With awareness of our declining Fauna and Flora ever increasing, interest in conservation and attracting as much wildlife into our gardens is also on the rise. Many of our native species of butterfly are on the decline due to loss of their natural habitats in the wild, and by providing an environment that is predator free for these fluttery friends will help to boost their population in the UK, and even save some species from extinction.
It may seem a tricky prospect to get butterflies to breed in your garden, especially with female butterflies known to be picky. A netted, outdoor structure that is planted up with plants that are a source of nectar and caterpillar food will enable our native species to breed in a natural habitat without the threat of predators to eat their pupae.
If you do not have room for an outdoor structure, getting butterflies into your garden is the first step, getting them to stay and breed and therefore build up the declining numbers is the second and important one. Butterfly gardens do not have to look messy or unstructured; many butterfly friendly plants can be grown beautifully within a current garden set up.
A garden planted with a variety of nectar rich flowers that provide food at different times of year is a perfect habitat for a butterfly. Plants such as Lavender, Aubrietia, knapweed, primrose, cowslip and scabious work wonderfully in a border backed by larger shrubs such as buddleja.
It is not just our native species that are in danger. With the destruction of the rainforest, many exotic species are also on the verge of dying out. By having a tropical environment for these species to thrive in, we can provide a sustainable living for the butterfly farmers and help to develop and protect the rainforests in which they live and work.
Most Conservatories and Greenhouses make excellent Indoor Butterfly Gardens for the Tropical Species. These are a great education tool as Children can observe the life cycle first hand and learn about the Environment and Ecology of the Rainforest habitats. After all, could you imagine a future without butterflies?
Written by Paul Allen & Lydia Harvey