The beginning of September and a beautiful day in the garden of a holiday cottage near Richmond, North Yorkshire. A common buddleia is covered in butterflies, with peacocks, small tortoiseshells and whites vying for the best purple flowers on the tree. There are dozens of these buddleias growing like weeds in Laneside quarry but I’ve never seen one attracting quite so much attention as this one. It’s a convention, a party, a foraging fiesta where, it seems, everyone is invited.
Back at home a few days later and in the garden a host of pink and white cosmos reach for the clear blue sky and hardly move in the still air. Dahlias in a range of reds, oranges and pinks liven the borders with their gaudy displays. There’s only one white butterfly hovering around but the flowers are covered in bees, hover-flies and wasps, hopping from flower to flower, legs trailing like the undercarriage of a helicopter. They’re collecting pollen, taking it back to their nests in ‘pollen pellets’ which hang from their hind legs. It’s mesmerising. Pollen pellets can account for 30% of a bee’s weight. They’ll be hauled back to the nest and stored to provide food for the young after they hatch.
A packet of seeds, a few plug plants; a feast for the bees and butterflies and a feast for your eyes.