Knapweed – the Wonder Plant……..

Back in my Oxfordshire garden, the end of July meant gatekeeper butterfly time.  For several weeks it would be the commonest butterfly in the garden, feeding mainly on wild marjoram which grew well there on the light soil.  Here the gatekeeper is more of a rarity and so far this summer only one has appeared.  Rather than feeding on marjoram it is spending its time in the meadow on knapweed, which this year has had an incredible number of   species of butterfly feeding on it – fifteen in total so far including this small tortoiseshell, plus countless bumblebees.  Already goldfinches are starting to find the ripe seeds and a small flock of about 12 is currently flitting around the clumps of this magic plant.  Looking forward to seeing how big a ‘charm’ we can attract.

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
This entry was posted in Butterflies, Garden Birds, Gardening, Wildlife Gardening and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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