There are many garden flowers which provide nectar attractive to both butterflies and bees. If you want to attract butterflies try and ensure that you have some nectar producing plants in flower from late winter and early spring all the way through until late summer and autumn. There are a huge range of plants that butterflies will feed from but among the best are mint, catmint, marjoram, oregano, buddleia, iceplant, honesty, sweet rocket, lavender and wallflowers.
The nectar from ivy flowers in autumn is very attractive to red admiral butterflies. Remember too that fallen fruit in autumn will be fed upon by red admirals, commas and peacock butterflies.
Wildlife gardens should also include the food plants for butterfly caterpillars. A small patch of nettles in a sunny location may attract red admirals, commas, peacocks and small tortoiseshells to lay eggs. Holly blues lay their eggs on holly (first generation) and ivy (second generation), orange-tips on garlic mustard and painted ladies on thistles. So try and ensure both nectar for the adult butterflies and food plants for their caterpillars are available. For further information visit www.wildaboutgardens.org.uk
Picture by Jenny Johnson