At last the weather seems to have turned and spring has sprung in all its glory. It is a busy time in the more than 1,200 Wild Spaces already created across the country, large and small.
Taking simple actions (which often involve not doing something) can make a big difference at this time of year. It’s not too late to plant some Marjoram (Wild Oregano) or Wild Thyme in a pot or planter on your balcony or patio. If you have a lawn in your Wild Space, let an area grow a bit longer to help encourage wildflowers and feed pollinating insects.
But creating a Wild Space also provides opportunities to keep supporting butterflies and moths right through the flying season and beyond. Letting the vegetation grow throughout the summer can help even further by allowing caterpillars to feed.
So even if you can leave small parts of the lawn untouched until early autumn, you’ll be providing a safe space where butterflies and moths can feed, breed and shelter.
Some of the butterflies and moths that could be found feeding on plants in your living lawn include:
Dandelion: caterpillars of over 40 different moth species can feed on dandelion leaves, roots and flowers! This includes a colourful trio: Yellow Shell; Ruby Tiger and Large Yellow Underwing.
Clovers: generalist moth species like Silvery Y, Garden Dart and Hebrew Character can get a good meal from the leaves of clovers.
Cuckooflower: this wildflower is one of the favoured plants of Orange-tip butterflies. Eggs are laid in May, but caterpillars will keep feeding until July before crawling off to find a hard surface like a tree or fencepost to make their protective chrysalis and won’t be seen again until the
Some wildflowers to add to your longer living lawn include Bird’s-foot Trefoil, Field Scabious, Common Knapweed and Oxlip and Primrose. You can grow these from seeds into small plants for planting out into the grass – just keep the grass around them short while they establish, and after that they’ll look after themselves!
Enjoy the sunshine and happy Wild Spacing!