June 28, 2016

a butterfly garden

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For someone who spends such a lot of my time Instagramming flowers, I really ought to be better at growing them! Our back garden is a bit of a jungle, and other than the roses that ramble over the side of the house, there’s little colour, and few plants for pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Thankfully, this summer, things are about to change…

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B&Q got in contact to tell me about their partnership with Wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation, and to ask me if I’d like to have a go at planting my own butterfly garden (and raising some butterflies to release into it.) I was very happy to get involved.

As they explained, ‘Butterflies are important indicators of the health of the environment. By helping them, gardeners can help create a better home for wildlife, especially beneficial insects such as bees that play a vital role in pollinating wildflowers and many crops.The UK’s estimated 22 million gardens represent an area roughly the size of Somerset and, at a time when butterflies face unprecedented threat, offer a potentially huge and vitally important habitat.’

B&Q suggested that we plant butterfly and pollinator-friendly plants in our garden, and then help record the butterflies we see throughout the year as part of the Garden Butterfly Survey.

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We were sent a pot of Painted Lady caterpillars, which are currently at the chrysalis stage, and with the boys eagerly anticipating their emergence as butterflies, they were all too keen to get involved in creating a butterfly garden to release them into when the time comes.

For years, we’ve had an old Belfast Sink (saved from our last house) sitting in a corner of the garden, waiting to be called into use. It was the perfect receptacle to fill with butterfly friendly blooms. From the gardening section of B&Q we choose a big bag of peat-free compost, and the boys helped to pick a selection of pollinator-friendly plants, including dahlias, geum and coreopsis. If you fancy creating your own butterfly garden, you’ll find plenty of inspiration on the plants for pollinatiors pinterest board.

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Needless to say, the part where hands could get mucky proved to be the most popular. With the flowers all planted up and watered, the boys were also keen to have a try at making a butterfly bath like the one in this video.

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Now we can sit back and watch our garden grow, recording any butterflies that we spot as part of the garden butterfly survey. Do join in if you’d like to and help build a picture of the fortunes of these beautiful insects. Records from the survey are stored so that gardeners can keep a tally of all the species seen over the years, which helps to determine if butterfly trends in the countryside are echoed across the UK’s back gardens.

Our garden is much improved by its splash of butterfly-friendly colour. Perhaps my fingers are ever so slightly green after all…

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{This post is sponsored by B&Q but all thoughts and images are my own.}

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