Late Season Report

Approaching the end of the counting season, the latest report from our lepidopterology and odonatology expert, Keith Powrie

Despite it being near the end of the counting season 22 butterflies, of 9 different species, were seen this week.

Migrants such as Small White and Painted Lady were still in evidence. Home-grown Large Whites and Peacocks were also present, along with a rather late Meadow Brown.

Painted Lady


Large White

Meadow Brown

Last week, no dragonflies were seen at all.

This week, however, an inquisitive Southern Haker inspected us closely, as we walked round Dragon Pond. The wooden hoops, bordering the new plot,  outh-west of the Forum, proved to be ideal resting places for Common  arters, with 2 males perched on adjacent hoops.


Southern Hawker


Common Darter

September Quartet – Upcoming events

Everyone will have their own particular interests but there’s no denying that Knoll Gardens hosts a wonderful set of contrasting of events.

A look at the Knoll Gardens Events Page  recently, provided a good  example across just  three days coming soon in September!!

Outdoor Yoga

September 12, 2019 9:00 am – 10:00 am £8.00

Come and enjoy outdoor yoga in the tranquillity of Knoll’s glorious naturalistic garden before it opens to the public. Dependant on the weather the class will either by on mats on the lawn if warm and sunny; a yoga walk around the gardens if a little chilly; or under the marquee if a little wet. With 18 years of experience, Yoga Therapist Jackie Hayfield may include flowing movements with the breath, standing postures, breath work, guided relaxation and meditation in the garden. Booking essential.

More information and booking:Jackie Hayfield 07955 587772 or


Grass Masterclass

September 12, 2019 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm £35.00

Spend the afternoon with the UK’s leading authority on ornamental grasses as Knoll Gardens owner, Neil Lucas shares his wealth of knowledge and draws from personal experience and Knoll’s stunning autumn displays to provide practical advice. From maintenance to design, Neil covers all you need to know about grasses and how to use them in a garden setting.

Book Online

To obtain special RHS MEMBERS PRICE of £28 please phone nursery direct and quote membership number.

Friday; Dorset Wildlife Trust Members Day

September 13, 2019 10:00 am – 4:00 pm free to DWT members

Meet up with representatives of Dorset’s largest conservation charity and discover how Knoll’s naturalistic gardening ethos continues to create a garden that welcomes wildlife as well as providing year-round beauty.

In recent years, Knoll’s charitable arm, the Knoll Gardens Foundation has been working very closely with Dorset Wildlife Trust. On this special day DWT members and volunteers can visit the gardens free of charge on production of a valid DWT membership card or proof of volunteering status. And, anyone joining DWT on the day will have their garden admission charge refunded.

No booking required. Normal garden admission charges apply to all non DWT members.

On this special day for every full price ticket purchased £5 will be donated to the garden’s charity, the Knoll Gardens Foundation.

Better plant and garden photography workshop with Philip Smith

September 14, 2019 6:30 am – 12:30 pm £70.00

Join professional photographer Philip Smith, founder of International Garden Photographer of the Year on this special course starting with the magic of the early morning light in the garden. A tutor with the Royal Photographic Society, Philip will help you gain the skills and techniques to move out of your comfort zone to take great pictures. Topics covered include lighting, composition, exposure and macro photography as well as help to ensure you are getting the best out of your existing equipment. All levels of experience welcome.

Following a short practical demonstration of Philip’s approach to garden photography, you will have a unique opportunity to photograph the garden for yourselves with Philip on hand to offer one-to-one guidance and help. The day will conclude with an illustrated lecture providing practical ideas and principles for you to integrate into your own photography.

Please note this is a practical workshop. All levels of experience are welcome, but basic familiarity with your camera kit is assumed as well as a willingness to experiment with ideas and techniques.

Ticket price includes coffee and cake.

Book online.



2019 Annual Garden Survey

Now in its fifth year, the survey provides a yearly snapshot of life in the garden, with experts and volunteers coming together to create an ongoing record of its resident and visiting creatures, and an annual health check on their numbers. This year 120 species were recorded over a 24-hour period, 20 more than in 2018, mainly due to an increase in the number of moths.

