The first spring butterflies…..

After the tattered butterflies of early spring – those adults that have made it through the winter – it’s good to see some ‘proper’ spring butterflies in the garden.  And it’s clearly been an excellent year for the orange tip.  We have them everywhere inside and outside the garden as they breed both on the garlic mustard (also called Jack-by-the hedge) that abounds around here, and on the lady’s smock that pops up in the wetter clay areas.  This lovely butterfly feeds on the lady’s smock flowers but also on honesty which I grow for spring colour, and dandelions.  Honesty is also an excellent nectar plant for bumblebees.  I am looking out for holly blue butterflies, but have only had a glimpse of one so far.

About wildlifegardening

Jenny Steel was a Plant Ecologist at Oxford University before becoming a writer. She has more than 20 years experience of writing about and teaching ecology, natural history and wildlife gardening. She is also a photographer, journalist and former plant nursery owner, and a lecturer and tutor in adult education. She has appeared on a variety of radio and television programmes including Gardener’s World with Alan Titchmarsh, and she presented a series of items on the BBC 2 gardening show, How Does Your Garden Grow. She has worked with and written for a variety of organisations including the Royal Horticultural Society, Natural England, Atropos, Ernest Charles, the Adult Residential Colleges Association (ARCA), Haiths, Usborne Books, Complete Gardens, Oxfordshire County Council, the charity Growing Native and several of the Wildlife Trusts. She is also the Garden Bird Guru for the wild bird food company JustAddBirds of which she was a co-founder. The Emmy Award winning film company Panache Productions are currently making a film about her wildlife garden in South Shropshire. She has written 10 books on wildlife gardening. Her website can be found at and her bird food company at
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