Thursday, 25 May 2017

Tips for turning your outdoor space into a place that will improve your wellbeing and support wildlife

Butterflies are finding it particularly bad at the moment:
Threat to future butterfly populations after conditions mean insects emerge too early   | Daily Mail Online
Decline in numbers recorded 40 out of 57 butterfly species | Daily Mail Online
Butterfly Conservation - Butterflies crash in fourth worst year on record

So they need all the help they can get:

The sun's rays are getting warmer, the days are getting longer and the natural world is blossoming. Some 27 species of butterfly had been spotted by the end of April and many more moths have emerged. Has the weather tempted you out into your garden yet? This month we bring you some top tips for turning your outdoor space into a place that will improve your wellbeing and support wildlife. The Secret Gardener has a project that could persuade visiting butterflies to take up residence and breed in your back garden. Discover the amazing array of moths in the UK and check out our moth auction to sponsor a species.

Welcome Wildlife Into Your Garden
There are 28.5 million homes in the UK and about 24 million of those have a garden with an average size of 190 square metres, approximately three-quarters the area of a tennis court.

Our gardens can provide a sanctuary, not just for us, but for butterflies, moths, birds, hedgehogs and many other species.

This month our partner B&Q has published the Nature of Gardens Report. The latest evidence on gardening and new consumer research is used to document how wildlife in the UK benefits from our gardens – and how we all benefit from supporting nature close to home.

More than 65% of respondents to a YouGov survey stated that they were concerned about wildlife in Britain. Yet one in five people with small gardens said they do nothing to make their outdoor space wildlife-friendly. Find out how to make small changes in your garden that could make a big difference to struggling species and read the full report.
Dig It: Liberate The Lawn
The inspiration for Vincent Van Gogh's painting Long Grass With Butterflies was the abandoned gardens of the asylum where he was a patient in 1890.

As the artist Van Gogh observed, when grasses are left to grow they will attract butterflies. Long grass can provide butterflies and moths with shelter on a wet day or a safe place to roost overnight. Some grass species will provide a meal for a hungry caterpillar. Grow the grasses that their offspring eat to encourage butterflies and moths to breed in your back garden.

Following B&Q's recommendation to liberate your lawn, the Secret Gardener explains how best to grow your grass for butterflies.
Look Out For: Holly Blue Butterflies
If you see a blue butterfly this month it is most likely to be a Holly Blue. The first brood of the year are on the wing from mid-April until June. This species is widespread in England and Wales and although less common, also found in Scotland and Ireland.

The favourite haunts of this eye-catching little butterfly are gardens, woodlands and churchyards - places where their foodplants, Holly and Ivy, thrive.

Train your gaze along the top of evergreen plants and you may spot the unmistakable flutter of baby blue underwings. Holly Blues spend most of their lives high above the ground but will descend to feed on the salts in mud and occasionally dung!
Sponsor A Moth
Moths really do have the most marvellous names. From rubies and emeralds to chocolate and cabbage, elephants and pugs, emperors to footmen, Rustic or Gothic - there is something for everyone!

Now you can sponsor a moth that is special to you and help fund the production of an Atlas of Britain and Ireland’s Larger Moths, documenting up-to-date distribution maps and accounts for almost 900 species.

Simply visit our moth auction, pick a moth and place a bid. If you win the bidding your name will be printed in the atlas alongside your chosen species. Winning moth bids can be dedicated to anyone you choose, so maybe you could surprise someone?

Butterfly Conservation - Home

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