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Wander among the butterflies this week7 January 2013
Wander among the butterflies this week in the tropical glasshouse at RHS Garden Wisley, in Surrey, where from Saturday they're releasing hundreds of huge, exotic butterflies from South America to flutter among the bromeliads and bananas. Enjoy their iridescent beauty at close quarters – wear something brightly-coloured and they may even land on your shoulder.
You can visit every day until Sunday 24 February, but if you can't get to Wisley you can enjoy butterflies in your own garden all summer long. Just a few simple measures will make your plot irresistible to Britain's most beautiful insects: look out for Red Admirals, Small Tortoiseshells, Peacocks, and if you're really lucky, a Holly Blue or Comma.
Plant nectar-rich plants to get butterflies flocking in: try the aptly-named butterfly bush, buddleja, or perennials like sedum, red valerian, Michaelmas daisies or scabious.
Make your garden butterfly-friendly with sunbathing platforms, so they can warm themselves: a large, flat stone is perfect and you'll find a good choice in the hard landscaping section of your favourite garden centre.
Don't forget caterpillars: leafy plants are essential for raising the next butterfly generation, so leave a few sacrificial plants dotted around for them to enjoy. Good choices include mallow (Malva moschata) and mullein (Verbascum bombyciferum).