The Black-Eyed Susans are doing very well this month. The tomatoes have been a bit of a disappointment so far.
The biggest change has happened rather quietly, in the butterfly garden.
Here are some snaps:
This was not the garden that I planted in Summer, 2007. That garden plan kept steady for a number of years. Then the voles came last summer and did their damage: they ate my purple coneflower and my butterfly bush. Last winter/early spring, as I was trying to decide how to approach the stripped-down garden, I happened upon a book review in The Sunday Times. The review inspired me to purchase the book.
The New Wild: Why Invasive Species Will Be Nature's Salvation by Fred Pearce.
I will do a book review one of these days. In short, we humans continue to get Nature wrong and the more we learn to get rid of the notion of 'control,' the better off everyone will be. As much as we have seemingly done damage to local eco-systems by transporting non-natives around the world, we are just as foolishly trying to control the spread of non-natives. Pearce offers the suggestion that so-called invasives creep in where an eco-system is already damaged and might just help in healing it. I know!
So, knowing that I'd been weeding Queen Anne's Lace out of the butterfly garden in previous years, I wondered if I should let go of a bit of control. I did a bit of research and found out that Eastern Swallowtails happen to like Queen Anne's Lace. So do some bees, and we know how the bees are meant to be suffering habitat loss. Some of my favorite birds are found on Queen Anne's Lace lists: goldfinch and bluebirds among them. All in all, there were compelling reasons for allowing Queen Anne's Lace to live in the butterfly garden. (I'm ignoring that the stinkbug appears on those lists.)
As you can see from the photos, unless you cannot identify plants, Queen's Anne's Lace was allowed to grow free this summer. It contributes to about half of the corner butterfly garden. The Black-Eyed Susan is doing very well. Earlier-blooming plants didn't seem to care that they were sharing space with the then-immature Queen Anne's Lace.
I've been wondering if I'll feel differently, should my garden complete the transition from its previous multi-variety plant scheme to one of predominantly Queen Anne's Lace and Black-Eyed Susan. Honestly, though, my goal for the butterfly garden was to combine form and function: I wanted a pretty garden that would host butterflies and birds. Despite the loss of some of the original garden inhabitants, I have achieved what I set out to do. The golden Susans and the white Annes are lovely! And they provide for the beneficial insects that visit my garden. Letting go of control isn't always a bad thing.
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