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I have recently moved and made flower beds, at the back of my house is a field of long grass and weeds, which used to be a meadow with cows. Lots and lots of butterflies have visited my garden, and now I do not have a garden the caterpillars have eaten everything, delphiniums, sunflowers, roses , lobelia, holyhocks, ,tomato leaves the only thing left is my mint and the foxgloves everything else has been eaten I have mainly found green caterpillars but also a few brown ones, I have never know butterflies to lay eggs on so many plants, there a plenty of weeds, nettles etc over the fence, will I have to spray next year??
Did you see the Springwatch programme this evening? Butterflies need 'weeds' and especially nettles.
some people have the National Collection of hostas or snowdrops. You could go for the National Collection of butterflies
I sympathise Susan.....you want a nice garden....and you have a right to that. I don't generally use chemicals because I tend to believe nature will create a balance for me in the long run. However, sometimes we have to control certain pests....ants, woodlice (from entering our home) and caterpillars. We are urged to pick off cabbage white to protect our cabbages, etc., and we keep birds off our emerging fruits. We kill slugs and snails
You can't physically spray everything for caterpillars so maybe you could spray certain plants you really value. Perhaps next year the field will be mown and the situation thus resolved. Maybe you could rethink some of your planting....maybe grow a few ornamental grasses. I think plants like veronicastrum dont get eaten by caterpillars or slugs. Astrantias and astilbes too may be resistant. Could you cut back on fertilisers a little to create less lush growth on your plants? Lush, leafy well fed Plants often attract pests I think
It has been the year of the caterpillar it seems although for me it's been my hardy geraniums that have been attacked and I have never known this before.
you want your garden back and do not want a collection of butterflies. I wish you well susan
I have had a similar experience although not to this level, i am just letting them get on with it and if it helps the wldlife then so be it.
I discovered what i believe to be Leek Moth caterpillars in abundance eating their way through the onions, garlic and some of the lettuce, the lupins and hollyhock have lots of holes but are still ok to look at.
I'm sorry, Verdun, if my remark sounded facetious. It wasn't meant to be. I live in an isolated area and have 2 metre high nettles all along one border of 150 feet and a field on the other full of sheep and weeds. My third boundary fence is shared with my one neighbour who is a salt of the earth type but who is also unable to see anything without thinking it needs a good spray with weedkiller or pesticide. I have no wish to impose my completely diametrically opposed views on him and so I shrug my shoulders, put up screen netting and think of all the nice things he has done for me since I moved in.
If anybody watched the programme on TV last night and seen what a sorry plight our butterflies and moths are in they cannot help but have thought that we should do everything we can to keep them alive. Susan is one of the few people in the country who has the privilege of being able to do something to help them. Yes, she wants to have apretty garden, but so often pretty gardens are deserts for wild life.
Sorry Susan for using you as an example and I wish you well with your efforts to keep them in check.
A contentious topic methinks I don't use pesticide, and I love seeing the insects and butterflies in the garden, it's njust ust my garden, we are custodians of nature as well.
The idea that I'm rather ineptly trying to get across is that sometimes a problem is so insurmountable or beyond our control ( in my case, huge armies of nettles massing on the border, escaping sheep, weeds and a Rambo style neighbour) that you just have to Look On The Bright Side. So I have butterflies living on the nettles and making colour in the garden, free manure and lots of laughs (Herdwick sheep are nature's clowns) and cups of tea and chats with someone who has had an interesting life who I could so easily have had a row with.
waterbutts - if you'd like to send your interesting neighbour over to me he could go nuts with his weedkiller on my japanese knotweed problem!!!!
It's ok Waterbutts. I totally respect your views. We need to hear and listen to everybody's point of view on things and then weigh up what we want to do. I'm aware of looking after the environment but also love my garden plants.....want them to be the very best they can be so sometimes we have to compromise. If we allow wildlife to destroy our precious plants we have nothing left to enjoy in our gardens and we will lthe interest in them.
I never take offence on the forum when posters disagree with me either. I know I'm always right............not!
dolgarrog - my neighbour is even older than I am and has chemicals in old bottles in his garden shed that I am sure were banned under the Geneva convention. The first year I moved in I couldn't understand why all my veg had gone yellow and died within a week - spindrift from his spraying in a stiff northerly breeze. Sorry to hear about the Japanese knotweed. Cut each stem and pour a little Roundup down each one. Yes, I have been known to resort to weedkiller. Got rid of it
Verdun, I find that if I stuff the flower beds full, and I mean full, of things (nowhere to put a foot down without treading on something) the insects and other things like birds have too much choice or find the undergrowth too intimidating to enter. That has been my solution to my particular problem.
thanks waterbutts! We have been doing a systematic spraying/bruising/stem injecting with roundup since we moved in about 18 months ago & it is getting better but scary new clusters of it have been appearing this last few weeks unlike the single stems last summer & earlier this spring. We were not aware there was JK in the garden when we viewed& bought the house as it was winter time & the owners had chopped all the old stems down & hidden them under other old garden waste! Oh joy! never mind - the area of the garden that is affected has been left to nature while we eradicate & we've had the most lovely butterflies & insects as a result - I'm going to sow with wild flower meadow seeds this autumn as well so it will be even more beneficial!!
Wow, a lot more than I had to deal with! I think, though I could be wrong, that JK is a notify-able pest and, even though your surveyor was duped, you may still have a claim against the previous owners ( if you know where they are). So annoying. One house we bought had kitchen sockets without earthing next to a sink ( home job). The couple were going through a divorce when they were selling. We think he was trying to do her in as a second option.
My garden is designed for wild life and i get as much pleasure from learning about insect species and photographing them as i do from beautiful plants.
I have never had a problem with insect damaged plants apart from the inevitable snails/slugs versus hosta problem. I refuse to use slug pellets because the birds that nest in my hedging and ivy take care of a lot of them.
My eryngium had black aphids this year. They were being "cared for" by ants. Along came a couple of ladybirds and proceeded to munch through them, interrupted occasionally by the ants protecting the aphids. The large growth of eryngium doesnt appear to be suffering. That is natural gardening with added pleasure. Mentioning this to my Disney land style gardening neighbour (bedding plants and not an insect in site) I am offered some sprays, slug pellets and the added bonus of rat poison pellets. I have tried explaining but he is an elderly local who cant grasp it. In other ways he is very helpful so i dont push the point.
I believe that sterile wildlife unfriendly garden plants are part of the problem with diminishing wildlife. Note i said "part of". QVC have a lot to answer for.
If i had attracted more butterflies i would be so pleased.
Its a funny old world with funny old people so we have to make the best of it,