Join the Big Butterfly Count 2020

The Big Butterfly Count

Peacock Butterflies
©Van Meuwen – Peacock Butterflies are a common sight in UK gardens.

Have you spotted any butterflies lately? If your garden is a haven for them then why not take part in the Big Butterfly Count? This annual event runs from Friday 17 July and Sunday 9 August this year, so you still have plenty of time to get involved.

It’s a simple but effective way of testing the state of the UK’s butterfly populations. People up and down the UK will be stepping outside for 15 minutes with a cuppa and an identification sheet, downloaded from Butterfly Conservation’s website .  Choose a sunny spot to sit and record how many of each different species you can spot in your garden.
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Gardening for butterflies

red admiral on echinacea
Red admiral butterfly feeding from a coneflower (Echinacea purpurea).
Image source: Gary L. Brewer

There’s a sunny corner of my garden where creeping thyme grows in a gravel path. It may be barely 8cm tall, but still provides a valuable oasis of nectar amongst acres of fields where few flowers grow. This tiny butterfly magnet demonstrates that even paths, containers, and window boxes planted with nectar-rich flowers can play a vital role in supporting butterflies, by providing an essential pit stop for them to refuel as they travel across fields, towns or cities.

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Wildlife gardening

Bees - wildlife gardening
Bees are good!
Image source: Onelia Pena

Wildlife plays such an important role in our gardens, whether it’s bees pollinating our flowers or birds eating insect pests. Wildlife gardens are normally associated with leaving areas of the garden to neglect or growing wild flowers but this needn’t be the case! Many cultivated garden plants are just as valuable to wildlife for food and shelter. Read on for ideas on how to attract wildlife into your garden.

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