Aidan and Emma, our butterfly experts, joined the volunteer team for the December conservation event.
To improve the reserve for butterflies they put in 5 Garlic mustard plants that we grew in our garden this year. It is a biennial plant so they will flower next Spring. If any Orange tip butterflies find them they will lay eggs in the flowers and the caterpillars will eat the developing seeds.
They also sowed some Garlic mustard seeds that will grow in 2022 to flower in 2023, and planted 2 Buckthorn bushes which are 1 year old so approx. 10 cms high. These will eventually grow into bushes 5 metres high. The Brimstone butterfly lays eggs on the new shoots in the Spring and the caterpillars eat the leaves. It will probably be 4 or 5 years before the bushes are big enough to attract the female Brimstones.
Members of the volunteer team cut back two areas in the tree canopy to introduce shafts of light for the butterflies to use as territory.