Conservation consultant David Abrego bids farewell to the fantasy garden. But not before creating a buzz.
Toads, lizards, spiders and all sorts of insects each play a vital role in the landscape. Thankfully in this garden, insects and other garden creatures hadn’t been wantonly destroyed by careless application of pesticides. It was evident in all the activity that surrounded me.
Right then, a lizard scurried across my foot and a bee buzzed in my face. It was as if they were working in tandem to capture my full attention. And then I heard the tiniest voice.
“We are all here to keep the ecosystem in balance and healthy,” hummed the wee bee. “My favorite job is transporting pollen from one flower to another.”
She went on to explain how the pollination process is vital for the production of fruits and vegetables. And how bees whip up that delightfully decadent sweet substance we know as honey.
Ms. Bee mused about the spider weaving its silk mantle, waiting patiently for lunch — a tasty, unsuspecting insect. She pointed out the toad crouched in a cool spot in the garden, consulting his watch and savoring the thought of a delicious beetle wandering by. And the ladybugs cleverly camouflaged among the beautiful colors. The tiny, but mighty beetles were busily consuming those garden vampires known as aphids.
“You see, we’re all doing our part, working in harmony to maintain our garden so there is no need for pesticides,” said Ms. Bee, adding that there are things people can do to encourage helpful bugs in the landscape.
For starters, growing healthy plants as they are more resistant to disease and bad bug attacks. This is achieved by planting them in a healthy soil full of essential nutrients. Also, taking care to properly space the plants so there is good air circulation between them. These responsible practices are known as Integrated Pest Management, she explained.
Ms. Bee stressed the importance of identifying problems before taking any chemical action. Insecticides, she emphasized, can do more harm than good by contaminating soil and water, and then running off into the watershed. And with that, she buzzed off.
My visit to the glorious garden had come to an end. But I left in awe and completely inspired. And I knew I’d rush home to begin working on my own wonderfully whimsical, well-cultivated plot of earth.