It seems tourists aren’t the only ones enamoured by the verdant, rolling green hills and wild flowers of New Zealand’s Hobbiton, as the famous set has just been named one of the best spots in the country for butterflies and moths.
As seen in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies, the set sits on a 1250-acre sheep farm in the heart of Waikato, and is a popular destination for film fans and travellers. It has just been awarded a plaque from the Moths and Butterflies of New Zealand Trust (MBNZT) proclaiming it is a great example of butterfly habitat. Butterflies need two types of plants in order to thrive, a nectar source which can feed the adults as they fly around, and nearby hosts on which females can lay eggs. The resulting caterpillars eat the host plants and pupate, leading to more butterflies and moths.
“The type of gardening around Hobbiton would be classified as ‘cottage gardening’. The design is informal using traditional materials and dense, colourful plantings – and as there are many daisy-shaped flowers, the butterflies have plenty of “landing pads” on which to sit while they sip nectar,” Jacqui Knight from The Moths and Butterflies of New Zealand Trust told Lonely Planet.
Since 2009 the MBNZT has been searching the country for examples of good butterfly habitats. Those who apply are not automatically granted certification, and must provide assurances that they host at least three different species and provide other requirements that butterflies and moths need; shelter, maximum sun and a space free from pesticides.
Jacqui also said that the reaction to the news has been extremely positive, and has had the desired outcome – more people are thinking about butterflies. “The MBNZT is deeply concerned that we are seeing less New Zealand species every year, so over the coming years more people should become aware of our beautiful butterflies.”
“We’re thrilled to be recognised as a great habitat for butterflies. The gardens at Hobbiton are such an important part in telling the story of the Shire, and butterflies are an integral part of helping the gardens come to life. Our gardening team have a tremendous respect for the insect and avian pollinators that call Hobbiton their home and we strive to provide them with the best environment in which to thrive,” Lily Craig from Hobbiton told Lonely Planet.
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