Sunday, 7 June 2015

#30DaysWild day 7: Orange Tip Plant

For the last few summers we've delighted in finding Orange Tip caterpillars on the Night-Scented Stock growing in our back garden. So much so, that Bug Mad Girl now calls it Orange Tip plant. It's not listed as one of the foodplants for the caterpillars, which are usually found on Cuckooflower or Hedge Garlic, but they certainly seem to like it!

The Autumn before last we decided to save some seed to plant for the Orange Tips. The plants only flower in their second year, so it's taken a while, but the wait has been worth it as they've been wonderful this year and covered in flowers. The plants smell lovely during the day, but by dusk the air is heavy with their sweet scent and the plants seem to glow in the fading light.

They are brilliant flowers as butterflies love their nectar during the day and moths are attracted to them at night, which in turn attract the bats to the garden.

Male Orange Tip enjoying the nectar from a Night-scented Stock flower
All weekend there've been female Orange Tips fluttering around the flower heads and this morning I watched one laying her eggs on the base of the flower buds that are yet to open. I followed her round and tried to spot her precious eggs that she'd placed so carefully on the plants. How brilliant to see our seeds turn into plants for the Orange Tips to lay their eggs on. I love it when a plan finally comes together!

Female Orange Tip laying an egg

The egg very carefully positioned at the base of a flower bud
There are some plants that everybody should try and grow in their gardens and Orange Tip plant has to be one of those!