|Yellow swallowtail |
And one of the greatest drawbacks of having a NWF-certified wildlife habitate is, yes, all the critters it invites: squirrels, gophers, raccoons, yellowjackets, ants and rabbits, jut to name a few.
Lately it seems my nice little domesticated yard has been invaded by wildlife. The ants are colonizing the fruit tree containers; the squirrels are busy burying acorns which the scrub jays promptly excavate; the towhees are kicking my mulch all over the place looking for — well, I don't really know. My Cistus and Heuchera are keeling over since they have no roots anymore, courtesy of the aforementioned gopher; and the aforementioned cute and fuzzy bunny has begun nibbling the Anigozanthos, which is just not cool.
|Towhee. So cute. Such a kick.|
But this is just how it goes in nature, the joy and the pain of gardening. It's not limited to animals, either: I was amused by the latest issue of Fine Gardening, which on one page explores Connecticut nurseries' self-imposed ban on invasive Berberis, while another page extols the virtues of Berberis among mixed grasses. That article also celebrates Verbena bonariensis' ample reseeding, as in "you'll always have more." But wait: couldn't that be a wonderful euphemism for "invasive"? Apparently we cannot both have our Nasturtium and eat it too.
I've long believed that gardens are chaotic systems, hurtling toward disorder, their entropy both restrained and hastened by our best attempts to own them. I use Berberis all the time for its fall color, its spines, its berries — it is a fantastic ornamental plant for a wildlife habitat. At least, around Palo Alto. In Connecticut, not so much.
Whatever that relationship, though, the more we observe, the more wonder we get to experience; and the more we marvel at the life force that can create such a beautiful mess.