Alongside a huge range of insects, other recordings included six species of bat, a juvenile grass snake, and badgers and foxes captured on a newly installed trail cam.

The survey is a key part of the work of the Knoll Gardens Foundation, the garden-based charity set up to understand the ecology of the garden and encourage others to adopt techniques that benefit the gardener and garden wildlife.

“We are working to understand more about the relationship between the garden’s wildlife and its plants,” said Knoll Gardens Foundation Chairman Peter Gear, “And this year, thanks to increased support from the Dorset Wildlife Trust, we have begun to build more of a picture of that interrelationship here at Knoll, recording not just the creatures in the garden but the plants they are found on. The information we record will help inform our ongoing planting.

“This year we were lucky enough to enjoy a gloriously sunny day which provided perfect foraging for bees. Whilst honey bees were most abundant, it was interesting to note a profusion of buff tailed bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) feasting on Sanguisorba Lilac Squirrel, whilst the white tailed bumble bee (Bombus lucorum) favoured Echinops, Astilbe and Veronicastrum. Each year we learn something new about the garden, it really is a fascinating day and I am already wondering what next year’s survey might reveal.”

NOTE abundance of 1 indicates ‘presence’ actual abundance may be higher – actual abundance not recorded


Species Common Name Abundance (notes) Host Plants
Aricia agestis brown argus 1 Crocosmia
Celastrina argiolus holly blue 5 Persicaria, holly
Gonepteryx rhamni brimstone 4
Maniola jurtina meadow brown 30 Veronicastrum, Echinops, Hemp Agrimony, Persicaria ‘Taurus’, Fuschia,Hebe,grass, Eupatoria
Pararge aegeria speckled wood 16 Epimedium, Choysia
Pieris brassicae large white/ cabbage white 2 Persicaria
Pieris napi green-veined white 1 Dock, Michaelmas daisy
Pieris rapae small white 1 Hydrangea
Polyommatus icarus common blue 4 Veronicastrum, Echinops, Hemp Agrimony, Persicaria ‘Taurus’, Fuschia,Hebe,grass
Pyronia tithonus gatekeeper 3 Agapanthus
Inachis io peacock 4 Gaura
Vanessa atalanta red admiral 13 Sanguisorbia ‘Lilac Squirrel’, Lysimachia, Eupatorium, Helianthus
Aromia moschata Musk beetle 1 (possible)
Erynnis tages Dingy skipper 1 (possible)

Bees, Wasps and Hornets

Species Common Name Abundance (notes) Host Plants
Apis mellifera honey bee >100 Persicaria, Geranium, Fuschia, Sanguisorbia, Abelia,Sidalcia, Scabious
Bombus lapidarius red-tailed bumblebee 2 Geraniums
Bombus lucorum White tailed bumblebee 12 Astilbe, Ligularia, Veronicastrum, Eupatorium, Echinops,Hebe
Bombus pascuorum common carder bee 6 Hydrangea, Purple Loosestrife, Verbena bonariensis
Bombus pratorum early bumble bee
Bombus terrestris buff tailed bumblebee >40 Sanguisorbia ‘Lilac squirrel’, Helianthus, Agapanthus, Verbena, Ligularia, Persicaria,Abelia,Scabious,Thistle,Echinacea
Dolichovespula media median wasp
Ectemnuis sp. Wasp sp.Digger Wasp sp.
Lasioglossum sp. Solitary bee sp.
Osmia sp mason bee 8 Persicaria (possibly red mason bee (O.bicornis))
Sphecodes sp. Solitary bee sp. 1
unidentified wasp >50 Persicaria, Persicaria ‘Fat Domino’, Purple Loosestrife, Hydrangea
unidentified hoverfly >20 Persicaria
unidentified bumblebee >40 Fuschia, Persicaria,Abelia, Hebe
unidentified bee >70 Persicaria, Fuschia, Blue Geranium, Verbena bonariensis, Veronicastrum, Golden Rod
Vespa crabro European Hornet 1 Hebe
Vespula vulgaris Common Wasp


