Did you know that there are over 1500 species of pollinating insects, including hoverflies, honeybees, bumblebees as well as butterflies but that over 70% of our butterfly species are declining in number? And as usual, this problem is man-made. Changes to our land use that involve removing habitats such as woodlands and hedgerows essential to these insect populations are impacting on pollinator populations that the successful production of our crops relies on.
That’s why at Avant we want to encourage the folk of South Ribble and Chorley to plant with pollinators in mind and thus help to rescue some of our most endangered butterflies, our honeybees and other declining species of beneficial insect.
And planting a butterfly-friendly container isn’t complicated. The container doesn’t have to be anything special as long as it allows the drainage plants require, you fill it with a suitable compost and keep it moist in a sunny, outdoor spot.
As for what to put in your pot, the plants we have noted most insect activity on and around at the garden centre is Cosmos. Cosmos is a beautifully girly pink and white flowered plant, easily grown from seed or bought as a potful ready to plant. Cosmos flowers prolifically for months so providing a good long term source of food, all for minimal deadheading effort on your part. (Pictured top)
Other particularly attractive plants are Buddleia (known as the Butterfly Bush which now comes in an array of colours and even dwarf varieties), Catmint, Marjoram, Lavender, perennial wallflower, Verbena Bonariensis, and then bedding plants such as Calendula, Marigolds and Dahlias.
And don’t forget the caterpillars too. Leave a pot or a patch you don’t mind giving up to them of anything from Nasturtiums, Violets and Cowslips to more natural meadow plants, like grasses, wild flowers and nettles. You’ll find the bird species around your insect friendly plot will become more wide and varied, reflecting the new ecosystem of insect life you are introducing.