 10 volunteers. Tasks included deadheading, weeding, and tidying up.
  • The boundary hedge was trimmed back, and the pond topped up from the water butt.
  • Some decisions have been made about repairs to the annual raised beds.
  • Lots of Gatekeepers were around, also Commas, Whites, Holly Blue, Brimstone, Red Admirals and a Painted Lady. We were pleased to see a Silver-washed Fritillary in the garden.
  • It was really nice to have visitors to the garden now the holiday season is well under way.
  • New volunteers are always welcome, please contact Margaret for more information.

Friday 22nd July 2022

  • We are hoping to re-start our gardening sessions soon.
    White Letter Hairstreak
    White Letter Hairstreak
  • The maintenance work to the access road is nearing completion.
  • The garden appears to be flourishing, despite the lack of rain, and the butterflies abound as usual.
  • The White-letter Hairstreak can be seen feeding on the Hemp Agrimony.

Tuesday 17th May 2022

  • A new agreement has now been reached, and the gardeners can return, with kind permission of Forestry England.
    A few of us met in the garden today, before the imminent closure of the access road.
  • It was a gorgeous day, and the butterflies were out in force. Several  Orange-tips were hovering on the Sweet Rocket, with Brimstones, Holly and Common Blue on the wing. A Small Copper flashed its wings from its perch on the Pot Marigolds.
  •  The star of the attraction today was the Broad-bordered Bee Hawkmoth.  Many visitors had their cameras at the ready.
    Broad bordered Bee hawk moth
    Broad bordered Bee hawk moth on Red Valerian
  • Also reported were a good few Marsh Fritillaries in the Meadow.
  • A good days gardening meant the grass was cut, the Heather bed rejuvenated, and annual seeds sown.
  • The pond was topped up from the water butt.
  • Despite earlier neglect, the garden looked very inviting, and attracted many visitors.

Thursday 7th April 2022

  • The garden today was looking in need of TLC. Until we have the go-ahead from Forestry England (FE), the gardeners have not been able to get going this season.
  • Yet again, an URGENT email has been sent to FE after various unsuccessful phone calls.
    Primrose (Primula vulgaris)
    Primrose (Primula vulgaris)
  • However, nothing stops growing in a garden!
  • The Heather still looks magnificent, the Perennial Wallflowers and Bowles Mauve are beginning to burst into flower.

The star today was the Primrose, so pretty in the rain!

Thursday 4th April 2022

Unfortunately the gardeners are unable to garden at the moment. We are waiting for permission from Forestry England.
In the meantime, keep a look-out for our new information board, which should be completed soon.



Tuesday 20th October 2021

  • Started late due to heavy rain  - fine though damp for the rest of day, so not able to mow. Plenty of other jobs to do, as now is the time to prepare for next year.
  • Two of the annual beds were cleared apart from a few healthy looking Marigolds and Borage seedlings, then seeded with Phacelia which will cover and nourish the soil over winter. The third bed was cleared earlier and sown with corn as a base for a ‘cornfield’ next summer.  The corn is showing through already and Corn-marigold and Cornflower etc will be added in the spring. 
    Phacelia tanacetifolia
    Phacelia tanacetifolia
  • As we did last year we are starting to clear another area of Golden Rod (beautiful, loved by insects but needs restricting).  This is a drier area which we are hoping to replant with Globe thistle, Rudbeckia,  Helenium, Echinacea etc.  If any gardeners  have spares of these plants or of Ligularia, we would be grateful for donations
  • Spring flowering plants – Sweet Rocket, Yellow Alyssum and Aubretia – were added to the sunny border outside the garden, all good nectar plants.  Self seeded Teasels were removed from the borders and planted in the more naturalised areas in front of the south hedge. 
  • Large buddleias were pruned by a third to prevent wind damage in the winter. And a start was made on a channel to link a water butt to the pond which should help to keep the pond topped up.

