Do your bit to help our most colourful pollinators by planting their favourite flowers and foodplants, says Dawn Isaac
BUTTERFLIES are the fabulous divas of the insect world, but like all divas they’re fussy about their needs. They can only fly when the weather’s warm enough, so you need to provide them with a sunny spot. Their wings can also be damaged in strong winds, so it needs to be sheltered too.If this only applies to a section of your garden, you can always develop a small butterfly border within the larger space, using dark-coloured ‘sunbathing’ rocks and manmade butterfly puddles as well as the most important element: plants.
Don’t forget that butterflies are only the final stage in a lifecycle that begins with eggs and caterpillars. This means that a complete butterfly garden needs to include not only nectar plants for the adults but also plant species that feed the early caterpillar stages too.
But don’t worry: although many of these plants are considered weeds (such as nettles and thistles) there are plenty of alternative, better-behaved sources of food that you can grow instead (see below).