As a child, full of fanciful imagination, I always thought of damselflies, mayflies, dragonflies, moths and butterflies as the fairies who came to visit our garden. There was always something magical about them. Perhaps it was because they could fly. Perhaps it was their amazing diaphanous, iridescent, technicolored wings. Perhaps it was because they always came on sunny days. At any rate, they always lifted my spirits and made me feel happy to see them.
Wishing to continue my acquaintance with the fairies, I have established lots of nectar borders within our garden. As a result we have frequent visits from a variety of butterflies and some of the species find suitable habitats to lay their eggs too. It means there has to be a compromise, of course – lacy foliage on some of the annuals and perennials – but my intention is to encourage them to visit and, hopefully, to breed and continue the species.
The cabbage whites like aubretia, nasturtiums and ragged robin, whereas the small tortoiseshells prefer scabious and Michaelmas daisies. In late Summer we often see as many as thirty butterflies – a mixture of peacocks, red admirals, cabbage whites and tortoiseshells - feeding on the inula daisies for days on end. We have only occasional visits from the orange tip, though I grow honesty flowers especially to attract it. The meadow brown is a rare visitor too because I don’t have grass, which it prefers. But fleeting visits are better than none.
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