There are four types of books in our home, children’s books, books that Al and I read aloud together at bedtime, books that sit on the shelf to make me feel cool or clever even though I have no intention of reading them and books full of images that I like to look at.
The 4 images below are from The Country Diary Book of Creating a Butterfly Garden, they’ve been inspiring me of late, the whole 1970’s photo effects, slight grain, defocusing, colour tones.
The book hasn’t just inspire me image-wise, it’s spurred me on into researching some more and today I’m sharing what I’ve found out so far, along with some butterfly photos taken over the past few days – not garden butterflies I must add as our garden is a building site at the moment sadly – but I’ve pledged to work towards a butterfly friendly garden in 2015. It’s easy to put planning a garden like this by until next year – but Autumn flowers help butterflies to build up reserves ready for Winter.
Some Golden Rules for Butterfly Gardening
Butterflies like warmth so choose sunny, sheltered spots when planting nectar plants.
Choose different plants to attract a wider variety of species. Place the same types of plant together in blocks.
Try to provide flowers right through the butterfly season. Spring flowers are vital for butterflies coming out of hibernation and Autumn flowers help butterflies build up their reserves for winter.
Prolong flowering by deadheading flowers, mulching with organic compost, and watering well to keep the plants healthy. Well-watered plants will produce far more nectar for hungry butterflies.
Don’t use insecticides and pesticides.
Don’t buy peat compost. Peat bogs are home to many special animals and plants, including the Large Heath butterfly, which is declining across Europe.
Plants for butterflies fall into two categories, nectar plants for adult butterflies and food plants for caterpillars – and there are both garden and wild plants in each category. The best way to create a Butterfly Garden is to grow both sorts for the butterfly species which are found in your area. To find out which butterflies can be found in your area, check out the Butterfly Conservation charity website, for example I discovered that I should look out for the Green-veined white, Chalkhill blue, Meadow Brown and Speckled Wood. The site also shares local butterfly reserves and tells you more about butterfly recording.
So, why do we need to think about creating a Butterfly friendly garden? The latest ‘State of Britain’s/UK’s Butterflies’ report, published in 2011, highlights the continuing decline of the UK’s butterflies. Amongst the findings I read that for the first time, a significant decrease in the total numbers of wider countryside butterflies have been recorded. The abundance of these common, ‘garden’ butterflies dropped by 24% over 10 years.
Further handy advice: