Saturday, January 15, 2011

Project Ground Covers

Some butterflies lay their eggs on small plants that have difficulty surviving amongst introduced grasses and other weeds. An example is the egg fly butterfly which needs love flowers for its caterpillars, which themselves need partial shade to do really well. The local rainforest nursery considers them weeds.

Love Flowers among the Chives
The best success I've had growing love flowers is in the vege garden, away from rampant grasses. Pictured with a (careless) application of worm castings for nutrients.

Probably by the time they become weedy in the vege patch they'll have been seeding themselves in the main garden.

This happened with the arrowhead violet, which is a host plant for the highly endangered laced fritillary butterfly. So while I don't really expect to ever see that butterfly in my backyard, I decided to try grow the violet which itself is "becoming rare in coastal areas" (from Create More Butterflies)

After a couple of false starts, I now have a little population of self seeding arrowhead violet plants through the vege patch and its surrounds.

Arrowhead Violet 
The purple colouring of its winter and spring flowers attracts a number of small butterflies, such as the plumbago blue butterfly, that need nectar from blue flowers. The flowers on the plant through summer and autumn, as at the moment, are closed self-pollinating and without proper petals, and seed cases. 

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