How to Attract Butterflies

How to Attract Butterflies

Butterflies not only add colours and beauty to your garden, but they can also help in pollinating your plants. However, attracting butterflies can be a little tricky – it’s not as simple as just putting some greeneries around, but it’s attainable nevertheless. Follow these five tips and have butterflies roaming around your garden in no time:

  1. Avoid Pesticides.

A lot of pesticides, even the organic ones, could be toxic to butterflies and other pollinating insects. Try to use the safest, least intrusive pest control that you can get access to.

 

  1. Use Native Plants.

Plants and pollinators have co-evolved throughout the time, depending on each other to survive in the conditions of your geographic area. Using local, native plants will help your garden thrive longer and keep butterflies around.

 

  1. Bright-Colored Flowers Attract Bright-Colored Butterflies.

Because butterflies see on the UV spectrum, they tend to prefer bright-colored flowers, such as red, yellow, orange, white and hot pink. Flowers also act as nectar sources for butterflies to feed on, helping them grow and stay alive.

 

  1. Keep Nectar and Pollen Sources Available All Year Round.

Following the previous point, it is important to ensure the availability of nectar and pollen sources all year round if you want the butterflies to keep coming. Diverse plants with different blooming periods of the year will enable you to do this – when one stops blooming, another will start.

 

  1. Create Conducive Environment for Butterflies to Grow.

Ensure that your garden (and nectar sources) has enough sun exposure – butterflies feed, rest and warm their wings in the sun. Don’t forget to prepare flat stones or chairs in the sun-exposed area for butterflies to rest on as well. Finally, butterflies love puddling or hanging out in wet sand/mud to drink and extract minerals. You can create a puddling space by mixing some coarse sand with water in a shallow pan and placing it on the ground.

How Do We Keep Gardening in the Face of a Changing Climate?

How Do We Keep Gardening in the Face of a Changing Climate?

Andrew Lowe, University of Adelaide

Since 1880, the average global temperature has increased by 0.8°℃, with large changes in rainfall redistribution. With these changing conditions upon us, and set to continue, gardeners will have to alter the way they do things. The Conversation

As climate largely determines the distribution of plants and animals – their “climate envelope” – a rapid shift in these conditions forces wild plants and animals to adapt, migrate or die.

Gardeners face the same changing conditions. If you look at the back of a seed packet, there is often a map showing the regions where these particular plants thrive. But with a rapidly changing climate, these regions are shifting.

In the future we will need to be more thoughtful about what we plant where. This will require more dynamic information and recommendations for gardeners.

The shifting climate

Changes in altitude significantly affect the temperature. As you walk up a hill, for every 100 metres of altitude you gain, the temperature drops by an average of 0.8℃.

Changes in latitude obviously have a bearing on the temperature too. It gets cooler as you move towards the poles and away from the Equator. An accurate rule of thumb is difficult to derive, because of the number of interacting and confounding factors. But generally speaking, a shift of 300 km north or south at sea level equates to roughly a 1℃ reduction in average temperature.

This means that due to warming over the past century or so, Adelaide now experiences the climate previously found in Port Pirie, whereas Sydney’s climate is now roughly what was previously found halfway to Coffs Harbour. The temperature difference is equivalent to a northward shift of approximately 250 km or drop in altitude of 100 m.

At current climate change trajectories, these shifts are set to continue and accelerate.

Adaptation

Plants are already adapting to the changing climate. We can see that in the hopbush narrowing its leaves and other plants closing their pores. Both are adaptations to warmer, drier climates.

We have also seen some major shifts in the distribution of animal and plant communities over the past 50 years. Some of the most responsive species are small mobile insects like butterflies, but we have also seen changes among plants.

But while entire populations may be migrating or adapting, plants that grow in isolated conditions, such as fragmented bush remnants or even gardens, may not have this option. This problem is perhaps most acute for long-lived species like trees, many of which germinated hundreds of years ago under different climatic conditions. The climate conditions to which these old plants were best adapted have now changed significantly – a “climate lag”.

Using such old trees as a source of seed to grow new plants in the local area can potentially risk establishing maladapted plants. But it’s not just established varieties that run this risk.

