Beneficial Garden Insects
Trying to encourage nature to re-colonise your garden in a manner that is beneficial to you, could be one of the most challenging things you have recently attempted but if you persevere you will succeed and enjoy the benefits. Most people have grass lawns and an easy way to attract butterflies is to allow your grass to flower, this is best done by ceasing to cut your lawn in June this will allow the grass to send up flower stalks, soon you will have a lovely picture of delicate grass flowers carpeting the lawn. one of the interesting facts about insects is that the vast majority are 'species specific' this means that the insect will only feed on one type of plant or live and feed on a particular type of plant and I'm sure you will have noticed in your own garden how one plant might have lots of aphids, but a different plant beside it would have none, this is 'species specific' in action. So there are butterflies that only feed on grass flowers, so to get a chance to see them, try allowing your grass to flower one year and see what happens. If you allow the grass to flower each year you might establish a colony of a particular type of butterfly - now there's a challenge ! You can still cut your lawn after it has flowered, if the grass flowers turn to seed and drop, this will invigorate your lawn and increase disease resistance.
Here is a list of butterflies you could possibly attract to your lawn -
- Meadow Brown
- Gate Keeper
- Scotch Argus
- Small Skipper
- Large Skipper
- Speckled Wood
If you have suffered garden hose bans in recent years then perhaps your lawn has suffered, the way to overcome dried and browned off lawns is to never cut it shorter than 2" and only cut it in late afternoons or better still just before or after it has rained, (We all know not to cut wet grass with mowers) and that way your grass should always remain fresh and green looking. If your grass is approx 2 - 3" tall you could naturalise wild Violets in your lawn which will attract many butterflies and also add to the beauty of your thick lawn. Here is a list of butterflies that could be attracted to your garden if you manage to naturalise wild Violets, they really are quite small but a delight when you find them nestled in your lawn each year.
- Dark Green Fritillary
- Small Pearl-Bordered Fritillary
- High Brown Fritillary
- Pearl-bordered Fritillary
- Silver Washed Fritillary
To encourage wandering butterflies to stay and colonise your garden you also need to provide places for the butterfly larva to hide or hibernate, so if you have trees or shrubs in your garden near your lawn, then it is probably almost certain that over a few years you will get some form of resident butterfly.
- Directory of flower shops and information, including how to send cheap flowers online.