Hampton Court highlights butterfly plight

The desperate fight for survival of UK butterflies is being highlighted at this year's RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show, which previewed today.

The Butterfly Jungles - Transition garden is at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show from 3 to 8 July - image: RHS
The Butterfly Jungles - Transition garden is at the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show from 3 to 8 July - image: RHS

Threats from declining habitats and changing weather patterns have left some butterflies on the brink of extinction and there are now fewer than 60 species in the UK. Butterfly numbers in the countryside fell almost a quarter last summer.

The Butterfly Jungles - Transition garden at the show from 3 to 8 July was inspired by the threats to butterflies worldwide and aims to educate people about steps that can be taken to help protect the insects.

The garden represents a journey though butterfly-friendly planting styles, with a gradual transition from wildflowers to prairie-style and exotic planting, concluding with a tropical butterfly glasshouse filed with live butterflies.

The garden blends wildflowers including caterpillar food plants with cultivated nectar plants to create a sustainable butterfly habitat, where butterflies will visit for nectar and use for breeding.

RHS principal scientist Andrew Halstead said: "Butterflies play a crucial role in indicating Britain’s insect biodiversity both in the countryside and in urban green spaces."

The following plants were host plants of butterflies, he said: Alder buckthorn and purging buckthorn, Birdsfoot trefoil, nasturtium, docks and sorrels, garlic, hedge mustard and lady's smock and holly, ivy and mixed grasses grown as a meadow.


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