While the country is in national lockdown, the team at Stratford Butterfly Farm in Warwickshire are busy preparing for when the Farm can reopen again, by carefully breeding hundred of tropical butterflies.

Clive Farrell, owner of the Butterfly Farm and an international lepidopterist, has been busy breeding the butterflies in greenhouses on his Ryewater estate in Dorset in readiness for them to being released into the farm’s Flight Area.

At the same time Richard Read, resident Tropical Horticulturist, is overseeing the restructuring and planting of the outdoor gardens from one large wildflower garden to three very distinct planting areas.

Clive, alongside gardener Leslie Pattenden, is currently breeding a variety of brightly coloured ‘Heliconius’ or longwing butterflies, the fragile, semi-transparent ‘Greta oto’ or Glasswing from Costa Rica and the tiny ghost yellow ‘Eurema albula’ from Central and South America. Also being bred is a rare and unusual brown butterfly called ‘Heteropsis fraterna’. 

 “When the country emerges from lockdown, we want hundreds of stunning butterflies to emerge at the same time.”

Jane Kendrick, marketing manager at Stratford Butterfly Farm

The butterflies feed on a mix of specially prepared nectar which sustains the butterflies through the lean months when most natural nectar plants are taking a winter rest. 

Jane Kendrick, marketing manager at Stratford Butterfly Farm, said: “Breeding the butterflies now ensures we can re-populate the farm quickly and by preparing our gardens in spring it will ensure they look stunning in the summer.

“Connecting with nature is beneficial to our mental health and in these uncertain and challenging times, it’s imperative we look forward to brighter days and ones filled with an abundance of butterflies and flowers.”

For more information about Stratford Butterfly Farm, visit www.butterflyfarm.co.uk.