Hartley Magazine

All the latest news, hints, tips and advice from our experts

Gardens ‘can create an inviting habitat for wildlife’

It will not take a lot of wok for a keen gardener to turn their green space into an inviting area for local wildlife.

This could make a really great project to undertake and it is particularly appropriate in spring, when creatures such as butterflies are starting to come out.

Author of The Family Butterfly Book Rick Mikula told the Associated Press that all is required is a little forward planning and the warm weather will do the rest.

It will also be beneficial to the natural world, as habitat destruction is one of the biggest issues facing the world’s wildlife population at the present.

So even adding a few butterfly-friendly blooms will be a positive development for these creatures, even if it is just a handful of pots and containers spread outside a greenhouse.

Mr Mikula underlined the simplicity of undertaking this task, as daisies, asters and violets can all offer butterflies a small snack.

“Even one or two plants like that are going to be great because when the butterflies are moving, there’s a place for them to stop,” he commented.

Lowe’s spokeswoman Colleen Maiura said people do not have to limit their action to bringing in more flowers if they wish to attract butterflies to the garden.

She explained that the flying insects enjoy basking in the sun, so horticultural enthusiasts can spread a few flat stones near the flowerbeds to offer them a place to rest.

“Place stations where butterflies – and you – can easily see them and where they are sheltered from the wind,” Ms Maiura advised.

Nathan Brockman, curator of the Christina Reiman Butterfly Wing of Reiman Gardens at Iowa State University in Ames, added the individual may need to make some small further concessions.

For instance caterpillars – the offspring of butterflies – will end up eating host plants such as herbs and vegetables.

If you had planned on growing produce such as this for the dinner table, it may be a good idea to consider what options would benefit from being grown separately in a glasshouse.

Mr Brockman advised against the use of pesticides, suggesting people should not “use any at all if you are truly gardening for butterflies”.

We “need to instill in our youth that insects are good,” he continued, adding: “Fortunately for the butterflies, they are considered the pretty ones.”

Butterflies are not the only creatures that would benefit from this attitude, as Gardeners’ World’s Kate Bradbury recently claimed people should try to attract wildlife with fruiting shrubs and various log and leaf piles.