A plot with the scent of success
Hannah Stephenson finds out how to attract more butterflies this year
Launching Butterfly Conservation’s ‘Plots for Pollinators’ campaign, Alan Titchmarsh, the charity’s vice president, says: “The future of our butterflies, moths and other pollinating insects is under threat, as the places where they live are disappearing.”
The project encourages people to set aside one square-metre of their garden or outdoor space to plant a nectar-rich flowerbed, or a colourful container garden. Here, Titchmarsh offers tips on creating plots for pollinators...
1. Select your space
Measure out one square-metre of outdoor space and fill it with open-flowered, nectar-rich plants. Choose a sunny, sheltered position and group pots together on a patio, grow plants up a fence or wall, or commit an area of a flowerbed.
2. Keep watering
Frequent watering prevents plants from drying out during hot weather, especially when in containers, and helps flowers to produce more nectar. Water the soil not the plant, as larger leaves can act as an umbrella which prevents water getting to the roots.
3. Lay a mulch
Put a layer of mulch on the surface of the soil around the plants, to help prevent water evaporation and suppress weed growth.
4. Use peat-free compost
Always choose peat-free compost and cut down on your use of plastic. Use recyclable and recycled containers or be creative and turn tins and tubs into plant pots. Remember to drill drainage holes in the bottom to prevent waterlogging.
5. Dead-head blooms
Dead-heading keeps plants looking attractive and encourages more blooms.
6. Get neighbours involved
Inspire your neighbours to plant a plot to create a flowery ‘super highway’ for the pollinating insects where you live.
7. Avoid chemicals
Avoid using harmful pesticides, by removing slugs and snails by hand instead. Night is the best time to catch them.
The Plots for Pollinators project will run throughout spring and summer. To take part, visit butterfly-conservation.org/PlantPlots