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Get growing to help our butterflies and moths

The Wildlife Trusts and Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) launch their annual Wild About Gardens campaign this month.

Inspired by a new film adaptation of the Frances Hodgson Burnett classic, The Secret Garden – in cinemas from 10th April – gardeners are urged to get growing to help save our butterflies and moths.

Small copper – Jon Hawkins

Gardens provide a vital refuge for delicate winged visitors to rest, feed and breed – and planting nectar-rich flowers, leaving a patch of longer grass and planting beautiful wildflowers will help every stage of their life cycle. 

Important pollinators, butterflies and moths, along with caterpillars, are also vital food for birds like robins and blue tits as well as bats. However, due to loss of habitats numbers of once-common species like the small tortoiseshell have dropped by up to 80% in the last 30 years in some areas.

Lackey moth caterpillar – Vaughn Matthews.

For the ideal butterfly garden plant a wide variety throughout the year to support butterflies and moths at every stage. Early-flowering species such as dandelions, aubretia, and native bluebells are good sources of nectar; followed by buddleia and red valerian, and ivy flowers in the autumn, with many wildflowers and long grasses also excellent food-plants. If you don’t have a garden, a flowering window-box can also help, especially in urban areas.

The Wildlife Trusts and RHS have published a free booklet for the campaign with colourful advice and easy tips on how to make outdoor spaces more attractive to butterflies, moths and their caterpillars – available to download here

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