Have a flutter enticing insects; Garden Watch.
There are more than 50 species of butterfly in the UK, so it would be wise to keep a pocket sized guide with you, so that you can spontaneously identify them as they flutter by.
It's a pleasurable activity which can be shared with your children and while most butterflies prevail around August, they can be spotted on any bright, but calm, sunny day.
Butterflies visit our gardens seeking out nectar and a place to lay their eggs. The red admiral particularly loves nettles, as these are the food choice of her young. A wild, though not unkempt, area that replicates the environment butterflies most love, filled with grasses, thistles (and nettles) would certainly attract several species into your garden including the peacock and the small tortoiseshell.
Caterpillars will often pupate and overwinter on necrotic vegetation, so avoid being too tidy with your garden if you wish to keep them. A butterfly can more easily seek out nectar, when the wind is calm and the colours of the flowers are enhanced by the light of the sun. Perhaps the most favoured ornamental shrub by gardeners is the buddleia, known as the butterfly bush. This is terribly easy to grow and is best planted in a moist, but well drained soil and in full sun.
There are several popular dwarf varieties too. There are of course masses of other plants that butterflies adore, so don't restrict your choice to buddleia alone. Other shrubs include ceanothus, ceratostigma, lavender, escallonia and hebe. Bedding or annual flowers such as French marigolds or sweet william or wild flowers such as cornflower will be visited by many species.
The orange tip butterfly can be found amongst the aubrietia in late spring, while the comma and small tortoiseshell like sedum.
Try verbena bonariensis, echinops, dianthus and red valerian too. If you attract butterflies to your garden other beneficial insects will follow.
David Hitchman, Notcutts garden centre manager, Stratford Road, Solihull
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|Publication:||The Birmingham Post (England)|
|Date:||May 19, 2011|
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