The habitat restoration industry has recognised this problem. Many organisations involved in habitat restoration have changed their seed-sourcing policies to mix seeds collected from local sources with those from more distant places. This introduces new adaptations to help cope with current and future conditions, through practices known as composite or climate-adjusted provenancing.

The shifting climate and your garden

Gardeners can typically ameliorate some of the more extreme influences of global warming. They can, for example, provide extra water or shade on extremely hot days. Such strategies can allow plants to thrive in gardens well outside their natural climatic envelope, and have been practised by gardeners around the world for centuries.

But with water bills rising and the need to become more sustainable, we should think more carefully about the seeds and seedlings we plant in our gardens. The climate envelope we mentioned earlier is shifting rapidly.

We will need to start using seeds that are better adapted to cope with warmer and, in many cases, drier conditions. Typically, these plants have thinner leaves or fewer pores. This requires more information on the location and properties of the seeds’ origin, and a more detailed matching of diverse seed sources to planting location.

As the climate changes, we need to be more selective with what we plant.

As the climate continues to change we will also need to introduce species not previously grown in areas, using those that are better adapted to the increasingly changed climatic conditions.
Plenty of tools are now available to help guide seed collection and species selection for planting. These include those offered through the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility and the Atlas for Living Australia, for instance.

But these resources are often aimed at expert or scientific audiences and need to be made more accessible for guiding gardening principles and plant selection for the public. The information needs to be intuitive and easy to understand. For example, we should produce lists of species that are likely to decline or benefit under future climate conditions in Australia’s major cities and towns, along with future growing areas suitable for some of our most popular garden species.

This won’t just be useful for a backyard gardener, either. Many exciting new gardening initiatives are being proposed, including rooftop gardens, which promote species conservation, carbon sequestration and heat conservation, and future city designs, which incorporate large-scale plantings and gardens for therapeutic benefits. All of these activities need to take the shifting climate into account, as well as the need to change practices to keep up with it.

 

Andrew Lowe, Professor of Plant Conservation Biology, University of Adelaide

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Garden Animals: Which Ones Are Good for Your Plants?

Garden Animals: Which Ones Are Good for Your Plants?

Gardens naturally attract more animals, but how do you differentiate between those who are great for your plants and those who are just pests? Here’s a quick and simple guide.

There are two types of garden animals that can help your garden thrive: pollinators and predators. Attracting pollinators is good for your garden, as they encourage biodiversity and help your plants produce fruits or nuts. Pollinating animals include bees, flies, beetles, butterflies, wasps, mosquitoes, ants and moths.

On the other hand, predators can eat and eliminate pests. Garden predators such as praying mantis, ladybugs, lacewings and minute pirate bugs will consume pests like aphids, mites, mealybugs, grasshoppers and leaf hoppers.

Some animals, such as birds and bats, are both pollinators and predators.

You can attract these useful animals by having certain plants in your garden, such as coriander, dill, daisy, mint, rosemary and more – or simply by ordering predatory insects online.

By keeping these beneficial garden animals, you can opt out of using pesticides and other chemical products in your garden; however, keep in mind that they take longer in making an impact to your plants’ wellbeing.

How to Make Your Own Succulents Terrarium

How to Make Your Own Succulents Terrarium

Succulent terrariums are not only beautiful, but they also fit well in your work desk. You can also put more than one kind in the same container – it’s like a garden in a pot! But if you’re worried about the possibility of accidentally killing them, you’ve come to the right place. Succulent terrariums are pretty easy to make and maintain – the key is to know the secrets. Here’s some information to get you started.

Making your own succulent terrariums

Following this guide, you will need the following things:

  • Containers (could be anything – a simple pot, a mason jar, or even a tin)
  • Small pebble rocks
  • Activated charcoal
  • Sphagnum moss
  • Soil
  • Succulents of your choice (e.g. cacti, Crassulaceae)

Put the materials into the containers in the following order: pebbles, charcoal, moss and soil. Then, plant your succulents. That’s it! You can also add rocks or marbles for decoration.

