The garden would be a child’s dream this last week, for the butterflies have suddenly arrived and have filled the air with a fluttering of pale lemon. Butterflies and moths to be precise and whilst I imagine the moths are undertaking a very important task in the Circle of Life and I do applaud them for that (quietly), they are not competing well on the wonderment scale. Butterflies conjure memories of small children and the thrill of having that ethereal gossamer -winged beauty land on your finger. The intensity of the colours outlined with the finest of black. Surely a peacock and perhaps some few birds can only compare?
Whereas the moth, in sensible beige, reminds one of holes in woollens, an impending lawn grub invasion and a daily mess to clean up under all the lights. Mr.Moble has a disproportional loathing of moths, he dislikes their mothy fur and is intensely annoyed when they moth around him when reading at night. Personally, I think he slightly overdoes it. I save such loathing for snakes in the house, whereas in those situations, he just pleads with me not to shoot inside (as we mend another hole in the wall). Each to their own, one man’s moth is another woman’s snake.
The butterfly de jour is called a Caper White, Belenois java, with thanks to the Queensland Museum. I have just left you to walk outside to confirm my identification and found one dead in a garden bed. The underside is flecked with gold and the palest of lemon wings have a glimmer of diamonds woven through. Butterflies are truly garden jewels.
They have been busy in and around the Wallflowers here, which have been flowering happily for over a month and will continue on for some time yet. These Wallflowers came from a favourite aunt who gardens in the New England, which proves again how adaptable some plants are. I have seen it growing in Tasmania and in England and still it thrives here in western Queensland. It strikes from cuttings quite readily and it is a good idea to be constant as it will sometimes succumb to humid February heat. The butterfly obviously has an excellent nose for scent as the Wallflower fills the air with wafts of cloves and the purple and brown flowers pick well for a vase. Erysimum is its proper name and its scent is also described as violets so take your pick, either would do me. I have just flicked through a Vita Sackville-West book here to see what she thinks about Wallflowers and it seems nothing at all; luckily the Language of Flowers has come up trumps with fidelity in adversity. I should think it would be handy under any conditions but there you go.
Where it grows here along the creek, it is poised to tumble over a rock wall. Simply writing those words brings me joy, so when it does it will be satisfying indeed. Providing the ducks or dogs don’t snap it off in the meantime, it will complete a picture I have been planning for a while, so fingers crossed I haven’t jinxed it by sharing this with you.
Lavender is also coming into flower here, another bee and butterfly magnet. I wish lavender loved Moble more, for I love it and it reads so well for this climate, even down to enjoying alkaline soil. Once again it seems February is the challenge and I am in full sympathy with it here. Humidity is the last straw and in a couple of days, a flourishing bush will pack up and move on. Constancy is required here as well, I think the trick is to treat it like an annual and keep the cuttings going. Lavender should mean constancy in gardening. My mother had a fabulous English Lavender hedge for many years, Lavandula angustifolia, growing in her red mulga soil. It was a joy to behold however in my pudge it still finds conditions a struggle. I do have lavender planted in pots near the clothesline; I dry our hankies on the bushes, so they smell of sunshine and lavender. Rosemary would be a better choice here, it flourishes, however sadly for me Rosemary is a contentious issue around Moble. Rosemary, Pepperina trees and Coriander: only to be used under the cover of darkness when moths are a distraction.
I see from my butterfly research that my little Caper White may not be the most glamorous of butterflies to flutter by, however they are impressing this gardener. I hope you are enjoying some garden bling as well,
The Moble Gardener.