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scarcity of butterflies

I have been looking at food plants for caterpillars and most seem to be wild/native/weeds, not things we grow much in our gardens. Could the decline in butterflies and moths be due to the fact that their caterpillars can't feed and therefore survive? Nice to encourage butterflies to our gardens but no good if their babies can't survive. There is some talk now about re-wilding, but it should be more than talk, more about doing. There are lots of pieces of brownfield or rough, unused ground, perhaps we could persuade councils or owners to let someone sow LOCAL, suitable and non-invasive native seeds or plants.
East Dorset, new (to me) rather neglected garden.


  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,156
    You are right @SueAtoo, still too many gardeners like the pretty parts but have not embraced the concept of gardening for the wildlife. Still spraying and squishing the unpopular parts

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • PlantmindedPlantminded Posts: 2,273
    You might find this interesting @SueAtooThink Big. Act Wild. | Rewilding Britain
    Wirral. Sandy, free draining soil.
  • bertrand-mabelbertrand-mabel Posts: 2,186
    edited March 2022
    Yes @SueAtoo it is so important to allow our garden spaces to have plants that pollinators can access. Many of the bedding plants don't work but just allowing your "lawn" to be not just grass and have some wildflowers in it is so good for the pollinators.
    We have a small orchard and cut a path through it but we have planted wildflowers in the main areas which is not cut until the Sept/Oct. We have left another area under our bullace trees to allow the nettles to grow.
    Our garden is a wild garden. We have ivy that the insects love and the birds love later in the year.
    It isn't to everybody ideas of an "English" garden but we have have been involved for decades with wildlife and will continue to do.
    We have had over the many weeks peacocks, brimstones, tortoiseshell, small blue and comma. The  bees are amazing...sorry no idea which ones they are but the bumbles are increasing.
  • I like native plants and am trying to encorporate as many as I can into the garden. The first ones were toadflax and vebascum, a few years ago, and for the last couple of years I have had toadflax caterpillars from the brocade moth and mullein caterpillars from the mullein moth. There are more examples but these two are the biggest and quickest success for me. So build it and they will come, it doesn't matter where as long as we help.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 52,070
    I live in an area where farmland and woodland are a stone's throw away, plus, there's a small NT garden across the road. Loads of suitable planting for wildlife of all kinds, all around me, so it isn't quite as vital for me to have as much native planting as it might be for other people. Plenty of little spots for them all to hibernate and feed etc. 

    Bit early here yet for very many butterflies, although the lack of winter and the recent hot weather has meant there's been some peacocks and tortoiseshells in the last couple of weeks. The bees are appearing more frequently too, and there was one or two a couple of weeks ago [6th of March] enjoying the crocus on the first very warm day, which is very early.

    I feel I have a good balance, with tidy and untidy areas, and everything is welcome apart from vine weevil.... 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • dave125dave125 Posts: 178
    SueAtoo said:
    There are lots of pieces of brownfield or rough, unused ground, perhaps we could persuade councils or owners to let someone sow LOCAL, suitable and non-invasive native seeds or plants.
    Please remember that some of the more scarce Butterfly species thrive on brownfield or ex industrial sites. For example, Dingy & Grizzled Skipper, Ringlet, Grayling etc.
    Re-wilding doesn't help everything and is most definitely not a blanket answer.
    Luv Dave
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