That sounds much dirtier than I planned it 😉 But what I meant is that in our attempt to create a garden that is not only beautiful but also a quality habitat for birds, bees and butterflies we have been adding a lot of plants that are native to the Midwest.
Not only are these plants better for our wildlife, they perform better in our environment, with our weather, in our soil conditions.
This past weekend, my partner, dear friends and I ventured to Dayton, OH for a native plant sale that was part of the 2014 Midwest Native Plant Conference. The conference and sale took place on the grounds of The Marianist Environmental Education Center at The Mount St. John Nature Preserve. It was lovely to walk the grounds, do a little shopping for plants to add to the garden as well as learn about how we can help repopulate our gardens with native species that help support a diverse wildlife population.
Gardening provides me with beauty, food and a spiritual path. However, if done correctly, it also supports essential biodiversity; a mix of plants, soil, insects and wildlife essential not only to the environment, but to human survival. I don’t usually get all gloom and doom on this blog because I want people to pursue gardening and make lifestyle choices because they are moved to out of a place of love, but to be candid, our environment is in serious crisis. Human sprawl, industrial agriculture, wide spread petrochemical usage in landscapes and gardens have decimated wildlife habitats and made toxic what was once a fertile, living, thriving planet. Gardening for me is not only a pleasurable pursuit, but an environmental, spiritual and if I am honest, political pursuit.
During this excursion, I purchased a wide selection of goldenrod as well as a few other herbs for the garden. The goldenrod, when mature will provide a good source of autumn forage for bees and insects when most of the spring and summer garden has long since “gone over”. This period of time for the pollinators is called Autumn dearth…essentially a time when food sources are very scarce. For cultivated bees like mine, it is less of an issue than for wild foragers because I can supplement their diet, but I want to ensure that all the creatures great and small have a welcome place in my garden and I can provide a little of what they need to ensure their survival.
I am including a like to a very good article on biodiversity and how essential it is for our own survival for you to read at your leisure. In the meantime, happy gardening!