Encouraging Butterflies into your garden

I have a number of Buddleia Davidii Bushes in the garden and at the moment they look great. The flowers are from white through the lilac shades to the dark purple of Black Knight but it is not only the flowers that look so good, it is also the constant movement and colour of the butterflies and bees which are visiting them.

One of the ways to encourage butterflies into the garden is to grow flowers which are particularly attractive to them. (Buddleia is one of them). Another way is to grow plants which will provide hosts for their eggs and caterpillars. To that aim I have taken a small area in one corner of the garden for a ‘wildlife santuary’. That is a very posh way of saying that I allow weeds to grow there.

These weeds are not allowed to grow rampant. I do try to keep some sort of control so that no species overwhelms the rest, but in the main I leave it alone to do its own thing. Among the weeds is a clump of stinging nettle. A month or so ago, this was looking very porly, black and covered with what looked like spiders webs. In fact it was covered with caterpillers which were pupating. They are now turning into Red Admiral Butterflies and it is these. among others (notably Painted Ladies) which are visiting my Buddleia.

A number of the so called weeds (wild flowers) are very attractive and many have formed the basis for more recognised garden flowers. Whilst you don’t want these growing all over the garden, there is no reason why you shouldn’t leave a small area where they can grow undisturbed. You could even allow a few nasturtiums to grow there in the hopes that black fly will populate them, rather than your broad beans and other prize plants. The trick is to clean as much as you can in autumn and don’t allow their roots to spread further than their designated area. You will be surprised at what pops up if you leave it alone.


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