Column: Nature notes from a Shawlands garden

The garden is not ready to give up the ghost yet, some plants are still flowering their socks off.

The white Japanese anemones and Rudbekia Goldsturm are still going strong.

But perhaps the star of the garden at the moment is the tall, architectural Verbena bonariensis.

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A bit lopsided from the onslaught of Autumn winds, but the purple flower heads are still bright and a magnet for insects, when the weather allows.

Today, in spite of drizzle and quite a breeze, a lone Red Admiral butterfly visited the Verbena.

I rushed out to get a better look but it flew off with its characteristic strong wing beat.

Red Admirals need to be strong fliers – they are migrants from North Africa and at this time of year are feeding up ready to make the long journey south again (although in recent years, occasional sightings of the butterfly throughout winter suggest that it can successfully make it through in the UK if conditions are right).

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Late nectar sources are important for Autumn butterflies, particularly now that the buddleia is well and truly over.

This year my buddleia was visited by more butterflies than ever before.

In fact, this year has been the best I can remember for butterflies in Glasgow (and I have lived here for over 25 years).

In August, Small Whites were everywhere but the true stars of the show were Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Red Admiral and Comma.

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We are lucky that many of our more common butterflies are also the most spectacular.

The Red Admiral is my favourite – with a velvety dark wing, marked with white and orangey-red.

If you are lucky you might still see one this Autumn!

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