It’s National Pollinator Week. I say “thank you” pollinators. Thank you for this lovely pea pod that will share the nutrients from a seed, blossomed in our soil, wonderfully transformed by sunshine to my body, giving me energy for another day.
I used to think that an urban garden has many challenges.
Now I understand the amazing gift that urban gardens offer, glorious discoveries and simple as well as dramatic, fleeting beauty within the masses of concrete, buildings and asphalt. I believe that these various shades and types of green spaces “re-mind” us that “urban” is still, completely dependent on the “nature” we live in and often ignore in the busy-ness of our lives.
And so back to the pollinator; insects, yes, pollinators are insects and bugs! They “connect the dots” between plant flowers and food: native bees, honey bees, bumblebees, wasps, moths and even flies. These tiny creatures fertilize every bloom (well, OK, nearly 90%) that create a “fruit” or food by sharing pollen from one flower’s anther to another flower’s stigma, almost by accident, well by evolution really, as they harvest each flower’s pollen and nectar for themselves!
I see this as a most magical form of mutualism, where two entities benefit from a single action. Millions of berries, grasses and every vegetable are born from their pollination. These seeds and the fleshy parts around them that we love are the result of and completely dependent on our ability to tolerate and welcome the other life aspects of these critical creatures. Yes they make homes in places where we don’t want them, e.g. wasp nests under our eaves, bee hives in the ground. Yes they defend themselves,bite, when startled or disturbed. Don’t we do the same? And goodness gracious, “A study published on April 15 in the journal Frontiers in Forests and Global Change presents evidence that only about three percent of Earth’s land ecosystems remain untouched by human activity.” This doesn’t leave much intact ecosystems for the other 99% of our ecological world to function, let alone places for all of the necessary bugs/insects/pollinators to live. Remember when they used to cover our car windshields on road trips?
There are so many glorious and crazy-simple ways to support these insects/pollinators/bugs. You can (1) mow your grass less often to allow blooms of every sort. You can (2) decide to share your plants and flowers with these insects (picture holes in your plant’s leaves). Stop using all of the toxic chemicals that kill them. These insects need to eat too in order to feed not only us but also all of the songbirds we love as well! You can (3) plant native plants from nurseries that grow them from seed. Begin to experiment with the multitude of different native plant aesthetics that support a multitude of life.
During this National Pollinator week, let us be reminded to create our urban gardens with glorious diversity. Let us be inspired to be generous and creative to insects -yes, insects and bugs! Let us be inspired as we make our next daily decisions on how to live with and not in spite of our perceived inconveniences of the nature around us. Let us be inspired as we reconnect to the nature that supports our families’ lives here on earth.