A bad year for butterflies certainly, last week Peacocks were present, one Comma and a Red Admiral, so the Buddleias have not fulfilled their purpose.
Of the established cultivars in the garden, Empire Blue is first to flower but is not the most floriferous and tends to get spring die back. Next is Orpheus which is a more sprawly grower with thinner leaves, its flower spikes are thinnish and darker purple, with a distinct eye. Next Lochinch with silvered softer leaves then Dart’s Papillon Blue, fat spikes of pale violet. .
Pixie White is as the name suggests not very tall growing and does not seem overly attractive to butterflies. Nanho Blue has intense deep ‘blue’ thin spikes and finer leaved foliage. I have cut this back to a stump and it has still bounced back vigorously.
Last to flower is the not very distinguished looking (but not offensive) vigorous Autumn Beauty/Clive Farrell/Beijing which is late into flower hence its inclusion in the garden. This too sometimes has die back on whole branches in spring, so cut back by around 1/3 after flowering to stop windrock but don’t prune until it is actively growing in spring.
Visited Longstock Park Nursery yesterday, a National Collection Holder for Buddleia. The first flush of earlier flowering buddles was over but there was still plenty to see.
Nanho Purple like its sibling has fine leaves and relatively small flower spikes but a deep colour.
Gonglepod, I have always liked the name! But on which English nursery was it found? Thickish pale violet spikes and a purple tint to the stems which gave the whole shrub a hazy look.
Blue Chip has slightly crushed thicker petalled individual flowers which gives an impression of doubling on the short spikes. Apparently it is also a ‘truly dwarf’ shrub but not the reason I noticed it.
Dartmoor, lilac many fingered fat spikes probably a bit big and in your face for some but very floriferous.
Gulliver – thick pale lilac spikes also said to be dwarf but apparently not so (links to the Buddleja Garden website).
Of the whites, Buzz Ivory stood out for density of flowers to foliage and although not huge in growth, looked a little large for a patio pot which is how it has been marketed (Thompson & Morgan).
Species buddleias also stood out especially B nivea which had very large soft felty leaves.
As ever Wikipedia has a comprehensive list of cultivars and links to pictures and breeding.