susan

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  • in reply to: Anyone got Buddleia auriculata? #53814

    susan
    Participant

    Hi Stefan,

    I bought some ‘Buddleia auriculata’ off Trademe from Spikey a couple of years ago. Turned out to be the salvifolia that is flowering so abundantly right now, so there is some confusion between the two.The butterflies love it. I would love to have the auriculata as well, which when you read about it has shiny leaves and flowers over Winter and into Spring. I don’t know if it is in NZ, but when you check the MPI list of seeds allowed to be imported into NZ, it is there. I asked some of my South African seed contacts and they are going to look out for it. If I could get seeds I certainly would grow it:)

    Susan (Hibiscus Coast)

    in reply to: Protecting Admiral Caterpillars? #51459

    susan
    Participant

    Hi Jacqui,

    Yes, you’re right about it being a matter of doing what you can, and accepting that there are limitations on time and other resources.
    It is such a rewarding and positive experience to be able to come home on a sunny day and release a number of yellow Admiral butterflies from the caterpillar castle:) We’re out and about on the coast with our mowing/gardening work most days, and we often notice Admirals, so there are certainly others out there doing their bit.
    Certification is some way off – will have to be more semi-retired for a start!

    Susan

    in reply to: Yellow Admirals #50524

    susan
    Participant

    Yes Wendy. Visits from at least 2 egg laying females (both observed together a couple of times) for the last week. Have just transferred 3 older caterpillars into the castle, so visits have been ongoing but not not necessarily noticed. Last collected 3 dozen caterpillars for the castle in Feb/March and all were happily released:) Noticing that there is very often a German wasp in the nettles searching for caterpillars so will have to try and zap it! We’re out and about on the Hibiscus Coast with our daily work, and I frequently see Yellow Admirals – I’d love to see a Red Admiral.

    in reply to: Admiral eggs #49163

    susan
    Participant

    Hi Carol,

    It may be possible for someone to send you some admiral caterpillars. A couple of years back I received some by overnight courier and they were perfectly ok. Even when I manage to see an admiral laying eggs, I can’t see the eggs! I’ve got a dozen admiral pupa in the butterfly castle at the moment, but no fresh tents on the nettles as yet. I’ll keep you in mind if I get an influx.

    Susan (Hibiscus Coast)

    in reply to: WASP and Yellow Admiral #48897

    susan
    Participant

    Thanks Barry for sharing these photos – very sobering. I successfully raised about a dozen admirals earlier this year for the first time in the caterpillar castle, and hoped that the ones left on the nettles in the garden might be successful as well. Maybe there is very little hope that that was the case???

    Susan (Hibiscus Coast)

    in reply to: Saving our buddleias #47840

    susan
    Participant

    I was just wondering if all buddleias are affected equally by the weevil. This is my first summer growing them. Of the 3 types I have the sungold is the only one affected so far. It is covered in the little beasties, but a purple/blue flowered one with silvery leaves which is within touching distance of the sungold is not affected (yet). A ‘rainbow’ Buddleia a bit further away is similarly unaffected. I’m thinking about a cleanup prune and spray, but the time for this is not yet as there are still flowers remaining for the butterflies.

    Susan (Hibiscus Coast)

    in reply to: Too many Admiral pillars – Whangarei / Auckland #46858

    susan
    Participant

    Hi Sally,

    I’m in Stanmore Bay, Whangaparaoa, so not far off the main route. It is also possible that as we work around Orewa and Silverdale at times that we could meet up on Monday. We have lots of nettles. Have just released the last of a dozen butterflies that were the result of a passing admiral. Let us know if we can help.

    Susan (Hibiscus Coast)

    in reply to: Auckland's Pest Management Strategy #45690

    susan
    Participant

    I would like to think that gorse has its place as long as it is contained. It is great at enriching soils in difficult terrains through its nitrogen fixing ability and providing a nursery type situation for other more desirable plants to be planted in. All kinds of critters make it their home even though it is introduced.
    Same goes for Urtica dioica. It provides a fabulous amount of foliage for our admirals, but certainly needs to be grown with care.

    Susan (Hibiscus Coast)

    in reply to: Free Urtica urens starter plants to give away #45256

    susan
    Participant

    Hi Rebecca,

    Where abouts are you?

