I planted Red Valerian to attract Hummingbird Hawk Moths to the garden…

And today the Hummingbird Hawk Moths arrived 👍

They’re one of my favourite moths, and if you’ve ever seen one you’ll know exactly why they get their name. In fact, they look and behave so much like their feathered namesake that every year the RSPB get phone calls from worried members of the public reporting that they’ve seen escaped Hummingbirds!

Red Valerian is a pretty, pink-flowering weed that’s as happy growing out of brick walls as it is in the garden border. I quite like Valerian but some folk say the flowers smell like cat wee. I’m not sure I’d go quite that far, but to be fair they don’t smell that great. Unless of course you’re a Hummingbird Hawk Moth. If you’re a Hummingbird Hawk Moth the smell of Red Valerian is like, erm… nectar! They spot the flowers from miles away and once they find a clump, they’ll stay for anything up to a couple of hours, hovering around the flowers sipping nectar with their bizarrely long tongues.

If you want to attract Hummingbird Hawk Moths to your garden don’t hold back on planting Red Valerian!

Here’s a photo of the Red Valerian seedlings that I planted up a couple of years ago…

Red Valerian seedlings

Hummingbird Hawk Moths are not complete strangers to the garden, 2017 was a particularly good year for them in the UK but only saw one in 2018. Fingers crossed 2019 is another good year for these fantastic little creatures!

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