At Mary Arden’s Farm we try to encourage wildlife that would have been present in Mary Arden’s day and that Shakespeare would have been familiar with. As part of this effort we recently established a series of butterfly banks in our organic wildflower meadow, with funding from the Higher Level Stewardship Scheme.
About the Butterfly Banks
The banks have been made from waste soil and rubble which is a great way of recycling these materials. They face South to catch lots of sun and get nice and warm. The rocky, bare patches created by using stone and rubble provide microclimates up to 20°C higher than the surrounding areas. This is good for butterflies as it encourages their eggs to hatch and caterpillars to grow.
The flowers in the meadow attract a wide variety of butterflies, bees and insects, while the banks create a green corridor, helping them move freely from one area to another. We are particularly trying to attract the Grizzled Skipper and the Dingy Skipper, two species would have been common in Shakespeare’s time and which apparently look like they sound!
Our staff and volunteers have been busy planting the banks with wild organic strawberries, which butterflies love, and adding more stones to create additional hot spots. Once the weather has warmed up and the strawberry plants have become established we will also be sowing the banks with two more plant favourites of butterflies, knapweed and bird’s foot trefoil.
Come and see the banks for yourself and see if you spot any butterflies!