    How lovely seeing a Red admiral:) Your swampy, shady spot sounds like an ideal nettle growing spot. I guess the main things I’d be thinking about are: will it matter if the nettles spread, and what types could be planted? Will the area need to be fenced off in some way from pets and kids?

    I’ve got a mix of different nettles in a sizeable patch to attract the butterflies, and to give them a choice where to lay their eggs. From observation some of the nettles produce more fodder for voracious caterpillars than others, and at different times of the year. U. dioica the introduced spreading perennial is great for feeding lots of hungry caterpillars but does have its reputation to contend with. The native Urtica australis has huge leaves compared with another native U. incisa. Seeds are available for these through the Shop, plus I have some U.incisa plants that would be free to a good home (as well as the above dioica).

    Yesterday I planted out some Buddleias, to further ensure that any visiting admirals stick around for awhile.

    Please feel free to ask any questions – after all we’re all learning.

    Susan:)

    Ps: I’ve noticed a dismaying number of paper wasps around, too.

    in reply to: Free Urtica urens starter plants to give away #45122

    susan
    Participant

    Thanks Jacqui, one thing that is clear, is that it is difficult to find clear info:) The offer still stands for anyone interested.

    Susan

    in reply to: Free Urtica urens starter plants to give away #45116

    susan
    Participant

    Thanks for your reply Terry. It’s good to have that info on dioica vs urens. I was keen to have it myself, as it will provide a reliable amount of food for any caterpillars that might eventuate – I was fortunate in that someone from the forum sent me some plants last summer.

    You’re right about needing to plant it in a responsible way. Planters are certainly the way to go as they are movable and you don’t need to worry about escapees – I will be able to be a bit more relaxed with my dioica in pots/baskets, but my garden patch will need more monitoring.

    I would still be happy to send out plants to members who would like to set up a nettle garden, but have found it difficult to find clear info on the regulations surrounding dioica. If anyone having info about the different council regulations could share this, I’m sure it would be helpful:)

    Susan

    in reply to: Free Urtica urens starter plants to give away #45110

    susan
    Participant

    Yes, definitely U. dioica – the long tooth on the end of a leaf gives it away. Also over the last week the plants in the tray and baskets have really taken off. This seems to be more in line with dioica’s rampant ability to go forth and invade.

    Sorry folks, no give aways after all.

    If anyone has Urtica urens seeds I would be interested. It would be great to have it in a mix of nettles for the Admirals.

    Thanks again Terry for helping avoid an embarrassing mistake.

    Susan

    in reply to: Free Urtica urens starter plants to give away #45109

    susan
    Participant

    Thanks Terry. Oh dear, I had just presumed that the seeds sown were those of Urtica urens as the source of them appears to be experienced in matters of nettles and admirals:/ I will be able to make a direct comparison with my patch of establishing Urtica dioica down in the bottom garden. If I have any doubts I’ll post a better photo. I certainly don’t want to be sending out U. dioica as it’s quite a different proposition compared to the more controllable annual version. More soon.

    Susan

    in reply to: Buddleia #44094

    susan
    Participant

    Hi Dane,

    Spikey23 on Trademe also has Buddleia cuttings for sale. I have personally bought a number of them recently, and now have lovely plants ready for planting out next Spring – she is a lovely person to deal with who loves her plants.

    And by the way, congratulations on your efforts so far, both at home and at your workplace – so inspiring seeing the photos. Looking forward to seeing future developments:)

    Susan (Hibiscus Coast)

    in reply to: Blue Moon butterfly sighted #43575

    susan
    Participant

    Hi Clinton,

    Definitely a Blue Moon butterfly. Last year at this time I was very new to things butterfly and didn’t realise you could get these more unusual ones under special circumstances. At that time I’d never seen an actual yellow admiral butterfly. I was thrilled to see a yellow admiral a few weeks ago, as my nettle gardens are there and ready now for such visits. I now realise there is certainly a world of difference between an admiral and a blue moon:)

    It’s a much duller day here at the moment. I’ll go out later and see if the blue moon is still hanging around, and maybe get a photo. Yesterday he was 3m up in the tree so not the easiest of shots.

    Happy butterfly hunting!

    Susan (Whangaparaoa)

    in reply to: Blue Moon butterfly sighted #43561

    susan
    Participant

    I was out in the garden when a Blue Moon butterfly whooshed past me and headed down to one of our loquat trees. This is the same tree on which we observed a female blue moon, a year ago on Easter Sunday. This one today is definitely a male, in pristine condition. He was really getting stuck into the nectar. It’s a pity the loquat is becoming so maligned- their flowers are a real magnet for the Monarchs, bees and butterflies. We wouldn’t be without ours, but do have to be vigilant in pulling out their fast growing seedlings.

