This year, The Wildlife Trusts and The Royal Horticultural Society are urging gardeners to help butterflies and moths for 2020’s Wild About Gardens Campaign.
The campaign is inspired by a new film ‘The Secret Garden’ which celebrates the joys of wildlife gardening.
The Secret Garden
The new campaign draws inspiration from the dazzling new film adaptation of the Frances Hodgson Burnett classic, The Secret Garden, starring Colin Firth, Julie Walters and newcomer Dixie Egerickx as Mary Lennox. The film will be bringing the magic of wildlife, childhood and gardening to the big screen this spring when it blooms in cinemas across the UK later this year.
Important pollinators and food
Butterflies and moths are important pollinators and, along with caterpillars, are vital food for birds like robins and blue tits as well as bats. However, their habitats have faced catastrophic declines and once-common species like the small tortoiseshell have dropped by up to 80% in the last 30 years in some areas.
An ideal butterfly garden
An ideal butterfly garden has a wide variety of plants throughout the year to support their life cycles – for butterflies and moths emerging from hibernation, egg-laying females, caterpillars and then adults. Early-flowering species such as dandelions, aubretia and native bluebells are good sources of nectar; these could be followed by buddleia and red valerian and, finally, ivy flowers which are a great late-season asset in the autumn.
Many wildflowers and long grass are also excellent larval food-plants. Whether your garden is large or small, or simply a flowering window box, it could throw these declining insects a lifeline, especially in urban areas.
The Wildlife Trusts’ gardening champion, horticulturist and TV presenter Frances Tophill says: “Our garden flowers and plants provide a rich source of rejuvenating nectar for these much-loved garden visitors as they emerge from hibernation to herald the start of spring. Go wild in your garden and leave the dandelions and daisies in the lawn to provide a meal, aim for year-round flowers and include a wildflower area for egg-laying females as well as gardeners’ favourites like lavender, nasturtium and verbena. The Wild About Gardens website is packed with information and easy actions we can all take to support butterflies and moths throughout their impressive life cycle.”
Ellie Brodie, senior policy manager of The Wildlife Trusts says: “We all love watching moths and butterflies as they flutter by and brighten up our gardens – being in nature replenishes us and makes us happy. We know that UK wildlife is in decline and needs our help – that’s why we’re asking gardeners to work together and create a wave of long grass, wildflowers, colour and perfume across the country – a nature recovery network for these gorgeous creatures.”
Pledge for butterflies
Every butterfly garden counts. Each garden contributes towards the network of green spaces that nature needs to survive. Please pledge a bit of garden for butterflies and put it on the map here.
Download or pick up a booklet
The Wildlife Trusts and RHS have published a free booklet with colourful advice and easy tips designed to make our outdoor spaces more attractive to butterflies, moths and their caterpillars.