Garden News

Summer butterflies and wildlife

Juliets Jottings roundallWildlife enthusiast and resident volunteer at Exbury, Juliet, describes how the recent dry weather is affecting summer wildlife:

Butterflies

"Daffodil Meadow is usually full of butterflies during summertime but this year there are far fewer than normal. One reasons for this is that the drought had effectively caused most of their nectar plants to dry up. There are some rather tired looking knapweed flowering, a complete absence of scabious, with some clumps of purple betony making the biggest splash. In a normal summer these plants attract good numbers of nectaring insects, but many of the butterflies this summer started to fly earlier than usual, and there is not much to keep them going".

"On a walk along the path across the Meadow the most numerous butterfly, which is also the latest to emerge, was the Gatekeeper. A number of meadow browns are still around, with small numbers of Marbled Brown, Common Blue and Small Skipper".

Other wildlife

"Grasshoppers and crickets seem to be enjoying the dry conditions more than most other insects".

"An interesting find was a partially dug out wasp nest which looked as if a badger had found it. Badgers are excellent excavators and would not have had too much difficulty getting through the iron-hard ground in search of wasp grubs. Pieces of the nest were scattered around, and a few wasps were buzzing around the remnants of their nest".

Meadow Gatekeeper skipper wasp nest Wasp nest 2

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‘We recently had some friends from London to visit and were looking for something to entertain our young children for the day. We decided to give Exbury Gardens a try and I thought it was wonderful. We had Sunday lunch in the restaurant and the food was far superior to other local attractions so compliments to the chef. Walking through the gardens was beautiful with lots of little pathways to explore. I have lived in the Romsey area for many years and always thought Exbury was a little out of the way but it only took me 20 minutes from the motorway. We will definitely be a regular visitor from now on.’

Philip Moulds, New Forest

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