butterfly (3)


Compared to Brisbane, there aren't many gardening related workshops on offer at Bribie so I was keen to support this one run by Helen Schwencke at the local library yesterday.

Helen has put out a wonderful little book full of colour photos with a pic for each butterfly in adult, caterpillar and chrysalis stages called Create More Butterflies 

Available on her website Earthling Enterprises it's not cheap at $34 but worth it to have this terrific resource. 


Helen's talk was about providing host plants for the complete life cycle of the butterfly not just nectar plants for the adult.


Climbing Senna (Senna gaudichaudi)

Corky Milk Vine (Secamone elliptica)

Emu Foot (Cullen tenax)

Karamat (Hygrophila augustifolia) 

Love Flower (Pseuderanthemum variabile)

Mangrove Wax Flower Vine (Cynanchum carnosum)

Native Mulberry (Pipturus argenteus)

Thornless Caper (Capparis lucida)

Zig Zag Vine (elodorum leichardtii)

Finger Lime (Citrus australasica)

    +Citrus of any type

I didn't take copious notes, preferring to rely on the book and a few important pointers:

  • there are 360 known butterfly host plants
  • create water features/soaks
  • leave areas in your garden as natural as possible
  • interplant your garden with local and regional native plants 

Helen suggested the Queensland Naturalists Club for meet ups and outings. Sounds like a nudist meet up but it's about insects and the environment! Really :)

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Caper White Butterfly Migration

For only the second time ever (for me), the Caper Whites are migrating. Reading about them, they do it frequently so it's pot-luck if you see them.

The first migration I saw was in Brisbane while driving down Cornwall Street Annerley, clouds of them were heading steadily north-east. As indeed they are today and for several days since, white butterflies are fluttering by in Deception Bay.

Some have come into my yard and are sipping nectar from the Lucerne. There are a number of different species of very small active butterflies doing the same thing. No pix - dang but they are so quick.

I've scanned the relevant entries in The Complete Field Guide to Butterflies of Australia by Michael F Braby. There is a locally-produced book by Helen Schwenke and Frank Jordan (which I can recommend as a slim volume with a wealth of detail and excellent photographs) but which has absented itself from my bookshelf just now. Both are good books and fairly modern. My large tome by Waterhouse and Common while comprehensive has some age about it now so either of the two mentioned above will be useful today.

If you have Caper Whites where you live, enjoy the migration since they only do it once a year. Oh and their larvae munch on Australian caper bushes, few-to-none of which grow around here. They won't be munching your veges!



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Quick one from me

I've taken the Backyarders group down. The backyarders forum was basically duplicating the general forum which seemed unecessarily confusing.People were having trouble finding discussions too, and the search functions on the general forum are much better. So Donna and I copied them over - but now all the links to the people who actually posted the comments are gone. Sorry about that.

I've put my tomato bags back on - I'm not getting fruit fly, but other bits and bobs have a go at them if the bags aren't on, whereas I get beautiful perfect blemish free specimens (except the ones I don't see/ bother with) if I do bag them - so the bags are back on.

I've also bagged a few baby pumpkins to see if it might keep the frost off them. I've decided I'm losing the babies to frost - the vines are back to full health, and it is mid winter with fog etc after all :)I levered the no dig garden around with a pitch fork to let air in - it was looking a bit compacted I think.My peas are doing well so far, fingers crossed. First flower today. The bush beans are OK too, didn't look closely to see if they're setting yet.Have examined the bok choy, which is riddled with holes, and discovered lots of caterpillars on the leaf undersides. They are not big and green (cabbage white butterfly) which explains why I wasn't seeing any of those :) So at least I know it's not just grasshoppers. I picked lots off today and gave them to the chooks. I'll do that a few more times and see if things come right, otherwise I might buy some Dipel (Bacillus thuringiensis) and put that about a bit. It's more specific than neem, as it basically attacks caterpillar tummies. Poor caterpillars :( At least neem is quick - but it gets all bugs, good and bad, which is bad of course. Hopefully the manual removal will do the trick - it usually does. It takes such care to produce beautiful food at times! The tip off (because I didn't see any butterflies) was a pristine bok choy volunteer growing in the gravel at one side of the vegie garden. Caterpillars don't like gravel - it's rough on their undersides.Also I prune off the old leaves on the broccoli and cauliflower etc as they get holes in them and feed these to the chooks. The chooks demand this because it's their favourite, these are of course the best leaves to pick without hurting the plant, and it keeps the cabbage whites under control - egg and caterpillar population reduction measure. Sometimes I let a decoy go in the garden for a while as well after it's flowered (but not long enough for the butterflies to hatch). The butterflies appear to love the old smelly plants the best.My lemons are almost ripe - first from this tree, very proud, must take a photo.I've been tranplanting my onions and leeks around - thinning them out into singles.I scattered some mulch over the vegie garden.There's not much else going on - everything should come on well now we've passed the solstice :)
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