Rain stops butterfly play

The UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme have reported that the weather last year resulted in hard times for butterflies, in fact the worst for more than 25 years. The unusually wet summer meant that butterflies had fewer chances to feed and breed and so numbers have declined. To get more information, check out the Butterfly Conservation web site.

Whilst this is not good news, there are things we can all do to help butterfly numbers recover. Certain species of native plants provide a great habitat and/or nectar to encourage the establishment of breeding colonies and look great to boot. If you have space, try and pack as many native species in as you can with as wide a range of flowering times as possible.

Here are some of the top runners for providing nectar:

BetonyGreater Birdsfoot TrefoilFleabaneCornflowerField ScabiousHemp AgrimonyOxeye DaisyPurple LoosestrifeRagged RobinSheepsbit ScabiousTeaselWild BasilWild MajoramYarrow
Also, don’t forget that grasses, nettles and thistles provide food for butterfly larvae so it’s worth leaving a little wild corner just for them.
If you would like more information about gardening with butterflies in mind, Jenny Steel has written a great book called Butterfly Gardening.

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