Messages From The Wild



The Red Admiral Butterfly

Part of the Voices of the Lost Gardens series commissioned by The Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall. And with many thanks to Jeremy Roberts of Three Bays Wildlife, Cornwall.


Grow lots of nectar-rich flowers.  Prolong flowering by deadheading flowers and watering well. Well-watered plants produce more nectar. 

Allow a patch of ‘weeds’, such as Dandelion and Bird’s-foot-trefoil to flourish.

Leave bare patches of wall, fence or earth, or place large stones in sunny borders, so butterflies can bask.

Make a log pile, where butterflies and moths can hibernate. Some moths breed in dead wood too.

Don’t use pesticides, especially those containing neonicotinoids, as these can remain in the plant for several months and potentially harm butterflies and moths which drink nectar from the flowers.

Don’t buy peat-based compost. Peat bogs are home to many butterfly species.

Don’t be too tidy – leave borders intact over winter, allow leaves to accumulate under hedges and create a ‘wild’ area that you don’t touch very often. These areas will provide shelter for insects to hibernate and rest.