It has been a good year for red admiral butterflies, as far as my anecdotal evidence can prove. They have turned up in our garden on many occasions throughout the year, and should be about for some weeks yet. But others of the large colourful varieties of butterflies will delight us for a while too. Going back to earlier in the year, when we had dull and damp times around when some particular species of butterfly that are single-brooded and are seen for only a few weeks had their appearances, we found these were disrupted by the wet days, but the longer-living adult butterflies that have more than one life-cycle in the year have a chance to recover, and nature provides the abundance to help.
The rectory garden, providing both sunny corners and abundant cover and shelter, harbours more species of butterflies than most, even those blessed with buddleia and other nectar rich flowers. Occasionally we are sitting thinking of an area that could do with cutting back and clearing, and then a peacock butterfly or a speckled wood, or a painted lady arrives flitting around the pots of flowers or the thickly planted beds that throughout the spring, summer and autumn have flowers to see. We rip out valerian, brambles, ivy and dandelions, yet we know that at their time and in their place they are all useful for attracting insects. A balance between the wild and the formal garden is not difficult to strike at the rectory. Basically, it is wild except for what we can control at any one time, which may not always be the same bit, but it is always mostly left to nature.