“Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it ” Genesis 1:1 It’s strange how the same word can have so many different meanings for different people. For some, the word brings thoughts of beautiful flowers neatly arranged in harmonious color combinations.
Only the females appear in these two strikingly different forms. I like to say that the females come in blonde and brunette. My own small yard (only 1/3 of an acre) is gradually being changed from a traditional suburban setting of lawn and non-native shrubs and flowers to a planting of host plants for a variety of native butterflies and moths.
Of course, as a result, I have to avoid use of insecticides which would kill the very insects I want.
Then I do see some “critters” I may not like as well.
As I learn to accept these as part of the ecosystem, amazingly I even begin to see them as interesting and vital parts of their environment.
We also enjoy walking in more natural gardens, though, and find the native flowers to be as lovely to photograph as the non-native. The picture on the left shows one of the many beautiful varieties of native milkweed which have the additional benefit of providing food for the larvae of the threatened monarch butterfly.
For a garden to be truly satisfying to me, though, I need to see it as a complete ecosystem, balanced with the insects which add movement and aid in pollinating plants so that they can multiply and expand the garden.
The next photo is a scene from my yard last summer which is illustrative of just how lovely, and interesting, this more complete ecosystem can be.
The two tiger swallowtails shown below on “butterfly bush” are the same species, but different colors!
Consider this praying mantis to the left as an example.
Most of us have favorite gardens, and I would love to hear from you as to what yours are, and what you love about them!
My own favorite garden is one here in Bedford County, Virginia.