On The News yesterday it was stated that nationally our native butterflies are in a definite decline. We do have some beautiful butterflies, and moths actually, which always seem to get forgotten, so to think they are struggling more than ever is very upsetting.
We have a field round our ‘nature inspired garden’ that we leave alone, apart from cutting a walk able path round it. There are a few wild flowers which are self seeded, so 80% grasses. We do not cut this grass, it does its own thing and has established itself into an incredible weave of protection for wildlife as well as being beautiful to look at. We planted some trees and shrubs all producing flowers and berries, again planted with wildlife in mind. During the summer when the grasses are in flower, the soft colours are simply fantastic, from mauve heathery colours to salmon pink, to golden corn shades, really gorgeous, and because there is so much of it, the waves of soft muted colours is truly a beautiful summer treat; and very importantly, it is full of all kinds of wildlife all year round.
There are beds of thistles, which this summer were smothered by hundreds, and I do mean, hundreds of butterflies, moths and bees. I have never seen so many butterflies ever, and not just for a one-day wonder, but for days and weeks, the number of butterflies was utterly amazing. So I am very pleased our tiny corner of the world has helped the butterfly population here at least.
The reason for the national decline is unknown. The weather did cool right off when butterflies were usually at their most prolific, so maybe it was down to that. Farmers will no doubt get some blame as always. But the bigger picture must surely be looked at when pointing the finger towards farmers. Yes, I am biased, but I am also not a fan of commercially driven farming. Huge fields, the chemicals, the ‘chemically dressed’ seeds, the fast field rotation are all aspects I do not endorse at all. Nor GMO but that’s another subject. I favour the organic, nature based farming. Nature and Mother Nature should be embraced and enhanced, not rewritten and manipulated, it will always win in the end!
Anyway, to list some of what we had here this year:
Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Peacock, Green Vein Whites, Marble Whites, Painted Ladies, Large and Small Whites, Brimstone, Orange Tip, Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, Large and Small Skippers. And so many different moths many of which were daytime ones, I wouldn’t know how to identifying them. The above mentioned are what I have decided we had, I am no expert so my identification of some species may not be correct. We did see a Ruby Tiger Moth, which was stunning. I didn’t see this year however, either a Comma or a Humming Bird Hawk Moth. We have a tiny lavender blue butterfly every year that I am yet to identify.
Ruby Tiger Moth
Check out the Butterfly Conservation website, it gives loads of information from identifying to what plants to use in your garden to attract more of them.
See if there are some butterfly and bee friendly plants, trees and shrubs that can add to your garden. It would appear both butterflies and bees are in desperate need of all of our help. Besides the sight of beautiful butterflies and the sound of bees completes the perfect summer scene!
Even now, when the summer is fast leaving us, we can still help the hibernating species survive by providing suitable sites, get to the gardens folks and do your bit whilst the last few butterflies take advantage of the late summer sun!