True confessions today! There are things happening in our garden every day that I don’t understand!
Our August garden is filled with an abundance of color, form, and texture. Healthy perennials are in full bloom and the herbs have been thriving during our Midwest summer this year. An early morning walk amongst the flowers is the perfect way to begin each day.
While walking through the garden this season, I’ve noticed something interesting in addition to the lovely flora. For the first time, in nearly thirty years of gardening, I’m really noticing the fauna, too! The insects, to be exact. How does this BIG change happen to a seasoned gardener?
According to the Journal of Experimental Botany, “Much scientific research is based upon investigating known unknowns.”
That must be what’s happening to me! There are things in my garden that I know I don’t know much about!
It must be the “Marriage Effect” that has encouraged my curiosity! My husband always walks through our garden each evening when he arrives home. He seems to notice all of the insects everywhere, busily pollinating the flowers. Another influence is our nephew, currently working on his PhD. in Entomology, collecting and studying beetles. When he visits our garden, he observes all kinds of fascinating creatures. What is it about these tiny living things that attract their attention, making them stop, look, touch, and study them with such great fascination?
I must confess, dear friends, that the insects in our garden have always been a mystery to me. I cannot distinguish most of the beneficial insects from the harmful insects! I spend time in the garden each day (wearing garden gloves of course, in case I accidentally touch these creatures!)… and I don’t even know who they are! Of course, I know the common ones ~ mosquitoes, spiders, cicadas, fireflies,… but I didn’t even know the beetles until quite recently!
I have taken action! I have been reading the most fascinating, helpful book!
A new book, by horticulturist Jessica Walliser, has been my frequent gardening companion throughout the growing season. Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden is helping me understand what makes my organic flower and herb gardens insect-friendly, and why this is so very important. This easy-to-read guide has made me aware of so many ways that insects are good for my garden! As I read, there have been so many ‘ah-ha’ moments…
Did you know…
⚛ Only 1 percent of the insects we encounter are harmful.
⚛ Each insect has a purpose in the garden: pollinator, predator, decomposer, or food for the other creatures in the food chain.
⚛ It’s important to select, place, and care for a variety of plants that will invite beneficial insects into the garden to control the harmful pests.
Author Jessica Walliser explains, in her own words…
I’ve learned why it is necessary to…
⚛ Take myself out of the predator-prey cycle in my garden.
⚛ Create a diverse, pesticide-free environment for beneficial insects. Fortunately, our garden has always been pesticide-free. Now I understand just how important that is! Systemic pesticides contaminate the nectar, killing many insects. When the beneficial insects are wiped out, the pests will have no enemies in the garden!
⚛ Have some pests in the garden. Fewer pests in the garden means fewer beneficial insects.
⚛ Create a garden with a diversity of plants so that beneficial ‘commuters’ will stay in our garden. The farther they must travel to find food, shelter, and water, the less likely they are to return to our garden.
The more I learn about the insects in our garden,… the more I want to learn!
I’ve ‘met’ a few of the Beetles this summer. Our garden is teeming with them! Many are beneficials in the garden. One exotic species, imported from another continent, poses a real problem in the garden since it has very few predators here. So gardeners have to step in to control this pest.
I know that I will reread Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden again and again, soaking up all of the useful plant profiles, beneficial bug profiles, and tips for battling harmful pests with helpful plant partnerships. Fortunately, our garden is healthy with a wide diversity of plants that help encourage the predator-prey insect cycle. As I add new perennials to the garden beds, I will strive to plant those that attract even more beneficial insects to our garden.
It feels so good to learn about these tiny creatures that travel from plant to plant! There is an important new item in my garden basket this summer…
It’s handy to have a magnifying glass nearby, just in case I want to take a closer look at the tiny creatures in the garden. I’m quite curious now… However, I’ll still be wearing garden gloves, just in case I happen to touch one of these interesting insects!
It’s always lovely to welcome friends to our garden. Thanks for stopping to visit today!
P.S. What is your “known unknown”… something that you know that you don’t know much about, but would like to learn?