Maintaining your succulent terrariums

For the first week, hold your desire to overwater the succulents – just dampening the soil is enough. If the plant looks plump and healthy, you can hold off watering until the next week. If the leaves look shriveled and unhealthy, try watering deeper rather than more. For succulents, using spray bottle to water might be better to ensure the moderate amount of hydration.

While succulents can be kept indoors, they still require a lot of bright lights. If you put the terrarium outdoors, move it to a more shaded place as prolonged exposure to direct sunlight is bad for succulents’ well-being. Do not put succulents in direct sunlight for more than four hours at a time.

 

That’s your 101 guide to succulents terrarium. Will you try this soon?

Top Vegetarian Restaurants in Sydney (2017)

Top Vegetarian Restaurants in Sydney (2017)

Looking for a place to eat can be quite a journey for hungry vegans and vegetarians. With very little vegetarian items on the menu, it can be quite hard when the options are so limiting. Thankfully, we’ve hunted down a handful of delicious Sydney restaurants who cater to all ethical vegheads.

Yellow, 57 Macleay Street, Potts Point, 02 9332 2344, yellowsydney.com.au
If you’re after an all-vegetarian bistro, Yellow has a vegetarian OR vegan tasting menu focused on delivering contemporary meals created with locally grown produce. Located inside the Yellow Building in Potts Point, they do brunch and dinners.  Try their fermented pumpkin with persimmon and blood plum sorbet! Yum!

Source: Yellow Sydney

 

Two Chaps, 122 Chapel Street, Marrickville, 02 9572 8858, twochaps.com.au
Combining creativity and freshness, Two Chaps marries the contemporary nature of their dishes with a more ethical mindset with all respect to food production and food consumption. Their “ever-changing” produce menu reflects this philosophy by engaging with the community and using locally home grown ingredients. Expect your bread and handmade pastas to be crafted using organic Australian flour.

Source: Two Chaps

Loving Hut, Shop 6, 18-20 Greenfield Parade, Bankstown, 02 9709 4396; also locations in Cabramatta and Canley Heights, lovinghut.com/au.
For new transitioning vegans living off fake meat, you might appreciate an Asian-vegetarian vegan chain like Loving Hut. Their most popular options are their Viet-Style “Chicken” Salad, vegetarian pho noodle soups and sweet and sour “fish”.

Source: Chicago Mag

Soul Burger, 49 Perouse Road, Randwick, 02 9398 7496, soulburger.com.au
Burgers are not what usually comes to mind when you think of vegetarian food. They can be just as filling. Soul Burger is known for curating wholesome, delicious, plant-based burgers. Dig your chompers into their mint falafel burger, thick herbed fries and coconut oil shakes.

Source: Soul Burger

Best Books for Gardening Enthusiasts

Best Books for Gardening Enthusiasts

Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned gardener, reading more books can help grow your skills (and plants, too). Here are the best five books for gardening fans to read…

 

A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants by Royal Horticultural Society (edited by Christopher Brickell)

In its fourth edition, the RHS encyclopedia continues to be the most reliable book for garden reference. The book features over 6,000 photographs and artworks, an introduction to various plants and flowers’ types and problems, as well as detailed growing advice for every plant.

 

Your Backyard Herb Garden by Miranda Smith

If you’re interested in organic gardening, this book is a good starting point. The book provides comprehensive information on the most popular herbs, including how to grow, care, harvest and use them.

 

Gardenista: The Definitive Guide to Stylish Outdoor Spaces by Michelle Slatalla

Containing pictures of 12 lushy gardens, planting guides based on climates and color palettes, design ideas and DIY projects, Gardenista will provide you with motivation and guidance to work on your landscapes.

 

Vertical Gardening by Derek Fell

Limited space should not limit your gardening activities – that’s what the author argues in this book. With tips on growing varieties of vegetables, flowers, and fruits in space-saving vertical gardens, you will gain a new perspective.

 

Sabrina’s Dirty Deeds by Sabrina Hahn

Renowned Australian gardening expert Sabrina Hahn gives an in-depth guide to grow plants all year rounds, complete with information on chores for different climate zones.

