Butterflies to create a rainbow of delights at RHS Garden Wisley

Monday 7 November 2016

• 15 new species never before seen on display in the Glasshouse • More than 6,000 exotic butterflies in a tropical paradise • From the delicate Glasswing to the striking Blue Morpho

Visitors can escape into the warmth of the tropical zone in the Glasshouse at RHS Garden Wisley in Surrey, for Butterflies in the Glasshouse, 14 January to 5 March 2017. More butterfly species than ever before, including 15 never seen at Wisley, will be on display, including blue waves, giant swallowtails and tiger leafwing.

Each of the 50 species offers a visual treat to behold, like the blue wave from Central America, whose sapphire-blue iridescent wings are delicately patterned with white. The giant swallowtail from North America at first looks similar to its cousin the UK swallowtail. It is however, as its name suggests, much larger with a wingspan of up to 18cm (double that of the UK species). Tiger leafwings have amazing camouflage, with tiger-like orange upperwings completely disappear when the wings close, leaving the butterfly looking remarkably like a dead leaf.

These free-flying beauties will captivate visitors, as they glide around the cathedral-like building which, for a limited time, will be home to thousands of butterflies from tropical areas of the world such as Central and South America and Southeast Asia.

“For me, having Butterflies in the Glasshouse is the perfect antidote for the midwinter blues and provides a welcome escape to tropical climes,” says Christopher J Young, Glasshouse Team Leader, who is responsible for managing the successful operation of the Glasshouse and organising the transition of the butterflies from when they arrive on site in their pupae, to emerging in their colourful glory in the Glasshouse.

In the tropical zone, the horticulturists have designed an environment similar to a rainforest that mimics the perfect conditions to allow huge leaves and flowers to grow. Visitors will also find banana plants, bromeliads, palm trees and climbers, as well as aquatic and wetland plants floating in the jungle pool. Visitors can take a tour through the world of plants on display and catch a glimpse of the extensive range of wild species as well as garden hybrids and cultivars. There will be myriad vibrant colours to marvel at, creating superb photographic opportunities.

Visitors can also become butterfly experts and learn all about the life cycle of a butterfly in our interactive Education Zone. Children are encouraged to enter our drawing competition to be in with a chance to have their winning design created into a 30 x 30cm metal butterfly sculpture. It will go on display from 11 February – 6 March (the last date for competition entries is 23 January; full details will be made available online). To mark the launch weekend, willow sculptures will be created and visitors will get the chance to decorate them before they go on display in the dry temperate zone in the Glasshouse.

There will also be a special sculpture trail throughout the garden leading towards the Glasshouse, created by artist Alison Catchlove. Visitors will get the chance to see Alison demonstrating her extraordinary skills as a sculptor in the Glasshouse Gallery every Friday – Sunday during the event.

During February Half Term, 11 – 19 February, there will be a range of free family events focused on Whatever the Weather for Butterflies, with activities varying daily.

The Food Hall or Glasshouse café will also be open for refreshments and butterfly-decorated cookies and cupcakes, and the Wisley Gift Shop and Plant Centre will offer a stunning selection of gifts, souvenirs and plants.

Entry to Butterflies in the Glasshouse is free with normal garden entry. Adults £14, Children 5 – 16 years £7. Family 2+2 (2 adults + 2 children) £36.

All events are subject to normal garden admission; for RHS members admission is free unless otherwise stated. For further information, images and press enquiries contact Karen Bosomworth, Marketing & PR Executive on 01483 212306, email karenbosomworth@rhs.org.uk

-Ends-

Notes to editors

Timed tickets for visitors to Butterflies in the Glasshouse will be available from November; full details can be found at www.rhs.org.uk/wisley.

About RHS Garden Wisley
Wisley, Woking, Surrey, GU23 6QB
0845 260 9000 www.rhs.org.uk/wisley
(Calls to RHS ‘08’ numbers cost 5p per minute, plus your telephone service provider’s access charge.)
Opening times and ticket prices may vary by event. Full details can be found at www.rhs.org.uk/wisley  

Opening times

Wisley is open every day except for Christmas Day

Monday – Friday from 10am – 6pm (to 8pm throughout December 2016)
Saturday – Sunday (including Bank Holidays) from 9am – 6pm
(Closes 4:30pm 30 October 2016 – 12 March 2017). Last admission is one hour before closing time

Glasshouse opening times

Winter: 30 October 2016 – 5 March 2017: 10am – 3:45pm. Last admission 15 minutes before closing.

2017 Admission prices – 10% off with all online ticket purchases (except groups)
RHS members enjoy free entry with a family guest (entitlements may vary according to membership type

Non-members (excluding Gift Aid)

Adult £14.00
Family (2 plus 2) £36.00
Children 5 – 16yrs £7.00
Children under 5 years Free
Groups (10+ adults) £11.70 per person

About the RHS

The Royal Horticultural Society was founded in 1804 by Sir Joseph Banks and John Wedgwood to inspire passion and excellence in the science, art and practice of horticulture. Our vision is to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener, healthier, happier and more beautiful place. We believe everyone in every village, town and city should benefit from growing plants to enhance lives, build stronger, healthier, happier communities and create better places to live.

We held our first flower shows in 1820, were granted a Royal Charter in 1861 and acquired RHS Garden Wisley, our flagship garden, in 1903. From our first meetings in a small room off London’s Piccadilly, we have grown to become the world’s largest gardening charity. At our gardens and shows and through our scientific research, publications, libraries and our education and community programmes we inspire a passion for gardening and growing plants, promote the value of gardens, demonstrate how gardening is good for us and explain the vital roles that plants undertake.

The RHS is committed to bring the joy of gardening to millions more people, inspire the next generation of gardeners and invest in the future to safeguard a £10.4 billion industry employing more than 300,000 people. We are entirely funded by our members, visitors and supporters. RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and help us secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 020 3176 5820, or visit www.rhs.org.uk/join

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262

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About the RHS

The RHS believes that gardening improves the quality of life and that everyone should have access to great garden experiences. As a charity we help to bring gardening into people's lives and support gardeners of all levels and abilities; whether they are expert horticulturists or children who are planting seeds for the very first time.

RHS membership is for anyone with an interest in gardening. Support the RHS and secure a healthy future for gardening. For more information call: 0845 130 4646, or visit www.rhs.org.uk

RHS Registered Charity No. 222879/SC038262