Some of nature’s wonders require that you stop, pause and look closely. This isn’t one of them. There’s a reason the Buddleia is called a butterfly bush. It’s covered in swallowtail butterflies!

This butterfly bush is the Buddleia davidii ‘White Splendour’ (I think). It is approximately 8′ in diameter and nearly 10′ tall. It was relocated a couple of years ago to a more roomy location because I didn’t believe it could possibly grow this big.

All summer long the butterflies are numerous and industrious in our garden. It’s one of the reasons I grow dill but hardly ever get to eat any. The caterpillars eat it all. Gluttons. Glorious gluttons.

By far the Eastern Tiger Swallowtails outnumber the other butterflies. But we also have Painted Admirals, Black Swallowtails and—the glorious Zebra Swallowtail. (You can see those in the video below.)

A while back a friend of mine was envying our prolific Pawpaw patch because it is host to the larval Zebra Swallowtail. If you don’t know Pawpaws, they are a  fruit tree native to North America. The fruit of the Pawpaw is rather sweet and mushy. For some it’s an acquired taste. But Zebra Swallowtails just love Pawpaws.  In fact, it is also called the Pawpaw butterfly.

I wish I were a better photographer and videographer to share how the bush comes alive. This is definitely one of nature’s bigger shows in my garden.


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  • Frances says:

    So many butterflies! How wonderful that scene must be. It would be hard for me to go inside and leave it. The Zebras are delightful!

  • Gail says:

    It’s a splendid sight Robin. I can only imagine that many butterflies in one spot. I count myself lucky to have several visiting the garden at once. I just tasted my first paw-paw; it has a pleasant taste but filled with a lot of seeds. gail

  • Jodie says:

    Amazing. So beautiful. I want to really work on my butterfly garden this fall.

  • cristina says:

    absolutely amazing. i have never seen so many butterflies in a single place.

  • Susan says:

    Do you prune your buddleia very much? And do you keep it deadheaded? Mine just quits blooming if I don’t deadhead religiously, which I often don’t. Also, is yours in full sun or does it have a little bit of shade?

  • Robin Ripley says:

    Hi Susan,
    No, I don’t prune this buddleia at all. It’s just too huge. There is a smaller one near the house (I have several) that I think I will try pruning next year to see if it performs better. But this one just keep growing and pushing out the flowers. I cut it way, way back each spring. Because of its size, it’s a process that now requires a full-sized saw. But that’s the best way to treat it.

    Thanks for visiting!


  • Hi Robin,

    Is that a single lens reflex you used in that click?

  • Layanee says:

    Wow. You are butterfly rich. I am wondering if they like the white bb best. My daughter has one and it is also covered with butterflies. My pink has them here and there. The video is a nice treat.

  • What amazing shots. You’ve managed to capture the very essence and beauty of my favourite insect. It’s so sad that these lovely creatures have such a short life span.

  • Love the post about swallow tail butterflies. Dill is good food for butterflies I didn’t know that learned something good today. Thank you for sharing

  • Plant Stands says:

    Thanks for sharing the abundance of all those beautiful butterflies!

  • Butterfly bushes are quite lovely. Marginally hardy where I garden though. Apparently in some areas of southern USA they are now considered a nuisance plant and they encourage people not to grow them. Too much of a good thing I guess.

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