The figures have just become available for both the visitor voting and the butterfly count for the big buddleja trial at Wisley. Visitors were again asked to nominate their favourites and a count was also made of the number and type of butterflies visiting each variety.
The visitor voting results were both very similar and very different to last year. In 2008 the top two varieties were ‘Miss Ruby', way out ahead, followed by Lo and Behold 'Blue Chip'. I wrote the results up on my Transatlantic Plantsman blog.
This year top of the poll is again the vivid and prolific ‘Miss Ruby' but ‘Blue Chip' was way way down with less than 1% of the vote. ‘Blue Chip' was indeed good in its first year but in its second, when I saw it in mid July, it was very disappointing without a single flower open while many others looked spectacular.
So ‘Miss Ruby' was again way out ahead with twice as many votes as the next placed ‘Raspberry Wine' and ‘Purple Prince' followed by ‘Burgundy' and ‘Santana'.
The count of butterflies, taken six times in July and August, revealed that the most popular varieties with butterflies were ‘Orchid Beauty' closely followed by ‘Foxtail' and ‘Dart's Ornamental White' and ‘Pixie Blue'. On one visit, in late July, the three plants of ‘Orchid Beauty' were host to eight Painted Ladies, three Peacocks, and two Large Whites amongst others - and remember that the whole trial was covered in butterflies at the time.
So if you're looking for new buddlejas for the garden the guidance from the visitor voting and the butterfly count is start with ‘Miss Ruby' and ‘Orchid Beauty'.