Species Common Name Abundance (notes)
Aeshna cyanea southern hawker 3
Aeshna grandis brown hawker 4
Anax imperator emperor dragonfly 2 (female x1)
Sympetrum striolatum common darter 2
unidentified dragon 4


Species Common Name Abundance (notes)
Coenagrion puella azure damselfly 1
Enallagma cyathigerum common blue damselfly 1
Ischnura elegans blue tailed damselfy 2


Species Common Name Abundance (notes)
Buteo buteo buzzard 1
Columba palumbus wood pigeon 2
Columba livea feral pigeon 1
Cyanistes caeruleus blue tit 2
Dendrocopus major greater spotted woodpecker 2
Parus major great tit 1
Periparus ater coal tit 1
Picus viridis green woodpecker 1
Sitta europaea nuthatch 3
Troglodytes troglodytes wren 1
Turdus merula blackbird 3
Carduelis carduelis goldfinch 1


Species Common Name Abundance (notes)
Natrix natrix Grass Snake 1


Species Common Name Abundance (notes)
Rana temporaria common frog 1
unidentified newt (wild strawberries)


Species Common Name Abundance (notes) Host Plants
Asilidae Robber fly 4 Eryngium (photo of 1)
Arhopalus sp Long horn beetle 1 (probably A. rusticus (dusky longhorn))
Calliphora sp Blue Bottle 1 Francoa
Cetonia aurata Rose chafer 2 Hydrangea(possible)
Conops flavipes (male) Fly sp. 1
Coreus marginatus dock bug 1 (nymph)
Chrysops Deer fly 1 Persicaria ‘Fat Domino’
Episyrphus balteatus Marmalade hoverfly 1 Teasel
Eristalis pertinax Drone Fly 1
Formica pos. fusca or related sp. Black Ant sp. 1
Hilara chorica 1 Euphorbia
Lasius niger black garden ant >10
Myrmeleotettix maculatus mottled grasshopper 1
Palomena prasina common green shieldbug 1
Pyrochoa serraticornis Cardinal beetle 2
Rhogonycha fulva Common Red Soldier Beetle >20 Lysimachia, Hydrangea, grass
Rutpela maculata Black & Yellow Longhorn 1 (possible)
Sarcophagidae Flesh fly 3
Solenopsis sp Red Ant 1
Sphaerophoria scripta hoverfly 1
Syrphus ribesii hoverfly 1 Astilbe(possible)
unidentified ant 100
unidentified fly >30 Variagated Abelia, Persicaria
unidentified centepede/millipede 1
unidentified ladybird 1
unidentified hoverfly >30 Persicaria, Purple Loosestrife, Hydrangea,Hypericum
unidentified sheild bug 6 Persicaria, Fennel
unidentified cricket 3 Scabious
unidentified grasshopper 2 michelmus daisy
Volucella inanis hoverfly 3 Persicaria
Volucella pellucens great pied hoverfly 1
Volucella zonaria hornet hoverfly 2 (photo)


Species Common Name Abundance (notes)
Pipistrellus pygmaeus Soprano pipistrelle (not intensive bat activity – frequent)
Pipistrellus pipistrellus Common pipistrelle (frequent)
Eptesicus serotinus Serotine (frequent)
Nyctalus noctula Noctule 1
Plecotus auritus Brown Long eared (likely)
Myotis nattereri Natterer (probably)
unidentified vole/shrew (by Pond)


