Insect Habitats & Butterfly Gardening
Butterflies have very specific plants (host plants) that they will lay their eggs on, and this differs from species to species. The caterpillars that hatch from these eggs can either feed almost exclusively on one species or they will feed off of a number of host plant species across a few genera and families.
There are some plant species that will support a number of different caterpillar (butterfly) species.
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Have you ever seen those strange looking caterpillars with tiny white "spikes" on its back? We have often been asked if caterpillars carry eggs on their back, and this time we decided to ask a butterfly expert for more information. Steve Woodhall, master Lepidopterist, regularly helps us at Random Harvest Indigenous Nursery to answer questions on anything butterfly or caterpillar related. Here is what he said about this strange creature. The white egg-like things on the hairy caterpillar (which is probably a Tricolored Tiger Moth, Rhodogastria amasis) are Braconid wasp cocoons.
Wildlife plays a vital role in securing a healthy environment, whether it’s insects, birds, or mammals. With more humans encroaching on the planet than ever before, it’s so important now to make sure that each one of us does our part to preserve the wildlife in our environment and our communities.
At Random Harvest Indigenous Plant Nursery there are almost as many different kinds of insect and bird pollinators as there are plants.
South African indigenous plants have developed very interesting pollination mechanisms, including buzz pollination. This is to make sure that they are counted amongst our country’s rich biodiversity.
Schlerochiton kirkii is one such plant.
Creating a landscaped garden with locally indigenous plants from the South African Highveld is a great way to garden sustainably. Random Harvest Indigenous Plant Nursery has designed and installed a small Highveld Garden, using plants that we stock.
This garden shows that one can create a beautiful outdoor space in an environmentally sustainable way. By using locally occurring plants, inputs such as pesticides, fertilizer, and excessive water are not necessary.
Creating a colourful, shady indigenous forest garden in your back yard may seem an impossible task.
Most people these days feel that their small outdoor spaces are unsuitable for creating a tree-rich shady haven.
At Random Harvest Indigenous Plant Nursery, Jeffrey and Fritos have transformed a very hot, small courtyard space into a unique indigenous shady garden with astounding attention to detail in their garden design. Not only did they look at the key elements of a forest, but they created the garden with their nursery customers frequently asked questions about gardening in the shade, in mind.
The best way to invite butterflies to your balcony or patio garden is by creating habitat to encourage them to take up residence. Habitat is simply a place where a living creature can meet all of their needs for food, shelter, water and a place to breed. You can provide for all of these needs in an indigenous plant container garden on your balcony, so that you can enjoy beautiful butterflies even in a tiny outdoor space.
Our most recent display garden gives you plenty of ideas on how to attract butterflies to your own beautiful butterfly balcony garden by using indigenous plants. Here are some great tips from Linda De Luca and her team at Random Harvest Indigenous Plant Nursery to create the best “invitations” for butterflies to your container garden.
Standing in the veld grasses, tucked away at the bottom of Random Harvest Indigenous Nursery, it is hard to believe that this was once a dense stand of alien invader trees, Black and Silver Wattle.
All around one the sounds of nature buzz and hum, and on close inspection the diversity of herbaceous Highveld indigenous plants is staggering.
Carol Knoll, former editor of Footprint magazine has captured this diversity beautifully in her article "Restoration of an Indigenous Grassland at Random Harvest Nursery"
After 25 years of restoring a section of disturbed grassland at Random Harvest Indigenous Nursery, I am so excited that Prof. Braam van Wyk will be leading a walk through this beloved part of my farm in October.
I have been fascinated and delighted by how the grassland ecology has increased in complexity since we have restored this piece of land.
Braam’s passion for bringing botany and ecology to the public in an understandable and interesting manner made him my first choice to lead this special walk.
I never cease to be amazed at how children respond to being at Random Harvest Indigenous Nursery. It is as if they rediscover open space and the beauty of nature around them all over again.
I am a firm believer in Nature being a wonderful teacher. In fact, some experts refer to nature as “Vitamin N”- essential for a healthy balanced life. For many children that live in urban areas, Random Harvest Nursery provides a vital dose of this “Vitamin N”. We like to engage the children with their senses, encouraging them to respond to what is around them through touch, smell, hearing and sight.
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