Make your garden a butterfly haven

With brilliant sunshine one moment and threats of snow the next, it is hard for humans to predict what is going to happen with the weather - let alone wildlife.

With brilliant sunshine one moment and threats of snow the next, it is hard for humans to predict what is going to happen with the weather - let alone wildlife.

But as we welcome British Summer Time tomorrow by putting our clocks forward an hour, signs of the new season are slowly emerging around us.

Now Norfolk Wildlife Trust has some ideas on how to encourage early arrivals on your own turf.

By making a few adjustments to your garden, it can become a haven for butterflies.

The dawn chorus can now be heard, building throughout the next month as birds begin to nest and many of our other furry and winged friends come out of hibernation.

Bees and butterflies usually start to appear in April and May but as the seasons have been shifting they have been waking up earlier and earlier.

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The recent warm weather has been a mixed blessing for some of these early visitors as any cold snaps could be at risk of starvation if there is snow or frost.

How to attract butterflies to your garden:

Sunshine.

The first essential is sunshine. Place your butterfly plants in the warmest, sunniest spot. See which parts of your garden get sunshine for most of the day and then plant there. Partially-shaded spots can be used too but most butterflies prefer sunnier areas.

Food.

By growing flowers that have a lot of nectar you will attract more butterflies. One of the best flowers to grow is a special butterfly bush with long, purple flowers.

Butterflies also like many wild flowers and types of daisies and blue lavender.

Shelter.

Butterflies prefer to feed on a plant that is in a sheltered location as they do not like being buffeted by the wind, so plant shrubs to lessen the effects.

Another way to help is to give butterflies somewhere to lay their eggs. Perhaps the best plant for them is the stinging nettle.

Leave a wild patch in your garden with nettles and long grasses. This will help the butterflies find a home for their eggs and caterpillars.

Overnight Accommodation.

Grow shrubs and climbers to add height to the garden. Some butterflies will roost overnight in a good spot and they generally like to be well off the ground, like a honeysuckle growing over a trellis.

Provide butterflies with warmth, shelter and nectar and they will start to use your garden to feed and maybe even breed.