A plot with the scent of suc­cess

Han­nah Stephen­son finds out how to at­tract more but­ter­flies this year

Belfast Telegraph - Weekend - - GARDENING AND PETS -

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

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