This was brought to my attention by Wendy and I have copied the following from her very interesting Shanklin Page in case you have not seen it. The links on the names of the different butterflies take you to more information about it on the Butterfly Conservation website.
Eight butterflies were at an all-time low – the Common Blue, the Grayling, the Lulworth Skipper, the Small Skipper, the Small Tortoiseshell, the Speckled Wood, the Chalkhill Blue and the Wall Brown. The picture above is of Common Blue males taken near King’s Clipstone, Notts by Lynne Kirton
Butterflies don’t fly in the rain, so they can’t get to the nectar plants . Heavy rain also means they are unable to breed. Last year several species had their lowest ever recorded numbers.
Butterflies and moths suffered from the wet summer last year so we need to make sure they are well provided for in the garden. You can encourage them to visit your gardens to drink nectar from the flowers. They need a lot of energy to keep flying.
Many good nectar plants are easy to grow, and you can make your garden attractive to passing butterflies and moths. Try to have a variety of flowers available right through the season, but particularly in spring and autumn. Early flowers for butterflies that are just emerging from hibernation, and late summer and autumn flowers for the species that need to build up their reserves for winter. Grow flowers in sunny, sheltered areas, as butterflies will seek out the warmest parts of your garden.
Good flowers for spring are aubretia (first photo), bluebells, clover, daisies, dandelions, forget-me-not, honesty and pansies, primroses, and wallflower (2nd photo by David Monniaux ).
Good flowers for late summer and autumn nectar are buddleia (1st photo by Jean-noël Lafargue), french marigold, ice plants (Sedum spectabile) (2nd photo by Jerzy Opioła), Ivy, knapweed, lavender, marjoram and oregano, michaelmas daisies,mint, red valerian, scabious and thyme.
The greater variety of plants that you grow, the more butterflies will visit. ‘Old fashioned’ varieties often have more nectar than modern types.
See Wendy’s Shanklin page to find out about creating your own nettle patch for caterpillars to encourage more butterflies to visit your garden, it is after the bit about making elderflower champagne.