Embracing Nature in your Garden

Learning to live with nature instead of controlling it or killing it is a process. It isn’t always easy and it takes some knowledge of what creature you’re dealing with to make educated decisions. 

Decades ago, when I was a notorious pristine gardener, a mole had the audacity to tunnel through my backyard leaving raised mounds of dirt on the lawn.  Well, I was miffed! How dare it do that. Armed with poison Moletox pellets, a  sharp guillotine contraption, chewing gum, and cat poop I tried to defeat the mole but nothing worked. Then a vole moved into the tunnel and found a garden bed where it ate over 60 Oriental lily bulbs; Casa Blanca, Stargazer, Mona Lisa … I was livid. 

Eventually, the meat eating mole, that eats grubs, and the opportunistic vole, a vegetarian who eats roots, bulbs, and tubers had their fill and departed from my backyard. It was then I began to educate myself on gardening with nature instead of being in constant combat. Moles are actually beneficial I discovered! They eat Japanese beetle larvae and they aerate the soil. The voles are simply opportunists looking for an easy meal that utilize tunnels made by moles and now I plant my bulbs with a bit of gravel in the hole to deter hungry vegetarians that travel underground.

My transformation from a tyrannical landlord gardener to an organic, embracing nature gardener happened when I realized this land I’m living on is just temporary. I’m merely a tenant on it for a relatively short period of time and I share it with other living things that are all interconnected in the food web! 

Reading Noah’s Garden, Bringing Nature Home, Nature’s Best Hope, and the Living Landscape to name a few, and becoming a certified Master Gardener have all helped me to understand what land stewardship is.  It’s a temporary responsibility to land that will house our great, great, great-grandchildren and I wish for them to know what a Monarch is and a firefly and a tree frog and a Bumblebee.