A new Butterfly House at the National Botanic Garden of Wales has opened, with honorary president of the garden, Sir Gareth Edwards CBE, cutting the ribbon at the official opening today.
The new Plas Pilipala attraction – which is in the Tropical House, designed by US-based and Wales-born architect John Belle, in the unique and historic Double Walled Garden – features more than 500 tropical butterflies on the wing. But there will also be a strong focus on native species, which can be found in abundance in the walled garden.
It is the first big new attraction at the garden for several years but already this summer, the garden has opened a new £50,000 play park – complete with zipline and trampoline – a straw bale maze and water-zorbing pool, and is promising one hundred days of family activities.
The new Butterfly House underpins the scientific research work the garden is undertaking with bees, pollen, honey, hoverflies, moths and other pollinators.
Head of Marketing David Hardy said: “The world has woken up to the importance of bees but bees are only part of the pollination picture. As well as being a place of awe and wonder, this new attraction will help raise awareness of other pollinators. Without pollinators there is no chocolate, there is no coffee – it is that important!”
Another vital message will be what we can all do in our own backyards to be more ‘pollinator friendly’.
The garden’s Head of Science, Dr Natasha de Vere, said: “We can all help the pollinators in our gardens. We can grow flowers that will attract different pollinating insects, from bees to hoverflies, butterflies to moths. We also have to learn to garden a little less tidily. Long grass, nettles, dandelions and brambles provide important food and habitats for our pollinators, as do hedgerows and native woodland. So, if you are going to mow the lawn, leave some areas long; let some dandelions flower and leave some nettles (in a sunny patch!). Most of all, don’t use insecticides. Instead, encourage native pest control like birds, frogs and toads.”
Combined with the nearby Bee Garden, this area is already being called the “Pollinator Park”.
The garden is open from 10am to 6pm seven days a week, with last entry at 5pm. Admission is £9.75 for adults with a family ticket (for 2 adults and up to 4 children) priced at £24. Parking is free for all.
Photo credits: Tim Jones