Butterfly garden plants will help attract beautiful, graceful butterfly’s into your cottage garden. The moth is a cousin of the family and together they form an important group in many habitats. They come from larvae or caterpillars as we know them and many gardeners consider these pests but they are an important part of the diet of larger animals.
This dislike of caterpillars and a loss of habitat and food has lead to a drastic decline of many species of butterfly. Unless things change, and change quickly, the future of these gorgeous additions to the garden does not look good.
The caterpillar eats a large amount of plant matter and can increase its body size more than 30,000 times this food gets converted into tissue and can be a wonderful addition to the diet of other animals.
The main pests for the gardener are the cabbage white, tortrix, and tomato moth, but other species eat weeds. Moths also form a part of the diet of many of our native bat species.
The main threats for the butterfly and moth are loss of habitat and the use of pesticides. While killing off the pests many other non-threatening butterfly and moths get killed too.
Now more than ever the gardener can do so much to help the survival of many butterfly and moth species. Just a little knowledge and planting can help to bring back our native butterfly, moth and bee species. They are a part of the pollinators species and if we like fruit and vegetables and many other natural delights we need to give them a helping hand.
It does not matter where you live or how small a space you have to attract them into your garden, a window box will do, as a gardener you can help them along. As a cottage gardener you have the added bonus that all the plants that they love work naturally in a cottage garden plus cottage gardening is organic gardening so it really is a perfect fit.
The main thing to remember when creating a wildlife garden or a cottage garden for that matter is to have a large variety of different butterfly garden plants. It is the modern use of monoculture that has helped the decline of so many of our native creatures. It would be a sad world indeed without our pollinators.
Many butterfly’s prefer a sunny feeding spot by day, moths on the other hand need night scented flowers with nectar.
What is equally important is caring for caterpillars so that they can become adult butterfly’s and moths. Caterpillars in fact suffer more than butterfly’s from the loss of food plants and over wintering places and habitat. So before the gardener begins to wage a war on caterpillars it’s good to remember that they are just butterfly’s in the making, even if they are eating machines!
You may have room in your cottager garden to create a ‘caterpillar crèche’ away from the vegetable garden and just let them eat to their hearts content. The area may look a little sad, but you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you are growing butterfly’s. The plants that they love are:
A good variety is what they need. When you plan your butterfly garden think like a garden chef. They want a buffet of sumptuous food…just like we do ;)
There are some plants that you may not consider planting or letting stay in the garden; stinging nettles are one of them but the tortoiseshell, Red Admiral and Peacock butterfly’s love them. Talking of Red Admirals they are particularly partial to pears that have fallen from the tree and are fermenting in autumn so leave a few on the ground and let them have a little party ;)
There is one plant that both bees and butterfly’s just cannot get enough of and that is the Butterfly Bush Buddleja davidii it smells of honey and they love it. If you only have room for just one plant this is the one.