Saturday, 19 July 2008

helping butterflies


I think that we all expected that our native butterflies and moths would benefit from climate change. We associate global warming with a heating and drying of our local climate. It's not working out that way.

Last year was the wettest summer on record. This year is typically English - often cool, frequently wet.
This means that for the second successive year we have had poor conditions for butterflies and moths. And don't we know it! I have seen a large white fluttering around recently, and orange tip earlier in the season. But not much else.

So, our fluttering friends need as much help as we can give them.
There is absolutely nothing on earth better for meeting the nectar needs of insects than buddleia davidii. They were introduced to this country by Victorian plant collectors and have naturalised.
They love our sandy conditions and can even be seen growing in the old wall that surrounds Lord Byron's garden in Newstead Abbey, a mile up the road.

The plant pictured is a new one, bought in the early spring and now flowering for the first time. It is flowering before the other buddleias in the garden and so will provide a longer source of nourishing nectar for all visiting insects including moths and butterflies.

We have a buddleia davidii Black Knight. It is a big, bossy plant that usually puts on eight feet of growth each year. The newcomer is much smaller, has a more prostrate habit and slender silver stems.

They all have the sweetest fragrance.

If only I could find the label!

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