Tuesday 6th October 2021 – Rained off
Last Gardening session of the year is on 2nd November 10.00 am to 3.00 pm

Tuesday 21st September 2021

  • The most perfect gardening day – still and warm - with lots of butterflies, the first time I have said that this year.  And the star attraction were the Michaelmas Daisies, in particular the tall Harrington’s Pink- see photo
    Comma on Harrington's Pink Michaelmas Daisy
    Comma on Harrington's Pink Michaelmas Daisy
  • This is a good time of the year to assess each bed – what is there, would it be better somewhere else, is that plant becoming too dominant?  
  • So we took notes and some immediate action was taken. Fleabane were moved from the Scree and Annual beds to a new area of grass, with Yellow Rattle being seeded around to weaken the grass, thus giving the Fleabane a better chance to get established. 
  • Other plants like Meadow Cranesbill were removed from the Raised bed, as that bed is reserved for plants like Lavender, Sedums, Verbena that need a dry sunny area – in short supply in this garden.
  • Nev made an excellent job in re-building the wall around the raised bed
  • Butterflies: Lots of Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Comma, Painted Lady and Large White
  • Around the Pond: Migrant Hawker and Common Darter

Next session Tuesday 5th October

Tuesday 7th September 2021

A late start today as it was the Annual Volunteers BBQ at 5.00 pm but it was way too hot for much gardening. Though we did manage to mow the grass and do some dead-heading to extend the flowering period of Buddleias etc.

Tuesday 31st August 2021

  • There had obviously been heavy rain in the garden – unfortunately the brilliant and colourful Purple Loosestrife and Golden Rod had flopped.  But Joe Pye Weed and Rudbeckia Herbstsonne still reach for the sky.  
  • More of the long grass was scythed and mown, and space was cleared around Sedums and Asters for the next show.  
  • Few butterflies were seen on this damp and dull day, but sharp eyes found a range of other interesting insects – notably the exotic looking Vapourer Moth Caterpillar (see photo), and duelling Bush Crickets
    Vapourer moth caterpillar
    Vapourer moth caterpillar
  • Butterflies: Large White, Red Admiral, Painted Lady and Brimstone
  • Moths: Hebrew Character and Vapourer Caterpillars
  • Other insects; Dark bush Crickets, Bog Hoverfly; Sericomyia silentis, Hoverfly: Helophilus pendulas-query

Next session Tues 7th September – 2.00pm onward for gardening.  6.00pm for volunteers BBQ, by invitation only

Tuesday 17th August 2021

  • In contrast to last session, it was dull and wet, so few Butterflies or other flying insects.
  • But the mix of weather had certainly promoted lots of growth of everything – so lots of dead-heading to prolong flowering, particularly of the Buddleias. In addition, attempts were made to ensure sufficient space for the flowers yet to come like Michaelmas Daises and Sedums and to check the onward growth of Bindweed.
    Combination of Hemp Agrimony & Purple Loosestrife
    Combination of Hemp Agrimony & Purple Loosestrife
  • The gates were given another coat of paint.
  • Butterflies: Gatekeeper, Red Admiral, Small White, Common Blue
  • Moth: Copper Underwing, Silver Y, Mint, Yellow Shell
  • Other insects: Shield Bug Star, Wasp Tenthredo Livido

Next Gardening session – Tues 31st August - anytime between 9.00am - 3.00pm

Tuesday 3rd August 2021

  • An idyllic day in the garden - Butterflies straight away including Silver-washed Fritillary and White Admiral drifting over
    Silver-washed Fritillary on Buddleia
    Silver-washed Fritillary on Buddleia
    our heads – the major insect attracters awash with Bees and Hoverflies.  With Buddleias, Marjoram, Lavender, Field Scabious, Hemp Agrimony and Purple Loosestrife attracting the most  – and perfect gardening weather - Glorious!   And we took time to look and enjoy it.
  • Still there was the pond to top up, paths to mow, Buddleias to deadhead and Bindweed to unwind so we couldn’t allow ourselves to be totally distracted
  • Also a large clump of Carex Pendula which arrived in the garden without invitation, had become smothered by Bindweed, so was chopped to the ground and will be dug out later in the year.  Though it can look spectacular, was probably not earning its space insects-wise.
    White Admiral
    White Admiral
  • Seen today – Not only were 15 different species of butterfly ( though none in large quantities) but also Common Darter, Southern and Migrant Hawkers plus surprisingly a Banded Demoiselle and a Meadow Grasshopper

