Remembering The Magic Of Nanna’s Garden: Welcoming Butterflies & Bees To Our Modern Spaces

In a time where the hum of modern life is louder than ever, there’s an unmistakable sense of nostalgia that engulfs me as I think back to days long gone. The age of sprawling homesteads and gardens seems to be fading, as land is sliced and diced to accommodate more houses in our rapidly expanding towns and cities. The essence of Moreton and the Sunshine Coast, with its unhurried charm and sprawling greens, feels threatened.

You may still cherish those golden moments when, as a child, I’d spend hours in Nanna’s garden, chasing elusive butterflies or marvelling at the persistent bees hovering over blossoms. We fear that the future generations might miss out on such simple, unadulterated joys of life. It’s a dream, and also a mission for many, to recreate those pockets of magic for our children and grandchildren, despite the constraints of modern living.

Butterfly Migrations in Brisbane

Even amidst urban sprawls, places like the Moreton Bay Region still manage to hold onto some of nature’s magic. Various corners of our land, from the whispering mangroves to the rustic eucalypt forests and open grasslands, continue to play host to an array of stunning butterfly species.

Do you remember the vibrant hues of the Wanderer or Monarch Butterfly, or the electric blue streaks of the Blue Tiger Butterfly? And who can forget the slow, deliberate dance of the Common Crow, or the earthy beauty of the Meadow Argus? Then there’s the captivating Orchard Swallowtail Butterfly with its striking contrast of black and white, and the demure elegance of the Australian Gull. Each one, a precious memory from Nanna’s garden, each one, a silent plea to preserve their habitats.

attracting butterflies

Rediscovering Our Winged Friends

For those who’ve felt the tug of curiosity, wishing to rekindle those old connections or introduce the young ones to these aerial wonders, the ‘Brisbane Insects’ website, is an invaluable resource. Dive deep into this virtual treasure trove, and you might just find yourself reliving those carefree days spent identifying fluttering beauties around Brisbane.

Planting Seeds of Hope

While times have changed, the allure of butterflies and bees remains timeless. I urge each one of you to delve into research, seek out those plants and flowers that beckon our winged friends, and recreate, even if in a tiny patch, a hint of Nanna’s enchanted garden. For in the flitter and buzz lies a legacy, a connection to a time less complicated, a message of hope and continuity. Let’s ensure our future is peppered with the magic of fluttering wings and humming bees.

We hope you find our butterfly and bee planting guides helpful.

Attracting Butterflies

Attracting butterflies involves planting both nectar-providing plants (for adult butterflies) and host plants (where they lay eggs and which provide food for caterpillars). Here’s a breakdown of the plants that are known to attract these butterflies:

Wanderer or Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus)

Nectar plants: Buddleia, Grevillea, Abelia, Echinacea, and Marigolds.
Host plants: Milkweed varieties (Asclepias spp.), including Swan Plant (Gomphocarpus fruticosus).

Blue Tiger Butterfly (Tirumala hamata)

Nectar plants: Lantana, Buddleia, and Pentas.
Host plants: Various species of the Milkweed (Asclepias) family.

Common Crow (Euploea core)

Nectar plants: Lantana, Buddleia, and Hibiscus.
Host plants: Native Silkpod vines (Parsonsia spp.), Oleander (Nerium oleander), and some Milkweeds (Asclepias spp.)

Meadow Argus

Meadow Argus (Junonia villida)

Nectar plants: A wide range of flowers, including Asters, Buddleia, and Daisies.
Host plants: A variety of plants including species from the plantain (Plantago) and mallow (Malva) families.

Australian Painted Lady (Vanessa kershawi)

Nectar plants: Buddleia, Daisies, and Asters.
Host plants: Thistles, Mallow (Malva spp.), and Hollyhock (Alcea rosea).

Orchard Swallowtail Butterfly (Papilio aegeus)

Nectar plants: Buddleia, Lantana, and Abelia.
Host plants: Many species of the citrus family (Rutaceae), including cultivated citrus like lemons and oranges.

Lesser Wanderer

Lesser Wanderer (Danaus chrysippus)

Nectar plants: Buddleia, Marigolds, and Pentas.
Host plants: Milkweed (Asclepias spp.) and similar species.

Varied Eggfly or Blue Moon Butterfly

Varied Eggfly or Blue Moon Butterfly (Hypolimnas bolina)

Nectar plants: Lantana, Buddleia, and Poinsettia.
Host plants: Various species from the Acanthaceae family, including Asystasia and Ruellia.

Australian Gull butterfly

Australian Gull (Cepora perimale)

Nectar plants: Most flowering plants.
Host plants: Various species from the family Rutaceae, similar to the Orchard Swallowtail.

Caper White

Caper White (Belenois java)

Nectar plants: A wide range of flowers.
Host plants: Native caper plants (Capparis spp.).

When planning a garden to attract butterflies, it’s also important to consider the use of pesticides. Avoiding or minimizing pesticide use will ensure a safe environment for both the caterpillars and the adult butterflies.

Attracting Bees

The key to attracting a diverse range of bees is to have a variety of plants that bloom at different times of the year. This ensures a consistent food source for the bees. Bees also need water so consider having a shallow birdbath with stones where bees can land and drink safely.

European Honeybee (Apis mellifera)

Plants: Lavender, Rosemary, Basil, Borage, Echinacea, Sage, Sunflowers, Grevillea, and Buddleja (butterfly bush).

Stingless Bees (Tetragonula carbonaria & Tetragonula hockingsi)

Plants: Native Australian flowers like Bottlebrush (Callistemon), Tea Trees (Melaleuca), Kangaroo Paw (Anigozanthos), and Daisies.

Blue Banded Bees (Amegilla) & Teddy Bear Bees (Amegilla bombiformis)

Plants: Salvias, Lavender, Abelia, Buddleja, and Tomatoes (they perform buzz pollination)

Leafcutter Bees

Leafcutter Bees (Megachile) & Resin Bees (Megachile)

Plants: Roses (they often take the leaves), Sunflowers, Dahlias, Zinnias, and Alfalfa.

Masked Bees

Masked Bees (Hylaeus)

Plants: Fine-flowered natives like Tea Trees (Melaleuca), Wax Flowers (Philotheca), and Correa.

Homalictus Bees

Plants: Most native Australian flowers, including Grevillea, Eucalyptus, and Acacia.

Reed Bees

Reed Bees (Exoneura)

Plants: Plants that produce soft, pithy stems like Lantana and Raspberry canes. While these bees don’t necessarily feed on these plants, they use them for nesting.

Carpenter Bees

Carpenter Bees (Xylocopa)

Plants: Open-faced flowers such as Azaleas, Abelia, Passionflower, and native Hibiscus.

With the above plants and considerations, you’ll be well on your way to creating a buzzing bee haven in your garden!

Need More Advice on Attracting Butterflies? Contact O’Brien’s Tree Care

At O’Brien’s Tree Care, we are passionate about wildlife of all types and will happily give any advice needed. Feel free to check out our Facebook Page and leave a comment or send us a message. You can also give us a call on 0431 740 088 or click here to contact us online.

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