Fantastic day at Ringve Botaniske Hagen’s 50th anniversary garden party for the city. The theme for the day was Biodiversity and Sustainability! KVANN had a stand with a focus on perennial food plants that double as ornamental plants, insect-friendly or bird-friendly. We brought with us a number of such edi-ento-mentals and edi-avi-mentals (insect- or bird-friendly, edible ornamental plants) and many toom home plants or seeds! Eventually, all the flowers attracted biodiversity in the form of two admirals and a number of hoverflies! Thanks to all KVANN members and others who visited and helped us, and especially Jurgen Wegter who helped and brought flower meadow seeds from Fagerli Naturgård! Thanks also to Vibekke Vange and my colleagues at Ringve! Pictures by Jurgen Wegter, Stephen Barstow and Meg Anderson!
This morning, red admiral butterflies were everywhere in the garden and I counted at least 70 on both Buddleja davidii (butterfly bush / sommerfuglbusk) and Eupatorium cannabinum (hemp agrimony / hjortetrøst) was particularly densely covered! This is the second largest number of red admirals recorded in my county Trøndelag ever and the largest count this year in Norway (30 is the second largest)! Sadly, there are few other species around at the moment.
The numbers of red admiral butterflies have been building up over the last week and today with my large Buddleja davidii in full flower and warm summer weather, I counted at least 15 of the beauties, no doubt second generation butterflies from the influx we had earlier in the summer. I reported this earlier in our national web-based reporting system. To my surprise this was the largest number reported this year not only in the county but in the whole country! It seems to be a poor year for red admirals in the south of the country. My Buddleja (butterfly bush / sommerfuglbusk) has become large despite cutting it back severely every winter. It was planted here under the balcony so that I could get a good view from above from a self-sowed plant from another bush in the garden in 2010.
We may know that some of are most spectacular butterflies like red admiral (admiral), painted lady (tistelsommerfugl), comma (hvit C), small tortoiseshell (neslesommerfugl) and peacock (dagpåfugløye) may lay their eggs on nettles (Urtica), but did you know that just here in Norway there are 51 species of moths that do the same and two of the most beautiful were in the garden this morning: 1. The burnished brass / mindre båndmetallfly (Diachrysia stenochrysis) 2. The small magpie / nesleengmott (Anania hortulata) So, please keep a patch of nettles in the garden all summer (you can still eat the young shoots)…there are also several birds such as bullfinches (dompap) and finches such as brambling (bjørkefink) that eat the seed in winter!
Back from my two week stay in England for my dad’s funeral (he was 97 and still growing leeks from seed; I planted them posthumously!) and being with my mum. The growth in the garden has been phenomenal with a heat wave (over 30C), 24 hour light and plentiful rainfall. I have much work ahead of me tidying up overgrown paths!
Harvested nettles of the almost stingless Urtica kiovensis for dinner and found this red admiral caterpillar!
Monardas are autumn flowering here and one of the best plant genera for pollinating insects at this time of year, including bumble bees and butterflies. Over the last few days with relatively mild weather there have been at least 10 red admiral butterflies in the garden:
By chance, the best two plants in the garden for pollinating insects in late summer are growing together in the garden. The Clematis vitalba (old man’s beard / tysk klematis) is in the foreground in the picture below and is popular with hoverflies, droneflies and bumblebees. Behind is my largest (of 3 Buddlejas, butterfly bush /sommerfuglbusk). We had one when we were growing up in the back garden, where my interest in insects and nature started. As the name suggests, it is most popular with butterflies (and moths), but bumble bees are also commonly seen on it. The Clematis reaches up to the balcony which allows me to study the insects at close hand. Clematis vitalba was planted in the garden as the cooked young shoots are commonly eaten in spring in Italy and is therefore one of the best edientomentals (edible/for the insects/ornamental) you can plant. Buddleja davidii is not edible and is in the entomental category. Although the total number of butterflies is lower this year as last year we experienced a major invasion of painted lady (tistelsommerfugl) butterflies (only 2 observations in the last month in this part of Norway), there is a good diversity of species and you’ll find pictures and videos of the following species below: Red admiral / admiral (up to 4) Small tortoiseshell / neslesommerfugl (7) Dark green fritillary / aglajaperlemorvinge (1) Brimstone / sitronsommerfugl (colonising this area and my 3rd record this summer) Comma / hvit C Small white? / liten kålsommerfugl Green-veined whites / rapssommerfugl have also been very common this year. A possible small blue (dvergblåvinge) was also seen in the garden on Allium wallichii on 21st August.
With only a few inflorescences left on my Buddleja plants, the red admiral and painted lady (tistelsommerfugl) butterflies are transferring their attentions to other flowers in the garden, notably and most importantly Eupatorum cannabinum (hemp agrimony / hjortetrøst, seed of which came original from the banks of the River Itchen in Hampshire). Other flowers of choice at the moment are Anise hyssop (Agastache), Monarda and Marigold.
In the first video, the Red Admiral defends its hemp agrimony flower against a bumblebee!
After a very cold start to the summer, Malvik has had record warm weather over the last month which has helped the populations of butterflies! They love my edible garden and, in particular, peacock (dagpåfugløy) has been recorded more times than anywhere else in this area, half of the total of 15 observations were made here between 2006-2010. Hoping for the first peacock since then! The favourite plants at the moment are my two Buddleja davidii (sommerfuglbusk, sadly only edible for insects as far as I know), one of which is bigger than ever as I didn’t prune it last winter. In the last few days I’ve noted up to 20 small tortoiseshell (neslesommerfugl), 1 painted lady (tistelsommerfugl), up to 7 red admirals (admiral), 1 dark green fritillary (aglajaperlemorvinge; I think, a first here) and 2 comma butterflies (hvit C).
Perennial vegetables, Edimentals (plants that are edible and ornamental) and other goings on in The Edible Garden