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Butterflies in the garden

On a warm sunny day what looks more pleasing than a few butterflies in your garden displaying their lovely coloured wings. So why not encourage them by planting some shrubs and plants that you know they will enjoy.

I am going to leave Adrian to come up with a list of flowers that will invite butterflies into the garden to feed on the nectar which is one of the most important things for butterflies.  Pen and paper Adrian – off you go – I look forward to seeing your list.

After a little rest, Adrian has done his homework and is back and we can carry on. ‘Well done, a nice assortment you have here’!

Varieties such as the buddleia, lavender, asters, sunflowers, salvias, marigolds, cosmos, lilies, verbenas, cornflower, sage, ivy, honeysuckle, sedum, hebe and pansies. Imaging planting a mixture of these varieties – your garden could really be a haven for butterflies. Butterflies like warmth so always choose a sunny, sheltered spot when planting. Butterflies are cold blooded insects, which mean they only emerge in warmer temperatures and cease to be seen in cooler weather. You can also provide shelter by providing a butterfly house.

The most obvious plant is the butterfly bush ‘Buddleia davidii’ – Every gardener should find room in the garden for a Buddleia, the blooms also have a wonderful scent.   If you have many nectar-rich flowers in your garden, you will be surprised at the amount of butterflies that you encourage.

Host plant
The plant in which a butterfly lays eggs is called the host plant. For these plants you should be looking to nurture nettles, thistles and cuckoo flowers. They also provide a source of food for insects.

Nettles
These are ideal to be left to grow naturally in a sunny corner of the garden. Not only do they provide a place for the butterfly eggs, they also provide food for caterpillars of the small tortoiseshell, peacock, red admiral and the comma butterfly.

Herb Garden
Butterflies love to visit the flowering herb gardens containing rosemary, thyme, lavender, catnip, marjoram, chives and fennel. There will be so much nectar on tap for the butterflies.

Autumn/Winter
In autumn, there are butterflies in the orchard so try to get a few bad apples or plums in the garden and overwinter them in a part of the garden littered with piles of wood and leaves. This will ensure that the butterflies, their eggs and pupae stay safe through the winter months.

Get to know insects from close up!

This insect theatre has a solar-powered light that switches on automatically at dusk, attracting butterflies, moths and other insects. This not only provides them with a comfortable shelter but it also presents an entertaining spectacle. The insects can fly in and out freely through holes and slits in the side. Made of varnished wood with pexiglass. Size 32 x 20 x 17 cm.

A warning for you Adrian – stay out of the garden with your butterfly net!

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