SERIES 24 | Episode 19
Jerry visits a backyard stuffed with butterfly-attracting crops
Jo Hammond loves butterflies.
A horticulturalist and a photographer, Jo’s devoted a big a part of her suburban block in Brisbane to attracting these lovely bugs, utilizing some very particular crops.
“Butterflies curiosity me a lot as a result of they’re so ephemeral – they do not final very lengthy they usually’ll simply flit in and flit out. I like the truth that the butterfly’s all completely different colors and also you by no means know within the morning once you stand up and you’re taking the digital camera out the entrance, what you are going to discover,” says Jo.
She’s devoted her complete entrance backyard to attracting her favorite bugs. “This milk weed (Tropical Milk Weed, Asclepias curassavica) is definitely a number plant for the Monarch Butterfly. The butterfly will are available in and it’ll lay one egg beneath, identical to that after which it’ll go off and it’ll come round and it’ll lay one right here after which on the identical day, they will all hatch on the identical time.”
“What number of species of butterfly would you say you’ve got obtained in your backyard?” Jerry asks.
“I would say at anybody time, there’s about 20 or 30,” replies Jo.
Jo has two completely different sorts of crops to draw and retain butterflies. There are meals crops for the caterpillars, like native Passionfruit Vine – and nectar crops, which butterflies and the occasional caterpillar get pleasure from, like Pentas.
Jerry spies a lemon tree that is clearly been chewed by bugs. “Some folks could be involved seeing a lemon wanting just a little bit tatty like this,” notes Jerry.
Jo explains, “Effectively, that is truly my sacrificial lemon. It is for all of the bugs to get pleasure from, however most significantly, for the caterpillars to eat off so the butterflies can lay their eggs.”
Jo’s again backyard is essentially dedicated to meals rising, however she’s managed to squeeze in just a few butterfly crops. In actual fact, she’s obtained so many alternative butterfly-attracting crops simply in a single little nook, anyone with a small house might use it as their inspiration to begin butterfly gardening.
“I’ve simply over-planted every part,” she says. “I’ve obtained a Blunt-leaf Senna there (Senna gaudichaudii) for the little yellow butterflies. This here’s a Karamat (Hygrophila angustifolia) and that pulls 5 completely different butterflies – simply that single plant.”
Jerry says she’s additionally rising considered one of his favorite summer time annuals – Gomphrena (Globe Amaranth, Gomphrena globosa). It grows fantastically all the best way down the east coast of Australia.
Jo loves it too. “It’s totally, very fairly and most butterfly host crops have gotten tiny, tiny flowers, however this one has large flowers they usually’re brilliant colors and it attracts all of the butterflies as a result of it is a nectar plant.”
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Jo makes use of the darkish, southern aspect of her block for experimental plantings.
“I began to get a dozen butterfly host crops and simply plant on this aspect of the block, out of the best way. Now, for instance, a Jezebel Nymph has laid a clutch of eggs on this Native Mulberry (Pipturus argenteus) and when you see right here, that is the place a Jezebel Nymph has a clutch of eggs and when these hatch, these tiny, tiny little caterpillars come out they usually begin on the sting right here and they’re going to eat their method in after which once they’ve completed with that leaf and there is simply the stem left, they transfer onto the subsequent one they usually do precisely the identical factor they usually simply mow the leaf proper into the stem after which they will transfer off altogether, one after the opposite, onto the subsequent leaf and do the identical once more till they shed their first set of pores and skin after which after they’ve shed it 5 occasions they usually’re as large as they are going to get, most caterpillars will go beneath one thing or go on a stem after which they are going to flip right into a chrysalis.
“So what recommendation would you give a budding butterfly gardener?” asks Jerry.
“I’d say cease spraying your crops. Cease utilizing chemical compounds and once I say chemical compounds I imply additionally issues like neem – something that kills the bugs can even kill the caterpillars.”
“Visiting Jo’s backyard as we speak has jogged my memory that one particular person’s pest could be one other particular person’s ardour,” says Jerry, “and in Jo’s case, her love of caterpillars and butterflies has develop into a fulltime occupation.”
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