Each month I try to cover a topic that I believe is is relevant and this month it is the delightful Wanderer butterfly, also known as the Monarch.
The issue here is that these beautiful large butterflies, which flit around Sophie’s Patch and add such an element of delight, are in fact not native to Australia. They arrived in Australia from North America in the 1870s, and as such are sometimes condemned for being exotic and not one we should be encouraging.
Every now and then when I post pictures on social media of the Wanderer butterflies in the garden at Sophie’s Patch or the caterpillars which we grow on our kitchen table (so the kids and I can constantly marvel at how awesome and intricate the processes of Nature are), someone criticises them and says we should be growing and encouraging other butterflies. Well…………. we do, and Sophie’s Patch has been declared an official butterfly site by the Butterfly Conservation Society SA. We have admirals, caper whites, painted ladies, meadow argus, common blues, two spotted line blues and many more, however understanding both sides of the argument for and against these butterflies, I choose to grow some swan plants (Gomphocarpus fruticosus) as food for the Wanderer caterpillars.
So rather than me try and explain the pros and cons of these undeniably showy butterflies, I would highly recommend you follow this link to the Butterfly Conservation Society website
and read their article which looks at both sides of the argument for and against the Wanderer. https://butterflyconservationsa.net.au/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/wanderer-for-or-against.pdf
If you want to know more about butterfly gardening, read the wonderful book Attracting Butterflies to your Garden – What to grow and conserve in the Adelaide Region and talk to the Butterfly Conservation Society who will be present at the Easter Open Garden at Sophie’s Patch.