Butterflies will take centre stage in our Open Skies Glass House this summer as we launch our very own Butterfly House. Our new attraction will be home to a variety of British butterflies and has been launched in time to tie in with the nation’s Big Butterfly Count, which encourages spotters throughout the country to take part between 19th July and 11th august.
Big Butterfly Count
Launched in 2010, the Big Butterfly Count is the world’s biggest survey of butterflies and day flying moths. The UK has 59 species of butterflies, 57 residents and 2 migrants; a fantastic number but one which is quite surprising when we consider how few varieties are actually recognised and spotted.
2018 was a strong year for the survey with 100,000 participants and 97,133 butterflies and day flying moths counted, very impressive numbers but not as high as expected. It is thought the early start to last year’s heatwave led to many species starting their flight before the count began.
Butterflies react quickly to changes in the environment, making monitoring an excellent ‘biodiversity’ indicator to help assess the health of our wider natural surroundings. So why not get involved and get counting. Simply register with the Big Butterfly Count where you will find an ID chart to help with your spotting. All sightings can be submitted online or via apps which can be downloaded from the site.
Consider butterfly friendly plants
Experts believe that we have already lost 5 species of butterfly and almost half of the remaining numbers under theat. We can all help to protect their numbers by planting butterfly friendly plants in our gardens. Buddleia, verbena and lavender are amongst the most popular but there are many others, all of which are not only attractive to butterflies, but are a beautiful addition in any garden. Just ask any of our plant area experts and they will be able to offer advice on a whole host of other plants.
And our new carefully monitored Butterfly House is another way you can experience these beautiful creatures. The Butterfly House will be open throughout the summer with added activities including a butterfly themed treasure hunt, a handy spotters guide and advice on the best plants and products available to attract these colourful winged wonders into the garden.