Butterfly garden spreads its wings at Zoo
Wednesday 13 May 2009
Small, colourful and beautifully-formed – these are the new native species ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is hoping to attract in its fantastic butterfly garden, open this week.
Built to replicate a typical country cottage garden, the new area is also designed to inspire others to recreate a similar butterfly “honey trap” in their own back garden.
The new site replaces the former butterfly garden at the bird garden, which is closed for future redevelopment. The butterfly border had been created back in the 1980s with the assistance of the local branch of the Butterfly Conservation Board.
The idea for a new location surfaced at the Zoo’s Green Fair last year and, like a very hungry caterpillar, the idea soon grew into a much bigger project.
The new garden features all sorts of attractions for butterflies and caterpillars alike. Plants such as 15 different varieties of buddleia, mint, herbs and cabbages are dotted along the winding pathways and there’s even a compost bin masquerading as an old fashioned beehive as a centrepiece.
Visitors can meander around at their leisure while they keep an eye out for butterflies and learn, from the informed interpretation posters, how they can create their own wildlife garden at home.
Horticulture team leader David Hicks said: “We are hoping to see some varied and exciting species of butterflies in the garden by the height of the season. The new site is right opposite the main entrance so will hope attract many visitors too.”
Stuart Pittman, from the Beds and Herts branch of the Butterfly Conservation Board and said: “This should be the showcase we all desire; with good quality information boards/leaflets on butterflies and moths that can only enhance and promote butterfly conservation both nationally and at local level.”
The new location, to the left of Lemur Island is now open to the public but off-limits to the zoo’s free roaming mara, wallabies and muntjac deer!