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Bringing in butterflies

WE are a class of Prep children (age 5 and 6) from Brooklyn Primary school in Burnie on the North West Coast of Tasmania. We are currently very interested in building a butterfly garden and wondered if you had any information that could help us?

We'd like to put a shallow pond in it so the butterflies could have some water. Also, do you have a recipe for hypertufa pots. We saw one in your magazine and thought it looked great. Do you think frogs would live in it ? Could you tell us what peat is please?


HAVING butterflies in the garden seems to make everything extra special. Butterflies will come into a garden when there's plenty of food available for them. Butterflies need plants that have a good supply of nectar, such as flowers that are tubular or pea-like, or plants whose flowers have open petals, like jasmine.

Plants to have in your garden are Buddleia davidii, candytuft, folgen rod, lavender, lilac, michaelmas daisies, honeysuckle, pinks (or dianthus), and thyme. Plant lots of each plant, rather than just one or two. If you have a large buddleia tree these can get smothered in Monarch butterflies during the summer time. This is where its name "Butterfly bush" comes from.

To make hypertufa pots (and yes, frogs should live in a large pot just fine), you need to mix two parts of peat with one part of cement and part of sand. Mix together in a large container, adding just enough water to make a dough that's about the same consistency as cake mix. Then pour the hypertufa into moulds - you can use buckets, large plastic containers, or even a big cardboard box. Use a smaller container in the middle to create space for planting or for water.

When you've finished making your pots, leave them in a warm, dry place for a few days, until they are hard. Don't be impatient - it's important not to try to remove them from the moulds until they are completely dry.

Peat is a natural moss-like planting material available from most garden centres in bags or bricks.

Weekend Gardener, Issue 127, 2003, Page 27

Reproduced with permission from the former Weekend Gardener magazine. The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH.

Andrew Maloy Weekend Gardener

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