On Sunday my wife and I were at Earth Day, which was estimated to have 3,500 folks over five hours. It was the first time we publicly marketed my native prairie garden coaching business, and in 30mph winds it got a bit hairy. What I will remember most are what native plants and ecosystems can teach us that we have forgotten, especially since about, oh, 1950.
1) Wasps are beneficial insects. They pollinate. They kill pests. Wasps are not an enemy unless you grab a nest and stick it in your mouth. We need wasps.
2) And we need bees. I was selling a few small divisions--mountain mint (an insect and wasp mecca), goldenrod, sunflower, coneflower, blue sage--and many folks asked which got butterflies. All of them I said. Which got bees and wasps? All of them. I sold native bee houses made of bundled joe pye weed stalks and those went fast. I think we have a a strange fear and fascination with insects, some are good, some are bad. Whatever might hurt us is bad. But if the monarch butterfly--devoid of milkweed stands in the wild--were to perceptibly vanish, I'd be hurt to the core. Insects also feed baby songbirds, whose numbers are similarly dwindling in the face of a spray first suburban and rural existence, along with sprawl of both.
3) Kids can be smart. Whoa. One girl came by and told us about all the countries she's been to, all the nature she's seen. She couldn't have been much over 10 or 11. Another girl came back twice and just wanted to hang out and ask questions about plants and butterflies and anything. Go kids. Go nature.
|My wife made the necklace she's wearing. Aren't we so Earth Day? (no)|
We sold $1 plants (some divided, some grown in basement), seed packets (Salvia azurea 'Nekan' and Aster laevis), bee houses, and $5 books and photos from my garden / Etsy store.
We'll be in the public spotlight one more time, this Saturday at Spring Affair. I'll try to scare together a few more bee house bundles. So far, my desire for an acreage where I grow native plants (perhaps in rows) and in a greenhouse has been flamed. I want a tent at the farmer's market pushing natives, showing folks how we need them, how awesome they are. Of course, Earth Day was preaching to the choir. Still, have to get your feet wet somewhere. Hopefully in a pond filled with bass on 100 acres. Still waiting for someone to gift me that. Ahem.