Summer is the most common time to see brilliant butterflies fluttering about in the garden, in search of the valuable nectar they need to feed on for energy. Summer colour (and indeed year-round colour) can be combined with a butterfly haven, using simple, open flower blooms that the butterflies love. Nectar-rich plants are in abundance, with hundreds to choose from to suit virtually any site or soil, and therefore almost every single garden out there! …All gardens can be ‘fuelling stations’ for our garden friends, from butterflies to bees, moths to other valuable insects.
A snapshot of ‘top picks’ for butterflies for the late (July-September season):
Buddleja davidii varieties
Sedums (spectabile and telephinium varieties)
Choosing a range of plants with different flowering periods will ensure that there is something in bloom for the butterflies to feast on in spring, summer and autumn however. A number of species hibernate and will require ‘fuel’ after re-waking in the spring… and months later will require a stockpile of ‘fuel’ to see them through hibernation in the winter.
While flowers are important to feed adult butterflies, suitable sites are also needed for them to lay their eggs and feed their caterpillars. A good ‘wildlife friendly’ garden should be able to cater for the complete ‘circle of life’ and the butterfly at every stage of theirs.
See our ‘Bee & Butterfly Friendly’ leaflet for more information and ideas about what to plant to attract wildlife into your garden.
General advice for attracting wildlife into the garden:
Provide a water source – From a simple birdbath to a garden pond, introducing a source of fresh water to your garden will act as a magnet for all sorts of species. Even a puddle could provide a useful resource for wildlife friends!
Food – Nectar is essential for many insects such as butterflies, moths and bees. Plant flowers that have simple single structures, which means the nectar is easily available to insects. Masses of single flowers are better than few double blooms. Wildflowers also offer a great source of food – they did evolve with the wildlife after all
Shelter – A patch of nettles, a log pile, a hedge, all provide a form of shelter to various forms of wildlife. If your garden is lacking, it is very simple to construct your own e.g. stacked hollow bamboo canes can make a great bee box/nesting site.