As we edge closer to springtime, you might be wondering how you can help wildlife in your garden make the transition out of the cold weather. But the answer might be to not do anything at all!
Butterfly Conservation is encouraging all gardeners to take a step back from tidying and prepping their gardens for the warmer weather, as a messy garden can be exactly what lots of insects need.
Long grass, untrimmed plant stems, branches and dead wood, and piles of leaves all provide vital winter homes for insects. By clearing away these habitats, many sheltering insects and pollinators, including butterflies and moths, can find the transition back into spring extremely hard. The best way to make sure you’ll see butterflies and moths in the summertime is by keeping them safe for as long as possible in their winter habitats. What is a pile of dead leaves to you, is likely ‘home’ to species like the Elephant Hawk-moth, the Brown-tail moth, the Adonis Blue butterfly, and the endangered Wood White butterfly.
Butterfly Conservation’s The State of the UK’s Butterflies 2022 report has revealed that 80% of butterflies have declined in the UK since the 1970s. Butterflies are just one of the many vital pollinators that help keep the UK ecosystem running and their decline is a clear indicator of the wider biodiversity crisis we face. Many of these pollinators rely on our gardens for cover and safety during the harsher months of the year, so the longer you can leave the ‘wild’ parts of your garden alone, the more they will benefit.
If you’ve found yourself at a loose end now without any primping and preening to do, check out this list of alternative gardening hobbies to keep you going until it’s time to get back out there. But if you can bear it, take up the challenge to #DoNothingForNature!