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Join the Big Butterfly Count

Take part in the world’s biggest butterfly count and go peat-free to protect their habitats
Katie Hill - Editor-in-Chief, My Green Pod
Join the Big Butterfly Count

My Green Pod Hero and P.E.A. Award winner Seedball, a non-profit wildflower specialist, is encouraging people to take part in the Butterfly Conservation’s Big Butterfly Count this summer and help spread the message of the importance of using only peat-free composts.

It comes as the government has announced an upcoming ban on peat-based composts.

Peat bogs provide essential habitats to many rare species including butterflies, and Seedball is raising awareness of the devastating environmental impact of the depletion of peat habitats on the species that live there.

The world’s biggest butterfly survey

The UK-wide survey launched on 16 July and will remain open until 08 August. Participants are asked to simply count the number and type of butterflies they can spot in their local area.

Launched in 2010, the Big Butterfly Count has rapidly become the world’s biggest survey of butterflies.

Butterflies are one of the biggest casualties of peat bog destruction, so the results are vital to assess the health of the environment and the butterfly population.

Harvesting peat not only destroys vital habitats for wildlife, but also releases harmful carbon dioxide which contributes to global warming and climate change.

‘There really is no excuse not to use peat-free compost, yet most people I meet have no idea of the damage caused by buying peat-based composts. By buying peat-free, you support the development of a UK peat-free compost industry and UK jobs, instead of digging up our few remaining lowland bogs and supporting an overseas peat extraction industry.’

Expert in socio-technical innovation at Newcastle University

Peat-free gardening

Seedball was founded by two conservation scientists with a passion for plants and wildlife in the final months of their PhD studies at Aberdeen University.

After struggling to grow wildflowers from seed, they wanted to simplify the process, boost biodiversity and help preserve vulnerable plants, insects and animals.

The company is committed to raising awareness of the harm caused to butterflies and other vulnerable species by peat harvesting, and is encouraging gardeners to switch to peat-free alternatives and protect their habitats for the future.

‘We very much welcome the government ban on peat-based composts from 2024, which is essential to slow the destruction of vital peat-bogs, however we strongly urge everyone to choose peat-free alternatives in the meantime.

‘It’s simple to switch to a peat-free alternative or even make your own compost using garden clippings and kitchen scraps. Whatever we do we must make a change for good and urge our friends and family to do the same.’

Conservation scientist and co-founder of Seedball

Plant flowers for butterflies

The experts at Seedball have developed a range of unique, peat-free balls containing wildflower seeds that transform outdoor spaces – from meadows to plant pots – into seas of beautiful flowers that not only look good but do good, too.

There is a selection of mixes to choose from; each benefits a particular species or creature including bees, beetles, birds, bats and butterflies.

The butterfly mix is specially developed to attract butterflies to gardens, balconies and window boxes and uses only flowers recommended by Butterfly Conservation.

Each seed ball contains approximately 30 seeds from a mix of purple loosestrife, forget-me-not, musk mallow, red campion and yarrow, plus a sprinkling of pollinator-friendly annuals chamomile, cornflower, corn marigold, and night-flowering catchfly.

Seedball is passionate about making the journey of curating vibrant flourishes of nature easier for everyone, whilst giving a home to the depleting wildlife and pollinators.

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