About Me

Hello and welcome to my nature writing blog. My name is Jill Stanton-Huxton and I am a freelance writer with a passion for the natural world. I am a volunteer and member of the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds), World Wildlife Fund, British Hedgehog Preservation Society, UK Butterfly Conservation, Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hosptial and BBONT (UK Wildlife Trusts). Please feel free to comment on my posts and if you’ve enjoyed your visit please come again! You can also find me on my facebook page: Nature Notes of a Country Girl. Best wishes, Jill

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Butterflies Need Our Help

It’s a sad fact that four species of butterfly once resident in the UK have become extinct over the last century; and two-thirds of our current species are in decline.  There are a variety of reasons for this: habitat destruction, changes in agricultural and forestry practices, urban expansion and the drainage of wetlands. And butterflies are not just a beautiful part of our natural heritage either; they also indicate the health of the environment, play a crucial role as pollinators and provide food for birds and wildlife.

According to the UK-based charity, Butterfly Conservation, there are a number of things we can do to help. In the UK our gardens cover over two million acres of land – that’s 15 million gardens, each of which can be a mini nature reserve.

So, to encourage butterflies into your garden think about doing some (or all) of the following:

  • Plant nectar rich flowers: Buddleia, Ice Plant, Lavender, Michaelmas Daisy, Oregano, Aubretia, Red Valerian, French Marigold, Hebe and Candytuft;

  • Adult butterflies lay eggs on the foodplant of their caterpillar, so make sure you cater for them too. If you have a vegetable patch grow nasturtiums to lure Large and Small White caterpillars away from your brassicas.  Stinging nettles (which can be grown in a container) are a favourite of both the Red Admiral and the Comma;

  • Environmentally friendly gardening can make a big difference, so cut down on your use of herbicides and pesticides – they kill butterflies, moths and many other pollinating insects, as well as ladybirds and spiders;

  • If you have the space, create a wildflower meadow. Sow a mixture of wildflower and grass seed on bare ground or let grasses that are already there grow and add wildflower plants.

Finally, how about getting involved! Every year thousands of people (including myself) record the butterflies they see; these ‘records’ are vital for conservation. For more info visit the recording and monitoring section of www.butterfly-conservation.org.

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