Harvest for Butterflies

Wild, native flowers and shrubs are in seed/fruit now. Here we describe how to harvest and sow five of the best!

Common Marjoram, a great draw for bees and butterflies in July and August. Pull off the dead flower, rub them vigorously between your thumb and forefinger and scatter over gravel or over a compost that consists of calcareous compost. Do not bury the seed. It should germinate in spring.  Photo J.Harding.
The seed head of Common Fleabane-a member of the daisy family-is much-loved by a large range of butterflies during August. Pull the dead flowers away from the peduncle to release the seed. Scatter over bare, damp, rich soil. Photo J.Harding.
Field Scabious is a lovely wayside flower and a favourite with bees in mid-summer.  In this photo, the seed is ready for collection. Simply remove the seed and scatter over gravel or dry, well-drained bare soil or over a compost that consists of calcareous compost.  Photo J. Harding.
Common Holly berries are ready for harvesting now. Pick the berries before they are deep red in colour. Crush the berries under water and remove the seed. Sow in a seed tray consisting of sharp grit and soil.  Make sure the seed is buried but not any deeper than 2-3 cm. Leave outdoors, fully exposed to the weather. The seed will germinate in spring or the following spring. Photo J.Harding.
This seed tray was sown with Devil’s-bit Scabious seed. This multi-flowering plant is the best native source of nectar in August and September, greatly favoured by all butterflies flying during these months. Simply remove the seed and place on the surface of damp compost-do not bury the seed. The seed should be exposed to the weather but placed above ground to protect it from mice. The seed will germinate in spring. Photo J.Harding.

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