24th – 27th February – The Arts Society – Butterfly Gardens Exhibition

The Butterfly Gardens on Tour invites the public to join a creative journey and celebration of The Buttefly Gardens, a magical community nestled in the heart of the county. The Heathville and Redcliffe Union Art Group will also be contributing work to the exhibition. 

The Butterfly Garden is an educational, therapeutic and recreational scheme, based initially on gardening, but now offering so much more. It is a project for people of all ages dealing with disablement of any kind.

It caters for those looking to escape the world, those looking to re-enter it and some, who are still just looking. Its doors are open to anyone without obligation.

There was never a plan to set up the project, at least not until the summer of 2002 when six young autistic students were visiting a small commercial Nursery and garden centre on the outskirts of Cheltenham. They came, innocently enough, seeking gardening advice and unwittingly became the pioneer founders of ‘ The Butterfly Garden’. Invited to return and with guidance they teased life into a small, previously unused patch………and people heard about it.

By November, a quarter of an acre of overgrown, derelict land was fenced off. A
development plan was drawn up and as the months advanced the once tired and empty space was transformed.

Today the garden extends across more than four acres. It weaves and entwines with ‘the original business’ (that still operates) and there is an emulation and sharing of daily tasks, that makes the experience very real. Now, over one hundred students attend each week. Many are referred by colleges, schools, day centres and NHS support agencies, whilst others are guided by friends and family. There are students on site every day and together they have transformed a wilderness and helped to shape a stimulating garden experience, with terrific resources.

The Butterfly Garden is no longer just about gardening though.

As the project has evolved, people have just turned up offering help and services (amongst them teachers and care workers) and today the provision is both diverse and stimulating. We have volunteers supporting art, music, woodwork and catering as well as the gardening.

For more information on The Butterfly Gardens please follow their Facebook page.