Butterfly Conservation Half Price Membership Offer

Who wouldn’t want to see more butterflies in their garden?  (I’ll ignore the gentleman at the back, raising his hand).

(Just some of the moth and butterfly species in ‘my’ gardens)

Well, they’re really quite easy to attract.  For example, you could plant cabbages: you’ll get flurries of cabbage whites.  Not what you had in mind?  Then simply plant nectar rich flowers.  (In the above photos, six different butterflies are feeding on Verbena bonariensis – a great food source).   And if you have the space leave an area of garden wild: both small tortoiseshell and peacock caterpillars feed on nettles.

Eyed Hawk-moth

Eyed Hawk-moth

And another way of helping to increase both moth and butterfly numbers is by joining the charity Butterfly Conservation – one of the largest insect conservation organisations in the world.  Until 31st May 2015, and to herald the onset of spring, Butterfly Conservation are offering half price membership.  Under this offer, single membership for the first year is just £1.25 per month.   For that you’ll help conserve endangered species and their habitat; and add your voice to various campaigns on wider environmental issues.  As a member you’ll receive a pack of butterfly-food flower seeds and all this too:

  • Member only gardening book written by Kate Bradbury
  • A welcome pack with membership card, set of collectable postcards and useful information
  • Butterfly magazine three times a year, packed with fascinating features and stunning photos
  • Essential advice on gardening for butterflies and moths
  • Regular e-newsletters with the latest news, info and offers
  • Membership of your local branch, with regular newsletters
  • Invitations to local guided walks, talks, conservation action days and social events

To join, click on this link – Butterfly Conservation Website – and enter the code GARDEN1550.

Oh, almost forgot – you get a free car sticker too.

Painting Paradise: The Art Of The Garden

I wasn’t expecting an invitation to tea with the Queen.

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Which was just as well – I didn’t get one.  But I did receive an invite to a Bloggers’ Breakfast followed by a preview of ‘Painting Paradise’ – the new exhibition at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace.  Pulling on smart clothes (of a sort) and fishing bits of bramble out of my beard, I flunked off work and scurried up to town.

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The Family of Henry VIII, British School, c. 1545 – with a glimpse of Whitehall Palace garden

After coffee, pastries and mingling, we entered the galleries for an expertly guided tour by the curators.   Here are just a few of the works I particularly liked (and was able to photograph in low light):

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Portrait of Jacopo Cennini, Franciabigio, 1523

the earliest surviving portrait of a professional gardener (looking uncannily like Mark Rylance’s Thomas Cromwell);

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A View Of Hampton Court, Leonard Knyff, c. 1703 – with avenues formed by two thousand (!) lime trees

a beautifully detailed panorama of William III’s new gardens at Hampton Court;

The Norman Gateway and Moat Garden, Windsor Castle Paul Sandby, c. 1770

The Norman Gateway and Moat Garden, Windsor Castle, Paul Sandby, c. 1770

an early, and rare, depiction of a gardener at work (with dog, if no mug of tea);

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July Border, Beatrice Emma Parsons, c. 1910 – 20

and a vibrant watercolour of Jekyll-inspired planting, bringing to my mind the long borders at Nymans.

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Detail, The Sunflower Clock, Vincennes porcelain factory (1738-56)

I loved this intimate, absorbing exhibition featuring a rich and varied array of decorative arts: paintings, manuscripts, da Vinci drawings (see header photo), sculpture, porcelain

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Fabergé Cornflowers and Oats Study

and jewels; all from the Queen’s private collection and many on public view for the first time.

‘Painting Paradise: The Art of the Garden’  is a short walk from Victoria station.  The exhibition opened on 20th March and runs until 11 October 2015.  For more information see:  The Royal Collection Website