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Butterflies

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Having watched Springwatch's excellent programme on butterflies and moths, and seeing the surge of butterflies we have at the moment, after our month of sun bonanza, it seems possible that we can get them back. All these lost flying jewels will return to us if we provide the places. How to do that is the conundrum.

The first and simplest thing to do would be leaving grasses to grow tall, uncut along verges, and growing plants which offer nectar bearing flowers. Buddleia of course is the favourite, but  oregano and thyme flowers also bring them to feast in the sun. But nettles are needed too, for the caterpillars of Red Admirals, Peacocks and Small Tortoiseshells, so a bit of disarray is also necessary. Leave Jack-by-the-Hedge ( Hedge Garlic) in April/May for the Orange Tips to lay their eggs upon. And grow a hop plant ( Humulus Lupulus) perhaps to climb into a hedge or up a trellis, for the Comma Butterfly to lay eggs upon.

Clive Farrell the mutli-millionaire butterfly enthusiast who bought the 27 acres of land for Butterfly World is a butterfly saviour.  He has one hundred acres specifically managed for butterflies to thrive,  He now has 39 of the 59 British species on his land.

Simply put: Make the homes for them and  they will come.

Leave the grasses in corners, in dappled shady places.  Grow flowers, single, not double. Seek them out in garden centres.  Bee friendly plants are also butterfly friendly. Even Waitrose has cottoned on to the market potential of 'Bee Friendly' labelling of plants!

Nag your local authority to cut down on cutting down verges...it'll save them money too! They all must have a biodiversity plan.  This will help them to tick lots of boxes towards conservation of habitats.

Open your eyes in motorway slip road queues.  From you car window you'll see a wild garden of wild flowers, often with butterflies fluttering among them if you're lucky.  Motorways could be ribbon wild life reserves.  They could be seeded as Dame Miriam Rothschild advocated. Miriam Lane, the road into Butterfly World near St Albans, showed the way when the verges were seeded with wild flowers.  The resultant tapestry of colour and textures was a joy to see. 

So it's healthy for butterflies, and bees as well as making us  humans happier.  It makes us smile, the colours up lift the spirits and the ethereal beauty of dancing butterflies flitting from bloom to bloom seeking mates and nectar can  soothe our electronically frazzled minds.

Think: ...a crowd of white butterflies alighting on deep purple lavender flowers, shimmering in the sun...  and smile!

We all need this!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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