The nettle patch at Hinckley Station

The nettle patch

A ladybird on a stinging nettle flower

A ladybird on a nettle

This bit of the Platform One garden is already a good spot for wildlife.

The nettles are a favourite food plant for several butterflies’ caterpillars, including the beautiful red admiral which we saw feeding on the station’s prolific ivy plants last year.

The high wall at the back of the garden faces south and the patch is sheltered at both ends by trees and bushes, so it has a warm microclimate which encourages the lush growth.

What’s already there

As well as the nettles there’s ivy, a few daffodils, brambles, some buddleia and various assorted ‘weeds’.

When we were working there yesterday we saw butterflies of different kinds fluttering by, a ladybird on a nettle flower, moths, bees and birds.

What we’re doing

We want to retain the wildlife-friendly features and add a few more. We’re clearing a strip about 1 metre wide along the front for bedding plants, and to keep little fingers away from the nettles.

Around and among the nettles we’re adding more pollinator-friendly wildflowers, starting with foxgloves and columbines. By next year there will be lavender, poppy and cranesbill.

See this Woodland Trust page for more information about how important nettles are to butterflies:

https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/blog/2016/05/butterflies-need-nettles/