 

Which one will you pick up at the bookstore this week?

Event: Ghostly Garden, Sydney

Event: Ghostly Garden, Sydney

Enjoy Sydney’s famous, lush garden on a tour with a spooky twist.

The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney presents Ghostly Garden, an after-hour tour around the oldest botanic garden in Australia. Featuring eerie stories of the Garden’s past along the shadowy tree-lined paths and gloomy ponds, it will be an experience to remember.

The tour will be run on Fridays, May 12 and May 26. It is advised to wear enclosed shoes and bring your own torch.

Tickets start at $35. For more information, visit the event’s Eventbrite page.

May 12 & 26 | Woollomooloo Gate, Royal Botanic Garden Sydney

All the Gardening Tips You Need in 8 Infographics

All the Gardening Tips You Need in 8 Infographics

For beginners, learning how to garden could be challenging. There seems to be thousands of tips and tricks for every plant, which can make it overwhelming to learn all at once. However, do not fret – reading these eight infographics could help you build your base knowledge and start gardening successfully.

  1. Start by learning how to create the most eco-friendly garden.
Source: Capital Garden Services

 

  1. You can start gardening even without seeds – here’s how.
Source: Whole Foods / Cooking Market

 

  1. What’s the deal with fertilizers, and do plants really need them?
Source: Fix.com

 

  1. Make your own compost – not only can it recycle your waste, but it will also make your plants healthy!
Source: Craftsy

 

  1. These are the things to take note to ensure your indoor herbs grow well.
Source: PaleoHacks

 

  1. Done with your indoor herbs? Let’s focus on your outdoors now.
Source: Mercola

 

  1. Get to know the best places to keep your houseplants alive.

 

  1. Is something wrong with your plant? Find out what it means in this picture.
Source: Safer

Best Herbs to Grow in Your Garden

Best Herbs to Grow in Your Garden

Growing herbs in your garden is the best way to ensure the freshness of the produce. What are the best, most popular herbs that you can plant yourself? Here are a few of them…

Basil

With fresh aroma and spicy flavour, basil is one of the most versatile herbs for any kitchen conundrums. For optimum growth, sow basil seeds in a sunny spot with moist, well-drained soil.

 

Rosemary

The sharp-wafted rosemary not only adds freshness to your savory dishes, but they can also repel mosquitoes. Full-sun spot and frequent watering should help your rosemary grow optimally.

 

Chives

Chives are a great addition to a lot of dishes, thanks to its light, onion-y flavour. They can be grown indoors or with partial shades.

 

Sage

Sage is a great seasoning to ‘heavy’ food like sausages, omelettes and red meats. It requires sufficient sunlight and well-drained, slightly acidic soil.

 

Thyme

Other than seasoning main meals, thyme can also be added in tea. Grow thyme in a sunlight-rich spot.

 

Coriander/Cilantro

The unique, distinct taste of coriander makes it perfect for soups and biryani. Coriander only takes three to four weeks to harvest – maintain its growth by keeping it in full sun and deep soil.

6 Best Bathroom Plants

6 Best Bathroom Plants

Limited sunlight, high humidity, generally moist environment – bathrooms do not sound like a good place to keep plants in. However, some plants actually thrive really well in this condition. These are six plants that will survive, thrive and beautify your bathrooms…

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is not only useful – you can use the gel for cuts and burns treatment, moisturiser, hair conditioner and more – but it also can live just by dampness, as it requires little water.

 

Cast Iron Plant

Source: Nino Barbieri (CC BY-SA)

Cast iron plant grows just fine with low light, and it can withstand irregular watering too.

 

Ferns

Ferns naturally grow in forests with filtered light and high humidity – but this environment can simply be recreated in your bathroom, too.

 

Orchid

These flowers thrive well in damp, but not wet environment. Place it by the window for optimum growth.

 

Peperomia

Source: Jerzy Opioła

With various colours and shapes as well as a dislike for direct sunlight, peperomia can make your bath time more cheerful.

 

Spider Plant

The long-leafed spider plant can remove toxins like carbon monoxide from the air, and it requires low light and water to live.