This year’s Wild About Gardens campaign, run jointly by The Wildlife Trusts and Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), is calling on gardeners to get growing to help the UK’s falling numbers of butterflies and moths.
The new campaign draws inspiration from a dazzling new film adaptation of the Frances Hodgson Burnett classic, The Secret Garden, starring Colin Firth and Julie Walters.
Butterflies and moths are important pollinators and, along with caterpillars, are vital food for birds like robins and blue tits, as well as bats. However, their habitats have faced catastrophic declines and once-common species like the small tortoiseshell have dropped by up to 80% in the last 30 years in some areas.
An ideal butterfly garden has a wide variety of flowers throughout the year to support their life cycles – for butterflies and moths emerging from hibernation, egg laying females, caterpillars and then adults. Early flowering species include dandelions, aubretia and native bluebells which could be followed by buddleia and red valerian, wildflowers and long grass. Ivy flowers late into autumn. Even a small flowerbed or flowering window box could throw declining numbers a lifeline, especially in urban areas.
The Wildlife Trusts’ gardening champion, horticulturist and TV presenter, Frances Tophill says:
“Our garden flowers and plants provide a rich source of rejuvenating nectar for these much-loved garden visitors as they emerge from hibernation to herald the start of spring. Go wild in your garden and leave the dandelions and daisies in the lawn to provide a meal, aim for year-round flowers and include a wildflower area for egg-laying females as well as gardeners’ favourites like lavender, nasturtium and verbena. The Wild About Gardens website is packed with information and easy actions we can all take to support butterflies and moths throughout their impressive life cycle.”
Senior Community Officer for Norfolk Wildlife Trust, Gemma Walker says:
“We all love watching moths and butterflies as they flutter by and brighten up our gardens – being in nature replenishes us and makes us happy. We know that UK wildlife is in decline and needs our help – that’s why we’re asking gardeners to create a wave of long grass, wildflowers, colour and perfume across Norfolk. Each garden contributes towards the network of green spaces that nature needs to survive.”
Take notice of nature
In the story of The Secret Garden, the garden eases grief, heals rifts and brings the joy out in all who experience it. Make a special place for wildlife – your very own Secret Garden where you can replenish your soul, reconnect with nature and help wildlife to thrive. You’ve probably noticed how spotting butterflies or birds, or walking through woodlands, or alongside rivers and streams can help to lift your mood. Make some time for nature today and enjoy the restorative benefits.
Download or pick up a booklet
The Wildlife Trusts and RHS have published a beautiful – free – booklet with colourful advice and easy tips designed to make our outdoor spaces more attractive to butterflies, moths and their caterpillars. Available to download here