Next Gardening session – Tuesday 17th August: anytime between 9.00am - 3.00pm

Tuesday 20th July 2021

  • An extremely hot day – so started at 9.00am and did as much as we could before it really heated up, retreating to the shade
    by noon for a relaxed communal lunch.  A good way to spend a hot day at a shared garden.
  • It feels as if the garden itself is taking a breath at this time of the year – the first big show is over and the next is about to start.
  • We are cutting back and deadheading the Red Valerian, Meadow Cranesbill, Sweet Rocket, Honesty Rock Roses, Pulmonaria etc, making sure that the next show stoppers – Hemp Agrimony, Purple Loosestrife, Buddleias, Marjoram, Joe Pyeweed, Sedums, Michaelmas Daisies etc, have space to do their stuff. 
  • Butterflies: Small & Large Skippers, Ringlets (lots), Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Small, Large and Green-veined White, Small Tortoiseshell, single Purple Emperor, Silver-washed Fritillary, Red Admiral and Comma.

Next Session: Tuesday  3rd August, between 9.30am and 3.30pm

Tuesday 6th July 2021

  • A day of hot sunshine and heavy showers – fortunately we have the shelter in front of the Centre to run to for cover, but we had to give in soon after 2 o’clock as the rain looked to continue for the rest of the day 
    Silver Y moth
    Silver Y moth
  •  Of the plants put in last week there were winners and losers - the Birdsfoot Trefoil is already in flower, a winner, the Verbascums completely annihilated by munching Mullein Moth Caterpillars, a loser for the Verbascums but a winner for the Mullein Moths
  • The Annual beds had a few gaps, so fast growing, pollen-rich Phacelia was sown to fill the spaces.  Some Red Valerian was cut back to encourage a fresh flowering in August.
  • Everybody spent some time pulling out the usual unwelcome suspects- Goosegrass, Vetch & Bindweed
  • All the rain we have been having is creating giants – see photo of futuristic looking Cardoons reaching for the sky.  The Hogweed is so high that only the tallest volunteer was able to reach to chop off
    the heads – the insects love the flowers of Hogweed but once they start to go to over we cut the heads off to prevent further seeding
  • Butterflies: Small Tortoiseshell, Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Large Skipper.
  • Moths: Silver Y, White Plume, Yellow Shell and Drinker Moth Caterpillars

Next Session Tuesday 20th July

Tuesday 29th June 2021

  • An extra session as we are still catching up, so a busy day
  • The Birdsfoot Trefoil, favoured by the Common Blue for egg laying, was planted on the dry scree bed. Space made by removing some Rockroses and Field Scabious, which though good for insects have both done rather too well here - Scabious to the margins of the garden and Rockroses distributed amongst the gardeners
    Orlaya grandiflora
    Orlaya grandiflora
  • A few Verbascums were also added and by the end of the sessions had already attracted the Mullein Moth stripy Caterpillars. A post was erected to support Old Man’s Beard/Traveller’s Joy - Clematis vitalba, our native species of Clematis
  • On the Annual beds, the new to us, Orlaya, a pretty white Umbellifer grown from seeds, is looking really great with the Echium Blue Bedder. These were raised under cover and planted out, where as the multi-coloured annual Scabiosa atropurpurea sown outside towards the end of April has produced few plants. We may try sowing this in the autumn, to see if it does any better.
  • During the afternoon the weather brightened, bringing out Butterflies and numerous insects plus a large Toad found ambling
    Woundwort shield bug
    Woundwort shield bug
    up the path. Photos were taken and identification checked. These included Flesh Fly, Nursery Spider, Wasco Beetle and Woundwort Shield Bug
  • Butterflies & Moths: Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, Mullein Moth Caterpillar and 6-spot Burnet Caterpillar
  • Around the Pond: Azure and Large Red Damselfly

