Look on a lime tree in May and June and you might see a blue horned green caterpillar feeding. But as the adult Lime Hawk-moth this creature has no mouth and doesn’t feed. Despite this, it can live up to 5 weeks.
These were some of the fascinating facts provided by the local moth and butterfly speakers, Sue Smith and Sue Dodd at the June meeting of Stonehouse Gardening Clublast year. Focusing on encouraging these magical creatures to your garden, they spoke of the attractions of valerian, herbs, viburnum bonariensis, lavender, Michaelmas daisies, scabious, French marigolds and single rather than double flowered plants.
Gloucestershire has 43 out of the UK’s 58 species, but they always need more sheltered sunny spots and flowers throughout the season. Preferring a wild flower area plus the all-important pond, the Sues explained some of the plant associations we can encourage; obviously, the holly blues like holly but also ivy; the orange tip likes honesty; the small tortoiseshell and red admiral love rudbekia and rotting fruit; assorted brown butterflies love grasses; commas prefer sedums; the gatekeeper loves marjoram and the marbled white likes scabious.
Originally published in the Stroud News and Journal.