The Plight of the Butterflies
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In this post I would like to highlight an environmental story that is taking place across the UK as a whole and not confined to the Green Barn.

Despite my previous posting that I was greatly encouraged this year with the increase in the amount of species and the overall numbers of butterflies we had observed here in the Green Barn meadow, this is sadly not being reflected across the UK as a whole.

Newly released figures by Butterfly Conservation show that in the last ten years almost three quarters of UK butterfly species have suffered a decline in population. An article outlining the findings of the report, and a link to the full report can be found on the Butterfly Conservation website.

This decline is worrying news as butterflies are viewed as an indicator species, meaning that problems in the butterfly population may mean that there is a bigger crisis at large amongst insects and the environment as a whole.

One encouraging piece of news is that numbers of the Small Blue, which had been in decline have now increased. We discovered a colony of these on our land at the Green Barn about two years ago and the nurturing of this was made a priority. We planted Kidney Vetch which is the only plant they lay eggs in to encourage them and we have seen increasing numbers here over the subsequent years. So there is evidence that declining numbers can be reversed.


Some of the butterflies in the Green Barn Meadow this year.

So what can we do to play our part in reversing this decline? Not many of us will have gardens the size of the grounds here at the Green Barn to grow a wildflower meadow. However there are plants we can use to encourage butterflies in all sizes of gardens from wildflower meadows such as we have here all the way to window boxes. Butterfly Conservation have an excellent section on their website which gives a wealth of information on what plants are best for butterflies and ideas depending on how much size you have to play with. There are also links to many resources and other websites for gardening to encourage butterflies. This information can all be found here.

One of the things I find most enjoyable on a nice summers day is relaxing while watching butterflies flit around amongst the flowers. It is even more satisfying to know the flowers you have planted and helped grow have played a part in it.

My thanks to Butterfly Conservation for kindly allowing us to use the links to their site.

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