This summer is going to be tough if we can’t get out and enjoy the Great Outdoors. My solution is to invite guests in – and I’m talking about butterflies and birds. Last year I filled my mother’s garden with French Marigolds and the garden was alive with butterflies! It was wonderful. My grevillea was a source of delight for the honeyeaters and if you can attract a blue-eyed honeyeater that is a remarkable sight.
Butterflies love nectar and that means flowers. But if you don’t have a flowering garden, then there are plenty of alternatives. Rotting fruit. Yes – I kid you not. A banana or orange that’s just a bit past its best … or watermelon, or soft drinks like orange juice, honeywater and Gatorade. Yummy! Drinks should be placed into a small container like a bottle lid so that the butterfly can suck it up through its proboscis (nose)! There is always a downside: butterflies lay eggs and they hatch caterpillars which will eat your plants. I’ve found that my plants always recover from being munched, so I just let them eat.
Feeding birds is challenging. We want to feed the natives, but bread can attract the Indian Mynahs and pigeons. I put Native Bird seeds into a hanging ornamental cage with just one bar cut out so that small birds can enter but the larger ones can’t. The rosellas and lorikeets compete for the best seeds. A good garden is like creating a small world.