Our gardens have become vital pieces in nature’s jigsaw puzzle. Even a small garden or courtyard can become a green oasis to help the diminishing numbers of butterflies. Insects tend to prefer local native species, as these have already adapted to our climate, growing more naturally and requiring less attention.
Butterflies love to be warmed by the sun and sheltered from the wind. They come hunting to feed from nectar-rich flowers and are attracted by rich colours, especially purple.
There were ideal conditions for early butterflies on the recent Bank Holiday Monday.
With decreasing natural habitats we can all encourage them into our yards or gardens. Please try to plant a wide variety of well scented flowers and help to lengthen the flowering season.
Spring flowers are vital to butterflies as they emerge from their hibernation. They are attracted to aubretias and the flowering currant bushes.
During summer months butterflies love wallflowers, forget-me-nots, sedums and herbs like rosemary and lavenders. Buddleia is known as the butterfly bush and grows so easily it can be seen thriving in walls and beside railway tracks.
Come autumn, butterflies zoom onto Michaelmas daisies, golden rod and scabious.
If you are lucky enough to have a rougher area in a larger garden, butterflies enjoy comfrey, the common stinging nettles and ivies. Winston Churchill was reputed to have sought refuge in butterfly havens during and after the turbulence of World War II.
For further information on garden butterflies please find yourself a library book or go to www.yorkshirebutterflies.org.uk or www.urbanbutterflygarden.co.uk.
Todmorden in Bloom will always welcome more helpers, especially now during our busiest months ahead.
For more information phone Norman on 01706 812205 or Jean on 01706 817492 or see our website at www.todmorden-in-bloom.btck.co.uk.
l At our last meeting two of our members were delighted to receive an unexpected cheque for £500 from Shirley Fielder from the profits of the Upper Calder Charities Assist (UCCA) Fashion Show held in April 2013. This year some Todmorden in Bloom members made 120 paper flowers in advance to create “Alice in Wonderland’s Garden”.
On the Fashion Show night several members dressed up in the theme and helped at front of house.
Jean Butterfield, chairman of Todmorden in Bloom, said: “This is a wonderful example of local community groups helping each other.”