If you’ve been reading the blog lately, you’ll know that we’re teaming up with the RSPB this year to support their ‘Give nature a home in your garden’ campaign.
The campaign aims to address the decline of the UK’s wildlife species by encouraging us all to take small, achievable steps to help nature in our own gardens and green spaces.
This month, we’re all more than a little excited about our latest project to help give nature a home in our garden. We’re going to be growing plants that attract moths to our garden, then taking part in the RSPB’s ‘Big Wild Sleepout’ campaign.
We tend to not really think about moths as much as we do butterflies, because we don’t see them out and about in the daytime. But like butterflies, moths play an important role in the food chain and the pollination of plants. They’re also just as fascinating as butterflies to watch, and many have beautiful markings and bright colours too.
We’ve found a great fact page about butterflies and moths in our RSPB family Nature Discovery Pack.
The RSPB ‘Grow Food for Moths’ guide gives suggestions for what to plant in Summer and Autumn; we’re concentrating on the Summer plants. We had a look at the plant list and realised we already have honeysuckle in the garden – in fact the kids have used it for bug-spotting many times!
Nicotiana is a lovely flowering annual that gives off bags of scent in the evening, making the moths flock to it. We’ve planted some seeds, so hopefully we’ll have some lovely scented blooms before the end of the Summer.
We’ve also grown some sweet rocket from seed, and they’re almost ready to be planted out. They’ll look like this when they bloom:
Other moth-friendly plants include Jasmine and Hemp Agrimony, so if you’ve got those or any of the plants we’ve chosen in your garden, you’re already providing moths with a feast!
Now that we’ve made our garden more attractive to moths, we’re going to go moth spotting. This is as simple as walking around the garden at night with a torch to see if we have any moth visitors on our nectar-rich flowers.
This month also sees the RSPB Big Wild Sleepout event taking place, on 29-31 July. The RSPB is encouraging the nation to sleep under the stars to discover more about wildlife at night. We don’t usually see this side of our gardens, do we? They’re actually a hive of activity at night, as nocturnal wildlife emerges and takes over.
You don’t have to go all-out camping to take part in the Big Wild Sleepout; it can be as simple as putting up the tent in your garden. We’re going to do just that, and combine the Big Wild Sleepout with our moth-spotting – the kids are super-excited and are already assembling a moth-spotting kit.
The Big Wild Sleepout is such a great way to get closer to nature and have some fun into the bargain. If you’d like to get involved the RSPB website has loads of information to help you make it a success, including a guide to what to take on your sleepout, the creatures you might see, and some campfire cooking ideas. You can also register here for a free Big Wild Sleepout pack, which is full of fun ideas and activities.
Will you be taking part in the Big Wild Sleepout? Do share your plans in the comments, I’d love to hear what you’re getting up to!