Our Lutyens benches are the perfect perch to delight in the dance of the butterflies. You can create the ideal environment in your garden for our fluttery friends – with some of these tips for attracting them and keeping them happy.
The decision to attract wildlife to your garden will not only increase the beauty of your land but will also support biodiversity. Butterflies are a pollinator. Therefore, like bees, they are an essential cog in nature’s wheel for regeneration and growth. With many species in decline due to the loss of habitat, we can use our garden’s like a haven.
Here we offer some simple steps for attracting butterflies to your garden.
Knowing what to feed butterflies is a vital ingredient in drawing these insects to your garden. An adult butterfly will seek energy from nectar. Consequently, they will visit gardens looking for flowers to feed on – and will thrive best with nectar-rich flowers.
You can create a rolling program of flowering in your garden from early spring through to late summer. Butterflies will enjoy bluebells in spring, for instance. The meadow flowers of buttercups are also a favourite through the summer. In early autumn, you can encourage blackberry bushes. There are also favourites such as lavender, heather, garden mint, marigolds and more.
If you do not want to work too hard for your butterflies, then you can have your beauty and your lazy Sunday too. Butterflies love meadow areas the most, where there is a mix of weeds and wildflower. The mixture of grasses, thistles, nettles and others are perfect for our flying friends. Consequently, if you leave an area of your garden to evolve naturally, you will be helping butterflies too.
If you want to devote an area of your garden to butterflies, you should choose the warmest spot. Butterflies will thrive in a sunny spot, working hard to pollinate your light-hungry flowers. The butterflies will also need space. Therefore, you need to create an open area near your beds where the insects can fly. Consequently, you should position this flower bed near a lawn or a patio.
Obviously, British summers are not the most reliable, and there may be colder days. To help butterflies, you should make sure there are trees and shrubs where the butterfly can shelter when the weather takes a turn. More perfect still, plant a hedgerow if you can spare the room. This hedgerow will then also provide the ideal habitat for eggs, larvae and chrysalises through the winter period. If you protect all the stages of the butterflies’ life cycle, then you will enjoy the flight of the insect next year too.
Depending on where you live will impact on the species of butterfly you could draw. Therefore, one of the most useful exercises you could undertake is research into your local area. You will want to understand what the butterflies for your area prefer to eat and what stage of life, from caterpillar to butterfly. For instance, planting milk parsley to attract swallowtail butterflies works well in Norfolk but would not offer the same results elsewhere in the UK. If you live in the warmer southern counties, you might want to research white admirals.
If you want to attract butterflies but do not want to attract specific species, the painted lady and large white have a significant distribution across the country.
If you are not fortunate enough to have a large garden, you can still do your bit for the butterfly population. If you plant window boxes with some simple types of flower, such as marigolds, yarrow and lavender and place this in sunlight, you will find you encourage butterflies to your home too. There is something quite soothing about seeing butterflies at your window. You could find that the benefits for your mental health are significant too.
The more organic you can make your gardening, the better for our pollinators. You should avoid using pesticides and, if possible, grow from seed. Plants that are grown in garden centres are often treated to keep them looking perfect for sale. Therefore, the best way to ensure you are growing organic is to create those plants yourself.
You can rarely do something for nature and something for yourself too. Butterflies are lovely for offering a moment of mindfulness – a means of living in that present moment. They are also vital for the health of the environment. Therefore, planting your garden in a way that is good for butterflies helps everyone.
Anna is the marketing and office manager for Garden Benches – a premium supplier of high-quality wooden benches and other outdoor furniture.