Flutter by to free festival

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GARDENERS interested in attracting bees and butterflies to their gardens are invited to a free event designed to raise awareness of pollinating insects.

Blooms Rugby Garden Centre is hosting a Bee and Butterfly Festival from Saturday, July 16 - July 31 to promote how important these insects are to the well-being of the environment.

Carole Berry, Manager of Blooms Rugby Garden Centre on Straight Mile in Bourton-on-Dunsmore, said: “Bees and butterflies are gardeners’ friends so we will be helping our visitors learn how to encourage these friendly insects into their gardens.

“Bees and butterflies are very important to gardeners because they feed on flower nectar and, as they feed, they transfer pollen on their bodies and legs from one plant to another.

“Without bees many arable and horticultural crops couldn’t produce a harvest, which would seriously affect our food supply.

“We will be highlighting bee and butterfly-friendly plants that help encourage pollinating insects into gardens.”

Butterflies are in serious decline as countryside habitat is lost to industrial and housing developments, intensive farming and roads.

Carole added: “We’re supporting the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and the British Beekeepers’ Association (BBKA) during the event and are helping raise awareness of their work.

“Some species of bee are seriously endangered, so we are keen to raise awareness of their plight.”

Blooms Rugby Garden Centre is also backing the Butterfly Conservation’s Butterfly Count, which is being hosted in association with Marks & Spencer.

Carole continued: “The Butterfly Count is a nationwide survey aimed at helping assess the health of the environment. Butterflies react very quickly to change in their environment, which makes them excellent biodiversity indicators. Declines in butterfly numbers are an early warning for other wildlife.

“The count will also identify trends in species and this will help the Butterfly Conservation plan how to protect butterflies from extinction as well as understand the effect of climate change on wildlife.”

To take part, count butterflies for 15 minutes during a bright, preferably sunny day from July 24 until August 1. Records are welcome from anywhere such as parks, gardens, fields and forests. Your count is useful even if you do not see any butterflies.

Anyone can take part, but children aged 16 and under will need a parent or guardian to submit their record. People can visit www.bigbutterflycount.org during July and August to submit their results.

During the Bee and Butterfly Festival, the garden centre will be handing out complimentary children’s activity sheets and offering free advice.

To find out more, please call Blooms Rugby Garden Centre, which is located on Straight Mile in Bourton-on-Dunsmore, on 01788 812 830 or visit www.rugbygardencentre.co.uk