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Make next year a ‘butterfly summer’

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Butterflies: Numbers are dramatically falling

Butterflies: Numbers are dramatically falling

WE NEED to make next summer a ‘butterfly summer’ – and we need to start work right now.

As a reaction to the grim picture painted by this year’s Big Butterfly Count of dramatically falling numbers, experts at the National Botanic Garden of Wales are urging everyone to play their part to protect these important pollinators.

Dr Natasha de Vere, Head of Science and Education, said: “We must act now to make next summer a ‘butterfly summer’ and the good news is that there is lots we can all do in our own back yards to help.

“Buy the right shrubs and, if you are getting your seeds and bulbs now, make sure you focus on buying butterfly-friendly annuals and perennials.”

Natasha added: “It is, though, really all about the caterpillars.

“The adult butterfly stage of the lifecycle can often be short-lived – colourful, crucial, but very short. They spend the majority of their lives as caterpillars so providing them with plenty of ‘food plants’ is going to be crucial.”

She explained that the different species of butterfly require different ‘food plants’ for their larvae (caterpillars). It is important to recognise the beautiful butterflies that we all love to see in our gardens in summer are just one part of a very important cycle.

“One vital lesson we have learned working in our brand new tropical Butterfly House,” said Natasha, “is that we have to pay very close attention to all the stages if we are going to make it a success. It’s going really well with the exotic species with hundreds of butterflies on the wing at the same time.

“For our native species, we are continuing to plant butterfly-friendly plants in key areas of the Garden and trying to get used to gardening a little less tidily to encourage the different species, some which like long grass to lay their eggs and some like nettles, for instance.”

Another very important message is that we need to avoid using insecticides in our gardens, she added.

Top ten plants to ensure a butterfly summer:

  • Buddleia (the butterfly bush)
  • Verbena bonariensis
  • Lavender
  • Perennial Wallflower (Bowles Mauve)
  • Marjoram (Oregano)
  • Thistle, sorrel, dock and nettle
  • Lady’s Smock
  • Nasturtium
  • Honesty
  • Ivy

Top ten tips to make a butterfly-friendly garden:

  • Grow lots of nectar-rich flowers between March and November.
  • Choose different plants to attract a wider variety of species. Place the same types of plant together in blocks.
  • Prolong flowering by deadheading flowers and watering well. Well-watered plants produce more nectar.
  • Grow caterpillar food plants for butterflies and moths.
  • Let an area of grass grow long.
  • Allow a patch of ‘weeds’, such as dandelion and bird’s-foot-trefoil, to flourish.
  • Leave bare patches of wall, fence or earth, or place large stones in sunny borders, so butterflies can bask.
  • Create a shelter-belt of trees, plant a mixed, native hedge, which will protect butterflies and moths from the wind.
  • Grow climbing plants up walls and fences, where butterflies and moths can shelter from the rain and frost.
  • Make a log pile, where butterflies and moths can hibernate. Some moths breed in dead wood, too.
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Community

New Children’s Book based on local fisherman

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CHILDREN’S AUTHOR Natalie L Davies has written a story based on local man, Mickey Beechey, of Llangrannog.

The book is available on Amazon.

Natalie said: “I’ve written a series of children’s books with the central character, the lovely ‘Mickey the Fisherman’. The first book is called ‘Pollution’, and is a bright colourful and fun book with a valuable message.”

The book is available to buy on Amazon in both paperback and kindle, and can be found at: mybook.to/mickeythefisherman.

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Council supports the Learning Disabilities ‘My Charter’

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CABINET members and senior officers in Ceredigion have signed ‘My Charter’. In doing so, Ceredigion County Council have become the first council to sign up to the charter. My Charter was written by people who have learning disabilities in West Wales.

The charter says that people who have learning disabilities want to have more chances in life, more choice and to be listened to. It also says that people who have learning disabilities want to be treated as adults, to be given dignity and respect and that their information is kept private.

Councillor Alun Williams is the Cabinet member responsible for Adult Services. He said: “People with learning disabilities have the same aspirations, hopes and feelings as everyone else. They deserve the same services and to be treated equally in a way that’s appropriate to their needs. I’m delighted that Ceredigion has become the first council to sign the charter, and I’m looking forward to seeing how this can positively influence the way our population of people with learning disabilities are treated in the future.”

The charter was developed by people who have learning disabilities from across Ceredigion, Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire.

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Community

Ceredigion Leisure Centres Summer holiday programme

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A BUSY TIMETABLE of inclusive summer holiday activities for children has been organised across all Ceredigion County Council-run leisure centres in the county.

From football to bouncy castle sessions, from cycling skills to archery, there’s a wide variety of activities to choose from over the course of the summer.

There will also be day camps and multi-skills activity days available at some of the leisure centres, for children to attend for the whole day. There’s even a day trip to the beach with Teifi Leisure Centre!

A range of learning to swim programmes are available at Lampeter Swimming Pool and Plascrug Leisure Centre across the summer holidays. A week of swimming lessons will be delivered solely through the medium of Welsh in Plascrug Leisure Centre starting on 5 August.

Councillor Catrin Miles is the council’s Cabinet member with responsibility for Leisure Services. She said: “Ceredigion Actif is once again providing a busy timetable of fun activities during the summer. It’s a healthy and worthwhile way for children to spend their time during the summer.”

Booking for sessions is essential and staff at leisure centres reserve the right to cancel any session if attendance is too low.

For further information on the summer holiday activities planned, visit the Ceredigion Actif website.

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