Species Common Name Abundance (notes)
Miltochrista miniata rosy footman 5
Ochropleura plecta flame shoulder 2
Patania ruralis mother of pearl 3
Idaea biselata small fan footed wave 2
Crambus perlella micromoth 1
Blastobastis adustella micromoth 1
Yellow Shell 1
Adaina microdactyla Hemp agrimony plume
Cataclysta lemnata small china mark 1
Noctua janthe Lesser broad bordered Yellow Underwing 1
Noctua pronuba Large yellow underwing 1
Epirrhoe alternata Common carpet 1
Pandemis corylana Chequered fruit tree tortrix 1
Agrotis puta Shuttle shaped dart 4
Eilema griseola Dingy footman 1
Cydia splendana Tortrix moth 2
Opisthograptis luteolata Brimstone 2
Cyclophora punctaria Maiden’s Blush 1
Eudonia merchrella micromoth 1
Deilephila elpenor Large Elephant Hawk Moth 1
Mesapamea secalis Common Rustic 2
Mythimna ferrago Clay 2
Dioryctria abietella micromoth 1
Macaria liturata Tawny Barred Angle 2
Xestia c-nigrum Setaceous Hebrew Character 1
Acrobasis aduenella micromoth 1
Lithosia quadra Four Spotted Footman 1
Agriphella selasella micromoth 1
Carcina quercana micromoth 1
Cosmia trapezina Dun bar 1
Mythimna pallens Common Wainscot 1
Eupithecia centaureata Lime Speck Pug 1
Noctua comes Lesser Yellow Underwing 1
Eilema depressa Buff Footman 1
Catoptria pinella micromoth 1
Colocasia coryli Nut Tree Tussock 1
Agrotis exclamationis Heart & Dart 1
Abrostola tripartita Spectacle 1
Biston betularia Peppered 1
Macaria notata Peacock 1
Lycophotia porphyrea True Lovers Knot 1
Peribatodes rhomboidaria Willow Beauty 1
Lymantria monacha Black Arches

Spiders and Others

Species Common Name Abundance (notes) Host Plants
Linyphia triangularis sheet web spider 1 (on tree)
Neriene montana money spider 3 (possible)
Oniscus asellus woodlouse 1
unidentified spider 3 Sedum, Echinops
unidentified millipede 1
unidentified snail 3

Painted Ladies Here

A further report from our lepidopterology and odonatology expert, Keith Powrie

Just managed to fit in a count between days of wind & rain – again!

The walk started off cloudy but the sun eventually emerged and wow – What a show!

The average count for Week 20 is 24.  Yesterday’s count was 29. The most numerous were Painted Ladies.3 were seen on one patch of Verbena, with another one nearby. These beautiful Nymphalids migrated from the continent in late spring, assisted by the south/south-westerly winds.  The arrived in sufficient numbers to enable them to find mates and produce the summer brood that now adorn the nectar plants in the Gardens.

Painted Lady
© Keith Powrie

A rather tatty Common Blue was also seen.  Its bright blue scales having been lost to the rain and wind. Dragonfly numbers have also been affected by the inclement weather.

A Southern Hawker was found resting by the Lower Falls Pond.  This species has emerged nearly 2 months later than last year.

Southern Hawker
© Keith Powrie

A Ruddy Darter was observed holding territory on Dragon Pond – chasing off a Similar looking Common Darter.

A single Common Blue-tailed Damselfly was the remnant of this year’s damselflies,also seen on Dragon Pond.


Annual Garden Survey – Pictures

As you may be aware, our Annual Garden Survey took place on 6th August. Here are some pitures from the setup and the day.

The results from the survey showing species found are available here

Jan Freeborn organises mammal trap preparation aided by Rosina Henderson

Family fun identifying wildlife at Knoll Garden’s Foundation Annual Garden Wildlife Survey 2019

Common Frog assists with the Survey Form completion

Foundation volunteer Rob Bascombe goes reptile surveying

Juvenile Grass Snake in Rob Bascombe’s hand

Looking for pollinators with KGF bumblebee surveyor and charity trustee, Rowena Jecock

Wildlife Indentification in the Marquee

Searching for Bees in the Bee Hotel

Looking for Wildlife?

Nicky Hoar, Dorset Wildlife Trust updates the board with the help of a young volunteer

More updates being made by our helpers

Moth Watch

We will shortly be conducting another Moth Watch here in the Garden and it will be interesting to see how it compares against our last Watch in July.

The results from July were most illuminating. The Great Reveal, always an exciting time, this year  helped us record  a total of 58 species in all.

