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How to Set Up a Butterfly Garden

Ever wondered how to create a butterfly garden in your home or school garden?  Well here are some top tips to help you get started!

As butterflies enjoy the sunshine and the warmth that it provides, it is important to locate your butterfly garden in a sunny spot!  Butterflies are highly active in the summer and love to soak up the sun whilst feeding off their favourite nectar or resting on rocks, this enables their body temperature to increase so that they can continue to fly and be active throughout the day.

In order to attract butterflies from the beginning to the end of their season (from early spring through to autumn) it is a good idea to plant a variety of flowers that will provide colour and nectar over this period.  For example you could have a combination of Lavender for spring, Buddleia for the summer and Sedum for the autumn period to ensure that there is always a flower or two for your butterfly to enjoy.

Butterflies are first attracted to the colour of flowers, the most popular being purple, yellow and pink blossoms.  Try to plant clusters of flowers so that the butterflies can locate them easily.   Try and survey your garden for a few days to see which types of butterfly are most common in your area.  Different butterfly species will be attracted to different flowers and nectar, a very common flower for all butterflies is the Marigold.

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It is always a good idea to have plants available for butterflies to lay their eggs on or near to.  Caterpillars are not attracted to the same plants and flowers that butterflies are and female butterflies will often not lay eggs in areas where there are no plants to act as food for their caterpillars.  Holly, ivy and wild strawberry plants are a few examples that you could use to encourage butterflies to lay their eggs in your garden.  It is a good idea to have areas with taller sheltering plants for butterflies and caterpillars to seek protection and flowering areas for nectar and food. 

TOP TIP:  Buddleia is a fantastic nectar plant for around 18 species that can be found in the UK including the Comma, Small White and the Red Admiral!

To attract more butterflies ensurethat you have a wide variety of plants suitable for both butterflies and caterpillars.  Plants that have a large number of flowers or complex flowers will be more attractive to butterflies.

Remember not to use any insecticides on your garden, these will harm any butterflies and caterpillars that choose settle in your garden.

These few tips will help you to get started on creating a beautiful and attractive butterfly garden for a variety of species!

You can even get a grow your own butterfly set, where you can watch your very own hungry caterpillars grow and grow until they eventually emerge from their chrysalides as beautiful butterflies!  

Caroline Blatchford is Managing Director of the online retailer www.SpottyGreenFrog.co.uk.    The website specialises in a range of educational activities for children including children’s gardening, worm composting and children’s cookery.
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Tags: wild strawberry plants, butterfly species, pink blossoms, butterflies and caterpillars, autumn period

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