The Big Butterfly Count
B&Q is proud to have partnered with the wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation from 2016 to 2020, and to have sponsored the Big Butterfly Count.
Is there anything more relaxing than taking a quiet few minutes to sit in your favourite spot outside and just be? Where the sun shines brighter than any phone screen, you can take in the world around you — the breeze, the colours, the wildlife.
Why count Butterflies?
Great question, we spoke to our friends at Butterfly Conservation and they told us that Butterflies react very quickly to change in their environment which makes them excellent biodiversity indicators. Butterfly declines are an early warning for other wildlife losses.
That’s why counting butterflies can be described as ‘taking the pulse of nature’. The count helped the Butterfly Conservation team to find trends in species and in turn helped them plan how to protect butterflies from extinction, as well as understand the effect of climate change on wildlife.
Getting to know your Grizzled Skipper from your Ringlet and your Painted Lady from your Peacock.
There are 59 species of butterfly to be found in the UK. Fluttering around in all their beauty with a multitude of colours and shades on display.
The Great Butterfly Count was a great opportunity to gen-up on what customers could see and make it even easier to spot these beauties in their gardens.
Getting your Garden Butterfly Ready
Just like you’d give the spare room a lick of paint before Aunt Rosie comes to stay, you need to get your garden ready for the butterflies. Here are some top tips to get butterfly ready:
- Butterflies like warmth so choose sunny, sheltered spots when planting.
- Plant flowers that butterflies love; Buddleia supports many species of butterfly – but do prune well every spring. Other great plants include Verbena Rigida, Lavender, Dianthus, French Marigold, Perennial Wallflower and Salvia ‘ Love and Wishes’.
- Include plants that flower early in the year (rosemary for example) or late (Michaelmas daisies and ice plants). This will help butterflies to find food over a longer period. See a full list of plants and tools.
- Don’t assume you need a big garden to be able to help butterflies. Simply planting a pot on a balcony in a sunny position or filling a hanging basket with the right plants can help.
- Grow some fresh herbs. As well as being on a butterfly’s menu, rosemary, mint, thyme and marjoram will boost your meals too.
- Switch to pesticide free products to help butterflies in your outdoor spaces.
- Switch to peat free compost. This helps butterflies further afield as peat bogs are a valuable and fragile habitat for many species.
A few words from the experts on how to attract butterflies
Some of our customers recently sent in their butterfly garden questions for Chris Packham
Sir David Attenborough, Butterfly Conservation President, recommends some essential plants and flowers to attract butterflies to our gardens
Chris Packham, Butterfly Conservation Vice President, shares his top tips on creating spaces to attract butterflies