Birds and Bees and Bugs, Oh My!
Written by: Sumati Shah
My garden is my wilding place. The food is a bounty, but so are all the bugs, birds and mammals that pass through. Bunnies – I have a regular visitor every summer so at this point I think it’s generational residents.
It’s a delight to watch which plants attract which insects, observing the changes as seasons, plants and weather all ebb and flow through natural cycles.
This time of the summer…the lazy days smack in the middle…I’m seeing a myriad of pollinators and other wildlife loving all the plants and flowers as much as I do…if not more.
The butterflies love the open flowers. By that I’m referring to the flower shape – big and open just like the happy mood they beam out!
Rudbeckia x ‘herbstsonne’ has a green cone centre like the Echinacea sp growing nearby. Butterflies pause on the flowers for nice long feeds and sometimes just to rest. The cone shape the flower disc gives them easy leverage.
The Aruncus (Goatsbeard) finished flowering a few weeks ago but it its a MECCA for all the pollinators! I like to think they all visit early (and often – there’s a low hum around that plant when it’s in flower) and then come back later to pollinate my food crops:)
There are damsel flies and dragon flies throughout the day and I’m so happy seeing them make evening rounds and even watching them hunt (cheering them on as they feed on mosquitos and noseeums)
The more that I watch, the more I learn. Like this: don’t plant Greek oregano near your garden path because when it’s flowering it’s FILLED with bees and also wasps, whom I try not to bump into accidentally! HA! I’ll be doing some early morning oregano pruning soon!
Love your Bugs! They’re creepy and crawly and some sting or bite (if you’re not paying attention) or just plain give you the heebie jeebies!
BUT…the Bees (enough said – I think we all know they’re needed!) The hoverflies also eat other small flies, and are very busy pollinators. Dragonflies and birds get busy taking care of beetles, flies and ants. And the rabbits (let’s not forget the bunnies) like the old chicory’s giant leaves, the lamb’s quarters that’s always growing somewhere in the beds.
And the seeds from my Coreopsis (tick seed)! It’s no coincidence that the yellow finches are happy to bob and balance on those small stems…they’re camouflaged! All these creatures contribute in their way to the health of my garden…and in turn my own health through nourishing my body with the harvests, and my soul through the time spent tending them.
Rule of Green Thumbs: Planting for seasonal flowers isn’t just ornamental – it creates a feeding stop throughout the seasons for wildlife and pollinators to visit and feed from in your garden. Leave some flowers to go to seed (don’t dead head everything) the birds will thank you for it!
Go Go Green Thumbs!