We Want A Biodiverse Community Food Forest At Sidford & That Means Including A Butterfly Garden. But How To Build A Butterfly Garden? Here Are Our Answers.
One of the assets we found when we first looked at the food forest site were two big buddleias in the south eastern corner. They are actually Buddleia davidii (the butterfly bush) .. first “discovered” by Pere Armand David in China in 1887. They were around 4 metres high and splitting in the base. So we’ve cut them back to around one metre as this will rejuvenate them.
We’ve also added cuttings of B. globosa, a Chilean plant first brought to the notice of Europeans in 1774 when brought back to England. This one has globular orange flower clusters and is attractive to bees and butterflies.
Native Species To Attract Butterflies
Rather than focus on non native species we should consider native species, or at least common garden plants that are also useful for human food. Especially plants suited, and sometimes essential, to our native pollinators and butterflies.
Here are a few recommendations:
Primroses, native bluebells (not the Spanish ones), cuckoo flower, dandelions (which we can also eat),
Cornflowers (not normally found in forests, but I have some seed from my garden!), knapweed, marjoram, bramble, lavender, thistle, scabious, and all those beautiful flowering plants such as globe artichokes, leeks, etc.
Ivy (yes it has its uses),
Larval Food Plants
Lady’s Smock, Birdsfoot trefoil, Common sorrel, fescue species, holly,
The Wildlife Trusts have produced a simple booklet on butterfly gardens. It is available online if you follow the link to Grow a Secret Butterfly Garden .