Sunday, 30 September 2007

come on, comma

Following a very late autumn last year, it is good to report that this year we have had a little cooler weather and that the trees are beginning to 'turn'. Not much leaf fall yet, but horse chestnut leaves are curling and browning and silver birch leaves are yellowing.
Michaelmas daisies are a common flower of the September garden - loved by gardeners, flower cutters and wildlife too. Today, the blooms were buzzing with bees, hoverflies and (at last) butterflies. This has been a very poor year for garden butterfly spotting but today a stand of michalemas daisies in full sun attracted red admiral, speckled wood and comma.
The comma is unmistakeable. Its ragged wings are like curled leaves and perfect camouflage against hungry birds. Its wing shapes make it unlike any other British butterfly. The comma is an overwintering butterfly. The wildlife gardener can help butterflies in the autumn by providing a source of nectar (like the michaelmas daisies) and also by not being too tidy. Butterflies spend the winter in gaps and cavities. Create some in your garden!
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