It all started innocently enough, a new client, walking his site to review plantings, expectations and the promise of another year of growth for new prairie landscape. Lots of great things happening, Red Prairie Clover in full bloom alive with Honey Bees and Bumble bees, their pollen sacks bursting with vibrant orange pollen. Rattlesnakemaster reaching to the sky with pure white globes towering like beacons over the tops of Prairie Dropseed. The seeded portions of the prairie garden where showing signs of maturing. The early success of Lanceleaf Coreopsis and Partridge Pea being joined in concert with Purple Coneflower, False Indigo and Black-Eyed Susan.
And then it happened, the question, “What should I spray on my plants to keep the bugs off?” It was an honest question, and a typical one for a homeowner seeking to protect their investment in plants. It was also the question, the one that defines if the client has thought the whole process thru. Installing enough of our desired favorites for both us to enjoy and the native wildlife to live off of is a unique concept. I realize that planting enough desirable species for local deer population would be un-possible. But pollinators are different, are they not? Pollinators and their various life forms require our desired natives to support their entire life cycle- not just their pretty wing patterns. Back to the question, the real answer is a simple one, we do not treat the insects in this type of environment with insecticides. The simple answer is the very larvae( worms or caterpillars) we are counting on to create butterflies are the ones eating holes in the leaves of our desirables. The thought provoking answer is, “ Hey, let us figure out how to add more of those species into your garden – so yes- we can attract even more leaf eating future pollinators.
When the World wearies, and Society ceases to satisfy, there is always the Garden.