We were most grateful to Mark Spencer from Bournemouth Natural Science Society for setting up the moth trap and recording and helping us identify our  visitors.

Below some images from the survey:-

The Reveal in progress

Scarce Merveille du jour

Broad Bordered Yellow Underwing

The trap in situ

What a difference a few days make

Two reports here from our lepidopterology and odonatology expert, Keith Powrie demonstrating the difference only a few days can make in the Garden. Read on for Weeks 15 and 16 below!

Week 15

Another poor count week. It seems July isn’t going to be much better than June! Just 15 butterflies were counted.

The average for this week at Knoll is 32.

The most common, with counts of 4, were Green-veined Whites and Ringlets. The only ondonata present were Azure Damselflies, with no dragonflies being seen at all!

© Keith Powrie

Azure Damselfly
© Keith Powrie

Week 16

What a difference a few days makes!

On the 12th, the Week 15 count yielded just 15 butterflies of 7 species.

A few days later, on the 15th, Week 16’s count was 31 butterflies of 11 different species.

Mind you, the presence of some sunshine does help!
Several new species were enticed onto the wing:

Small White – usually as a migrant, brought over on southerly winds from the Continent.
Comma – 1st brood from overwintering adults.
Gatekeeper – single brooded in mid summer.
Holly Blue – first appearance of 2nd brood.

The cool conditions between the short bouts of warm sunshine, have curtailed the emergence of dragonflies. A few Azure Damselflies were pairing up and egg-laying, but only one Large Red Damselfly was seen.

The only dragonfly seen was a male Brown Hawker – searching for a mate. Let’s hope he finds one soon, before the next lot of bad weather arrives!

Some distance from any water feature, was the discovery of an adult Banded Demoiselle.

© Keith Powrie

Brown Hawker
© Keith Powrie

Every creature counts – Annual Garden Wildlife Survey

Annual Garden Wildlife Survey Tuesday 6th August
This year’s Annual Garden Wildlife Survey takes place on Tuesday 6 August from 10am – 3pm normal garden admission costs apply. There’s no need to book, and £5 of each garden admission ticket will be donated to the Knoll Gardens Foundation.

If you’d like to know more about the wide variety of creatures that may be living in your garden the Knoll Gardens Annual Garden Wildlife Survey is a great place to start. Led by experts from the Dorset Wildlife Trust, this special day takes place every year to create a vital snapshot of the wildlife activity in this east Dorset garden. The survey provides an important year-on-year record, and offers the opportunity for everyone with an interest in wildlife to get involved – beginners and experts alike.

Learning more about the relationship between Knoll’s flora and fauna is a key part of the work of the Knoll Gardens Foundation, the garden-based charity set up to understand the ecology of the garden and encourage others to adopt techniques that benefit the gardener and garden wildlife. In addition to the Annual Garden Wildlife Survey the Foundation also organises regular surveys of its populations of birds, butterflies, moths, bees, dragonflies, reptiles, mammals and bats.

“2019 has already seen some unusual sightings across the country with hot weather in Europe bringing an influx of Painted Lady butterflies in June and  unusual birds including the European Bee Eater and Purple herons”, said Knoll’s owner Neil Lucas.

“Whilst we are not expecting to spot anything as substantial as a heron, we will be on the lookout for rare Scarce Chaser dragonflies as we have had a female guarding her territory by a pond for nearly two months and would love to see her find a mate”.

Scarce Chaser (female)
© Keith Powrie

Painted Lady
© Keith Powrie

“Last year the survey also found an amazing variety of other insects including long-winged Conehead crickets, Batman hoverflies, Beewolf wasps and Fork-tailed Flower Bees. We hope they are all still thriving alongside the garden’s many other insects, birds, mammals and reptiles. I’d encourage everyone to come along and find out more about the wide range of creatures that may be living in their own gardens.”

This year’s Annual Garden Wildlife Survey takes place on Tuesday 6 August from 10am – 3pm normal garden admission costs apply.  There’s no need to book, and £5 of each garden admission ticket will be donated to the Knoll Gardens Foundation.

Daily Echo Article re the survey here