Next Session – Tues 6th July am and pm sessions as usual now

Tuesday 15th June 2021

  • Another hot day and lots to do.
  • Good news, the Broad-bordered Bee Hawkmoths are back -  nectaring on the Red Valerian - so good to see
  • There is more life around the pond this year since we opened it up in the Autumn.  Large Red and Azure Damselflies were
    Male Broad-bodied Chaser
    Male Broad-bodied Chaser
    around all day as well as a pair of Broad Bodied Chasers.  Lots of Common Spotted Orchid seemed to have popped up out of nowhere
  • But a two weeks break and the weeds get the upper hand.  So, much time was spent pulling buckets-full of Bindweed, Vetch and Goose-grass out of the beds, along with spent plants like Forget-me-nots and Red Campion. This all helps to make room for the next group of plants to bloom – like Veronica, Chinese Loosestrife and the various Cranesbills
  • Some areas of plants like Marjoram and Comfrey were given the ‘Chelsea Chop’ to extend the flowering and also to shorten some tall stems of plants like Golden Rod and Sedums which can tend to flop over. So called, as the best time to do it is the usual time of the Chelsea Flower Show
    Common Spotted Ochids
    Common Spotted Orchids
  • We noticed the lack of Birdsfoot Trefoil on the Scree bed and amazingly enough one of our members has since rung to offer us some, and he is willing to plant them too.  People are so supportive
  • The paths were edged and the entrance has been given a fresh coat of paint
  • Butterflies:  Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell

Next Session – Tuesday 6th July – am and pm sessions as usual now

Tuesday 1st June 2021

  • Hats were needed again, but this time to protect from the sun – a scorcher today.  Fortunately we have access to a cool shelter for our breaks.
  • A two week gap and everything is blooming.  The Forget Me Nots are still flowering, as are Sweet Rocket and Red Campion. Rockroses are starting and Wood Cranesbill are bursting out all over, with Meadow Cranesbill quickly to
    Wood cranesbill (Geranium sylvaticum)
    Wood Cranesbill (Geranium sylvaticum)
    follow. The Meadow Cranesbill is larger, has finer cut leaves, is more blue in colour and flowers slightly later than the Wood Cranesbill.
  • The Heather was trimmed to stop it getting too leggy, and fed with liquid Ericaceous feed to help it cope with the mostly alkaline soil here.
  • New poles were added to the shrub bed to support the Hop and Honeysuckle.
  • We added a new - to us - plant called Chinese Forget Me Nots (Cynoglossum Amabile), which hopefully will flower through the summer months. 
  • We have been leaving more of the grassed areas long, with mown paths
    Speckled Wood butterfly
    Speckled Wood
    where necessary – so far we are pleased with the result.
  • Butterflies: Brimstone Female, Orange Tip Male and Speckled Wood
  • The first Damselflies this year - Azure and Red were flitting around the pond.
  • A Cuckoo was heard. 

Next session: Tuesday 15th June

Tuesday 18th May 2021

  • Another session devoted to restoring some order to a garden neglected due to Covid restrictions. It has been hard work but I do believe we are getting there. Weeds were removed, plants were put in place, mulch was added & the lot were watered.
  • We know that come a month or two the plants will be stunning as usual. The Insect Hotel was given the once-over and almost immediately Red Mason Bees were inspecting the accommodation.
    Insect Hotel
    Insect hotel in the garden
  • The most exciting part of the day came when a large noisy swarm of Honey Bees passed through the garden – causing volunteers to scatter
  • Butterflies: Brimstone, Orange Tip and Green-veined White
  • Flowering: Forget-me-nots, White and Purple Honesty, Sweet Rocket, Comfrey, Red Campion, with Water Crowfoot in the pond.

Next Session: Tuesday 1st June

Tuesday 11th May 2021

  • For a third week we were rained-off early, but work continued on restoring a modicum of order to the flower beds.  The last of the Annual beds was cleared for planting.
  • New shoots of Joe Pye Weed - Eupatorium maculatum were found and marked. Sedums were rescued and given space to expand. Both of these plants being excellent for pollinators.
  • We discovered a new plant in the garden identified as Star of Bethlehem (see photo) – I can’t imagine how it arrived. The bed in which it was found has neither been dug-over or added to.
    Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum)
    Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum)
  • Butterflies: Brimstone, Orange tip and Green-veined White
  • Flowering: Primroses, Cowslips, Oxslips, Forget-me-nots, White and Purple Honesty, Dandelion, Comfrey, Red Campion and Greater Stitchwort.
  • Red Valerian starting to flower.
  • Notable birds: Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Bullfinch, Nuthatch and Buzzard

