Saturday, 10 September 2016

Free butterfly-friendly flower seeds

Butterfly Conservation is pointing to where we can get some free wild-flower seeds:
Claim your FREE packet of wild flower seeds | Grow Wild

Here's their regular newsletter:

It's not the end of the butterfly season just yet. With forecasters suggesting September could see record-breaking temperatures it's likely that our common species will be hanging around gardens and hedgerows for a few weeks yet. Migrant butterflies and moths are particularly prevalent at this time of year. Discover what to look out for when you are out-and-about this month. We've also got some great offers for you - why not take a few minutes to apply for some free wildflower seeds and enter our fantastic glamping competition?

Painted Ladies Put In An Appearance
Warm air fronts pushing north have coincided with an upsurge in Painted Lady sightings after a very quiet year so far for this butterfly.

The number of Painted Ladies that make it to the UK from Europe varies greatly from year to year. A mass migration occurred in 2009 with more than 10 million butterflies arriving on our shores in late spring, but numbers have been far lower in subsequent years.

If the current spell of mild weather continues, this month could be your best chance to see a Painted Lady in 2016. 

Keep an eye out in your garden as they will visit to feed on nectar but their most common habitat is Thistle-covered heaths, dunes and downland.

Don't stop butterfly spotting this September as many species will still be on the wing well into autumn. Find out which butterflies to look for and where to find them...
Dig It: Autumn Harvest
Grow Wild, the national outreach initiative of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, is giving away thousands of free packets of pollinator-friendly wild flower seeds.

Each seed packet contains country specific native wild flower seeds - and autumn is a great time to get sowing. To get your free seed packet visit the Grow Wild website.

You can get free seeds without going online by harvesting them from your garden. Extend the life of plants you already have or share your seeds with friends and introduce them to butterfly-friendly flowers.

The Secret Gardener reveals which plants provide seeds in September.
Look Out For: Migrant Moths
The wingspan of the Convolvulus Hawk-moth can reach 12cm, making it one of the largest moths found in Europe. This distinctive moth isn't a UK resident but is a regular visitor and September is a great time to try and spot one.

The Convolvulus will fly towards light at night but because of its size it is pretty conspicuous in daylight hours too. In recent days this moth has been found on washing lines, bicycles and fence posts!

Many moths travel long distances before arriving in the UK. Other immigrant species to look out for this month include the Crimson Speckled, Vestal and Death's-head Hawk-moth.

Butterfly Conservation - Home

A poineer in butterfly gardening was the late Miriam Rothschild:

Excerpt from `Meadow Miracle’ by Mark Griffiths, who traces the remarkable story of `Miriam’s Meadows’. The full article is below.

“Dame Miriam was the great pioneer of wildflower gardening… She dared to entertain the idea (heresy in the 1970s) that is was not only beautiful but beneficial to find a corn poppy or a corn cockle lurking – like some hidden jewel – in a field of wheat. She described her conversion to `wildflower and grass gardening’, as she called it, as a `complete and drastic metamorphosis’. `One day the penny dropped and I realised with dismay that wild flowers had been drained, bulldozed, weed-killered and fertilised out of the fields and that we were now in a countryside reminiscent of a snooker table, and must do something about it.’”
Reproduced courtesy of Country Life – issue January 17th 2008. 
Link: www.countrylife.co.uk for subscriptions

Excerpt from Dame Miram’s obituary:

“She campaigned to introduce wild flowers to gardens, parks and motorways, producing her own seed-mix - "Farmer's Nightmare" - for the purpose. The Prince of Wales sought her advice, and she helped to sow an extensive wild-flower meadow at Highgrove. With Clive Farrell, she wrote The Butterfly Gardener (1983), which further promoted interest in wild-flower planting. In her own garden, at Ashton Wold, near Oundle, she mingled the wild with the cultivated - speedwell with cherry blossom, tulips with ragwort - sowing wild-flower meadows in place of lawns. "I do not much care," she would say, "for living on a snooker table." Her kitchen garden was carpeted with pyramids of harebells, with banks of daisies and poppies, lupins and silverweed.”

Miriam Rothschild’s Wildflower seed project | Survive Cancer
The Butterfly Gardener - a book by Miriam Rothschild and Clive Farrell of Butterfly World

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