Friday, August 21, 2009

My Garden

I live within the boundaries of the state park. Living on site is a requirement of my particular job position, a requirement that I enjoy. I do have to think about some things a little differently though. I have a moral obligation to uphold the same natural resource management guidelines in my yard that we do in the park. We keep our cat indoors because outside cats can displace song birds. If there were a stray cat in the park, I would remove it. House cats are not a part of Florida's natural ecosystem. If we plant anything in the park, the seed source or the plants themselves should come from within a 50 mile radius of the park. I wanted a garden in my yard, but I didn't feel comfortable bringing in plants from just anywhere. In addition to the possibility that exotic plants brought to my yard might spread into the park, unseen insects or parasites could be brought along with those plants.
My garden started as a patch of grass in the middle of a rather strangely shaped sidewalk. I thought that the sidewalk looked weird and the patch of grass always grew faster than the rest of the yard, making it look bad... all the time. My boyfriend knew that I wanted a garden there so one week while I was out of town for a training, he dug up all of the grass. Together we put some brick paving stones behind it to make the sidewalk a little more cohesive. Throughout the next year, I collected seedpods from around the park and sprinkled them in my dirt patch. After a while, things began to grow. I know that the wind and the birds must have been helping me with seed dispersal, because some of the things that grew I had not seen before. I considered weeding the garden once or twice, but its a native plants garden. All of these plants could be considered weeds to someone. I decided that all native plants are welcome in my garden and we don't call anyone a weed.
Some people may not like the look of my garden. I think that our exterminator thinks that I have just neglected this part of the yard. Sometimes I find plants pulled up and tossed to the side after he has been through to treat for ants. It is definitely not the type of garden that I grew up with. My mom was always weeding and pruning, and kept our household gardens pristine. I do some maintenance, a couple of times a year. In the winter there are tall dead stalks that I remove and when it overgrows to the point that you can't walk on the sidewalk, I trim it back.
I really love my garden, but not just for the flowers. I stood outside for only 20 minutes or so today and just looked closely. I photographed more insects than I can post today and missed even more. I even found some flowers that I didn't know were there. I hope that when you are done reading this today (or maybe tomorrow), you will go outside and look a little closer at something that you see everyday. I think you might be surprised! Take your kids, they might show you a thing or two.


idyllicchick said...

Oh my goodness! What is the gorgeous blue butterfly/moth?! I've never seen anything like that before. It is so pretty and fuzzy!

Ranger Amy said...

It is one of my favorites! It is a butterfly called a Long-tailed Skipper.

Heidi H said...

How very true. I have been noticing a lot of really cool patches up here that normally I wouldn't think twice about.
I have thought of you the past couple of days, we have an overwhelming amount of dragonflies in the 'yard' between 6-7:30 every night. The more you look the more that are there.
Anyhow, love your blog!

Ranger Amy said...

Thanks Heidi! Do the girls have butterfly nets? I bet they would have a great time trying to catch the dragonflies!