Next Session: Tuesday18 May

Tuesday 4th May 2021

  • A second cold and damp Tuesday, but we are not down-hearted.  There is much to do after a year of neglect, battling the
    James and Nev in buddleia bed
    James and Nev in buddleia bed
    encroachment of grass and other undesirable plants thought out the planted areas. We kept at it until the heavy rain came at 3.00pm.
  • We also added our garden-produced quality mulch where needed and seeded two of the Annuals beds with insect friendly plants – multi-colour Scabious, Cornflower, Echium Blue Bedder, Orlaya grandiflora (new to us), Marigolds and Borage. The Annuals beds were netted to protect from the unwelcome attention of local wildlife. 
  • Surplus Field Scabious plants were relocated to sunny areas of ‘long grass’ around the perimeter of the garden.
    Raised beds for annuals
    Raised beds for annuals





Next Session: Tuesday 11th May – from 9.00am to 12.30 and from 12.30 to 4.00pm

Tuesday 27 April 2021

  • After uninterrupted blue skies and sunshine for weeks, our garden session this week, is overcast, cold and damp. Still it kept us working to keep warm. And there was much to do.
  • The shredding was completed and good compost is now available from the oldest bay of our 4-bay compost heap.  We continued to work through the beds, weeding and deadheading. Though there was a bit of a problem identifying some of the perennials. Deciding between those we wanted to keep and encourage, and those like Greater Willowherb that we would rather be without. So much easier when they are more that than a couple of inches above the ground. Fortunately, we have a reference library in the Volunteers shed to refer to.
  •  A second annuals bed was cleared and compost added, ready for raking and sowing next week. We are trying seeds of multi-colour annual Cornflower, Scabious atropurpurea, a tall double mix, with Borage as an edging for one bed - Echium Blue Bedder and Corlaya grandiflora, an Umbellifer, both as seeds and seedlings in the second bed.
  • The leaves of the Common spotted Orchids are starting to appear. Lots of Honey Bees were drinking at the edge of the pond. Primroses and Forget-me-nots were still the predominate flowers, with the Winter Heather flowering on and on.
  • The plants of Enchanter’s Nightshade and Bush Vetch were identified just outside the garden.

Next Sessions; Tuesday 4 May - 9.00am to 1.00pm and 1.00pm to 4.00pm

Tuesday 20 April 2021 - First day in the garden this year.  So good to be back

  • Now a time to take stock.  Garden has been scythed and raked, thanks to Mark.  The pond is low but soil is relatively dry and workable.  A good show of  Primroses and Forget-me-nots plus Cowslips, some Oxslips, Sweet-Rocket, Pulmonaria, Comfrey with Winter Heather still flowering,  providing nectar for the early insects
    Forget me not
    Forget me not
  • A small team, numbers restricted still, made a start on the immediate essentials – topping up pond, mowing, shredding the scythings, necessary pruning, and repairing climbing supports. Undaunted others tackled selected areas - dead-heading, starting to clearing six months-worth of weeds from the large Shrub bed, clearing one of the Annual beds, the entrance and by the raised bed
  • We will be working each week for the next month, instead of twice-monthly, in an effort to catch up.   As one volunteer said with conviction “We’ll get there”
  • The warm sunshine and the active wildlife spurred us on - singing birds, particularly Nuthatches, displaying Buzzards, lots of  bees (Common Carder, Buff-tailed, Red Mason plus a female Hairy-footed Flower Bee) and Butterflies - Brimstones, Orange Tip, Green-veined White
  • This year we are leaving more areas to long grass with native perennials, like Meadow Cranesbill, Foxgloves, Oxeye Daises, Knapweed, Field Scabious etc. particularly around the perimeter   

Next session – Tues 27th April:  Planting and seeding as well as more shredding and feeding


Covid restrictions mean the Garden must manage without us until we are able to return hopefully sometime in April.
However during March, a local member has been able to give the garden it’s annual ‘hair cut’ with his scythe, and has also kindly raked off the debris, leaving it ready for us make a start when we can.