Discovering a hidden haven in the Latrobe Valley, Victoria, Australia

A slightly ragged Common Brown (Heteronympha merope merope) visiting the garden today.

The space down the side of the house is gradually starting transformation into the butterfly and bee garden. There’s not too much to see plant wise yet, as I have to discipline myself to focus on cleaning up not only this area, but the rest of the garden too.

However, once I’ve put in a few hours wrangling Couch grass and Ivy I let myself off the hook to spend a little time to work on setting up the butterfly and bee garden.

The butterfly and bee 'garden to be'

Here’s my progress report, please feel free to point out mistakes with Botanical names, I’m just starting to get the hang of these and realise that I’m probably making many mistakes!

Nectar Plantings


The fact we already have a well established mauve Buddleia (in foreground of photo above) is what started attracting Butterflies to our garden in the first place. The bees love it too.

Lavandula Multifida – ‘Spanish Eyes’ or ‘Canary Island’ Lavender.

Lavender planted next to a shallow water dish and some resting rocks for butterflies

I found this beautiful little soft ferny Lavender which has very dainty little tube shaped flowers and couldn’t resist it. I’m thinking the butterflies and bees will love it too.

Monarda didyma – Bergamot

Said to be a favourite herb for bees that I’m hoping will flower soon. I’ll post a picture when it does.

Larval Plantings

I’ve been following up my research on the food plant preferences of the caterpillar of Vanessa kershawi – The Australian Painted Lady by planting:

Bracteantha Bracteata – Golden Everlasting Daisy

Golden Everlasting

For anyone unfamiliar with an everlasting daisy it is a low growing plant that loves the sun. The apparent petals are actually bracts and you can find a lot more information about them here. I hope to grow a few more colourful  varieties from seed next spring.

Chrysocephalum apiculatum – Yellow Buttons.

Sad little Yellow Buttons

A Native plant commonly grown as a low maintenance and drought tolerant ground-cover. It’s meant to be as common as muck but I had a bit of trouble finding it and bought quite a sad looking little seedling just because I was so happy to have finally found it! It is meant to have a mass of small cheerful yellow flowers. We’ll see if it cheers up!


Comments on: "The Butterfly and Bee garden starting to buzz!" (11)

  1. Hope your garden will thrive with blooms, butterflies and bees….. ~bangchik

  2. Thanks bangchik – I just hope it will be without Harlequin bugs!

  3. I am looking forward to see more of your garden in Australia. This is a good start. Are you having the autumn or late summer season now?

  4. Lavender attracts bees here, and I love it for bouquets and drying. But do you know which plant was a real surprise for me in the bee attractiveness department? Basil. Plant enough to let some of it go to bloom, and the bees go crazy for it. After I discovered this, an organic farmer in this area told me that he plants a row of basil on each edge of his fields for that very reason. (Plus, it’s pretty easy to grow from seed, so it’s a cheap draw.)

    You can’t go wrong with butterfly bush. I was about to tell you it will draw hummingbirds, too, until I realized you were in Australia. 🙂 That would be quite a feat, if it attracted them across the Pacific Ocean…

    I never thought to plant for the larval stage. I’m sure your very thorough research will pay off!

  5. Autumn Belle – Thanks for your lovely warm comments! It is heading into late summer here now. February is usually our hottest and driest month and can be a real test for the garden!

    M.E.W. – Thank you for that wonderful tip about Basil! I have some small seedlings growing, so I will indeed allow some to go to flower and donate their flowers to the bees 🙂

    If only my butterfly bush could attract some hummingbirds from across the Pacific, I would very much enjoy having them visit my garden!

  6. Don’t forget about the humble Pentas shrub … it attracts a lot of butterflies and bees. Up here they also love Duranta repens.

    What about the False Sarsaparilla plant? – Hardengeria violacea, and the native fuchsia – Correa reflexa, as well as the native acacias and grevilleas.

  7. Thanks for all the ideas Bernie!
    I’ll look into getting a Pentas and a couple of Correas would be great too!
    I was thinking about planting an acacia at the far end of this garden, but I need to research that a bit more as I want one that will fit a smallish space. Does False Sarsapirilla also have the common name ‘Happy Wanderer’?
    I’m thinking of some grevilleas for the ‘bird garden’ that is still on the mental drawing board!

  8. Yes GG … you’rs spot on! The Sarsparilla plant is also known as the Happy Wanderer or sometimes the Australian Sarsparilla.

    The Drummond Wattle – Acacia drummondii – is a small wattle that only grows to a metre high with soft yellow rod flowers, perfect for a small garden space.

  9. Found a great Australian website which might be helpful in planning your garden.

  10. Bernie! I’m sitting here over the moon having just had a look at the Flora for Fauna link! It’s brilliant!
    To think of all the time I’ve spent painstakingly researching and decoding the larval food plants for butterflies in my area and it was all there with a couple of clicks! Can you tell I’m a little excited!? Thank you so much 🙂
    Oh almost forgot to say – I think the Acacia drummondii with a backdrop of the False Sarsparilla is going to be just the ticket for the far end of this garden – I think the purple and yellow will contrast nicely.

  11. G’day GG ….iIt’s a great site isn’t it? I stumbled upon it after I had commented on your blog … had nothing much to do and decided to go exploring on the great google gadget!!!

    I was so excited myself … it actually is Australian and covers so much of the country – even my corner up here! Astounding! Well I glad it’s going to be helpful.

    Yes when I thought about the sarsapilla and the drummondi together, I decided they would make a great pairing … hope it works out well.

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