Open your own butterfly cafe

Many of us enjoy watching butterflies flitting from flower to flower on sunny days, the peacock, meadow brown and speckled wood to name but a few. But have you ever thought about creating your own butterfly garden? It couldn’t be easier.

By creating a butterfly area in your garden you are helping provide a nectar source for our wonderful native butterflies and bringing excitement and colour to your garden.

All you need to do is choose a warm, sheltered spot for your butterfly garden, preferably south facing, then choose a variety of plants that will provide nectar from spring to autumn, the spring flowers will provide important nectar when the butterflies come out of hibernation and the autumn plants will help them build up reserves for winter.

Such plants include buddleia, often know as the butterfly bush because of their rich source of nectar which attracts butterflies from July to August; and lavender, again a rich source of nectar throughout the summer.

Other good plants include forget-me-knots, marjoram, knapweed and grasses such as fescues, foxtail and quaking grass.

Although the food plants for the caterpillars might be less appealing to the keen gardener, nettles and thistles are great for the caterpillars. You could set aside an area in your garden such as the bottom of your  hedge for your nettle crop.

Remember to avoid using insecticides and pesticides as these can kill butterflies and pollinating insects along with ladybirds, ground beetles and spiders.

So get planting and do your bit for your local wildlife!