If I had to give a name to this week I think it would be Semana de las Mariposas – Butterfly Week. They have been everywhere, in carpets and in clouds, every shape, size, colour and pattern imaginable, from velvety regal peacocks to tiny dusty blues the shade of speedwell. None of them are easy to photograph, though, as they just don’t stop flitting around (and I’m still trying to get the hang of our new camera, which doesn’t help). I love the spotty black and white ones that flutter slowly like flying hankies – if I can just persuade one to land and spread its wings, maybe I stand a better chance of identifying it.
Insects are such an important part of the ecosystem, we do as much as we can to attract them to the garden by providing food, shelter and places to breed.
I’ve had mixed success with those ‘bee and butterfly’ seed mixes over the years, often preferring to buy or collect single types and mix my own; borage, phacelia, calendula, Californian poppies, poached egg plant, field poppies, cornflowers and mustard make a great basic mix for starters and can be relied upon to self-set for many years. Economical and efficient as well as beautiful!
Of course, some of the visitors arrive hell-bent on destruction but that’s gardening for you – we expect to lose some of our crops to our co-inhabitants, that’s just how it goes. The benefits far outweigh the drawbacks, though, and on a purely selfish note pollination is what we’re after. I love flowers in the vegetable garden and have never understood separating the two; after all, if an insect comes in to visit sweet peas then the chances are it will visit the green peas, too.
Where pollinators feed, crops will follow.
Nature at its most remarkable in tiny six-legged forms. How simple but how truly wonderful. 🙂