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Butterfly conservation.

Some of the early butterflies are now on the wing. Yellow flutterings of brimstones and the 'reds' are up and away! Commas, red admirals, peacocks and small tortoiseshell.

These are early emergers because they are butterflies that hibernate here as adults. Other native butterflies overwinter as either eggs, caterpillars or chrysalis Some love dark sheds and cool places, some prefer to hibernate in foliage and others in your home. I have a very fond memory of walking out with NPA ecologist many years ago to look at an old air raid shelter on a heathland as a potential bat roost. We didn't find bats, but we found hundreds of hibernating peacock butterflies. Depending on what sort of soil you have depends on the type of butterflies you will see. If you live on chalk lands you may see different types to here in the new forest this is due to a preference of plants that grow in these soil's. The way we can help in our gardens is to plant plenty of pollen rich flowers. Maybe have a small wildflower patch as some favourites are red campion, cornflower, birds foot tre-foil and bluebells. They also love lavender and budliea. Leave a little wild patch with maybe some nettles. Which are a great source of food for the caterpillars of a lot of the common garden butterflies, and what rewards you will reap of these beautiful, delicate creatures regularly visiting your garden. While you are sitting and admiring you could add your garden sightings to the butterfly conservation database which is a great help in these times when the transects cannot be carried out but if you are handy with some wood and saw how about making a butterfly hibernation box? Place it in a sheltered spot ready for autumn Hope you are all staying safe and enjoying your gardens in these difficult times my friends 💜🦋

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