    Susan (Hibiscus Coast)

    in reply to: Identifying different kind of wasp #42211

    susan
    Participant

    Thanks Norm, that’s the one – no wonder I had no luck with ‘wasp’ in my search line! They’re fascinating – I’m relieved that they are not another baddie to be concerned about. One of the sites I googled had a great shot of the ‘curtain’ they make in the entry to the nest. The site mentioned that they are solitary, so I wonder if there has been a nest in the vicinity of the bottlebrush. At least 4 were flying in and around the bush, in a particularly hot spell this morning.

    in reply to: Identifying different kind of wasp #42198

    susan
    Participant

    The photo is now available to see. I’ve tried a number of searches but don’t have a match yet.

    in reply to: Identifying different kind of wasp #42178

    susan
    Participant

    I’ve just looked at a photo I took – the banding on the abdomen looks to be orange-black-orange, with the rest of the body being black. I’ll try and send the photo in tomorrow – it needs to be doctored a bit.

    in reply to: Flies eating caterpillar eggs? #41383

    susan
    Participant

    Apologies for the delay in getting back to this.

    The flies are blue/green bottles enjoying the chicken’s molasses based food second hand. They appear to be innocently resting on the swan plant. I’m glad they’re not robber flies (very fearsome looking predators), otherwise the caterpillars and butterflies wouldn’t stand a chance. While I was observing the flies’ antics the real villain came along – a large, very aggressive stripey paper wasp. It flew off into the neighbour’s, but will no doubt be back to remove all life from this plant. I occasionally get lucky and bring one down with some disinfectant spray, and then apply the jandal treatment:) So much for the “negligible” presence.

    Back to getting the caterpillar castle going. I’m hoping to re-release any caterpillars when they’re at least 15mm. Last summer after New Year we had no successful caterpillars making it through to the butterfly stage, and as a consequence there were none to tag in autumn. I don’t want a repeat of this.

    Susan

    in reply to: Narrow screen #41381

    susan
    Participant

    My husband has sorted this out. I need to invest in some reading glasses, and be careful what I click on in the future.

    Susan:/

    in reply to: Swan plants free, Whangaparaoa #41201

    susan
    Participant

    It’s been pretty slow here in Stanmore Bay as well. It was great seeing a beautiful female busily laying eggs a few days back, but before then there had only been a handful of early season caterpillars. We also have food galore, and lots of swan plants seedlings. I’m thinking that I’ll let them grow, and then cut them to go in a vase in my new caterpillar castle (the Christmas present I’m not supposed to know about!). Although paper wasp numbers seem to be very low up to now, I would like to make every caterpillar count as much as possible.I recall there being someone from Gulf Harbour School who was creating a butterfly garden – even though it’s the end of the school year they may be interested in your excess plants. Anyway, I’m sure it’ll only be a matter of days before some butterflies find your food bonanza – perhaps these gales will help blow some your way:)

    in reply to: Caterpillar black body with yellow circles #41127

    susan
    Participant

    Hi Raumati Ron,

    I have also noticed caterpillars with different variations on the colour theme. I had thought it might be something to do with their appearance after a moult. If you put ‘Unusual monarch caterpillar’ into the search line, there are some responses to this – there is one by Darren that has a link, which suggests some reasons for what you’re seeing.

    Susan (Hibiscus Coast)

    in reply to: Update on Large White Butterfly #41116

    susan
    Participant

    This is a really readable report, and the efforts this dedicated team are going to are impressive – I particularly like their ‘lure’ idea, and how they’re getting schools on board in the target area. Success up to now and for the future is very much deserved.

    in reply to: Urtica crosses between ferox and incisa? #41109

    susan
    Participant

    I’m sure it will be very evident if a ferox is involved in any crosses, but perhaps this is a not so desirable outcome regarding handling issues.

    I’m looking at next summer for raising some admirals, when food supplies should be greater. That’s if nature doesn’t decide otherwise – I spotted 2 yellow admirals earlier in the season, they must have sniffed out the nettles, which were still tucked away in the greenhouse at that stage:)

Viewing 25 replies - 1 through 25 (of 41 total)