Saturday, 15 May 2010
In the garden
I've been reading the book Garden Natural History which has inspired the latest round of backyard photography. Its fascinating how much goes on in the garden that most people aren't aware of - all the more so given my habit for letting it run a bit wild. Most of the activity is below the surface - mites, burrowing insects, worms, and other scavengers of the soil (and the creatures who prey on them) but there is a host of activity going on above the surface - aphids, parasitoid wasps, flies and butterflies, and of course the host of mosses, lichens, fungi and other less-visible plants that along with the grass and garden plants are the basis of this ecosystem. Its unfortunate that I'm probably one of the few people who appreciate all the activity going on in the back-yard... most people in England seem to want that perfect lawn (in other words a grass monoculture trimmed to resemble a sheep-grazed field, without the benefit of sheep dung or the various plants that thrive in sheep fields) while others have taken to removing the grass entirely and replacing it with stones or tiles. Its almost as though the urban biodiversity of this nation is at the mercy of home-owners with an obsessive-compulsive view about tidiness and order.