The Glory Has Departed


Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence

The Lutheran Library Publishing Ministry

Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Ustream - Sunday, 10 AM Central.


Advent Services - 7 PM Central Time in December.

Saved worship files and Greek lessons are at the live worship link.

email: greg.jackson.edlp@gmail.com,
which works as gregjacksonedlp@gmail.com too.

Luther's Sermons, Lenker Series
Book of Concord Selections
Martin Chemnitz Press Books

Norma A. Boeckler Author's Page

Pastor Gregory L. Jackson's Author's Page

Thursday, May 26, 2016

True Diversity in Planting the Creation Garden

Jessica Walliser writes about beetle banks,
where beetles are sheltered as an investment in pest control.

I write for the newer gardeners, because there are so many basics ignored in the colorful gardening books sold in stores. The foundational books for gardening are Lowenfels (soil), Walliser (beneficial bugs), and Lovejoy (observation and discovery).

As Jessica Walliser explains so well, planting diversity is the key to enjoying the support of beneficial bugs in the garden. Some of the efforts I have made include:

  • Letting grassy areas grow as shelter for beetles and web-less spiders.
  • Seeking out tiny-flowered plants for beneficial bugs.
  • Looking at the value of weeds, which often have unexplored virtues and benefits.
  • Emphasizing butterfly, bee, and hummingbird plants.

The umbrella flowers of he carrot family, like dill in this photo,
are appealing to beneficial insects.

Some are saying, "Thou hypocrite. Thy entire front yard is planted in roses." I like hearing from KJV fans, but they miss the mark here. I have also planted:

  1. Garlic, which repels insects and supposedly makes roses healthier.
  2. Mountain Mint, a plant that beneficial insects loves.
  3. Spirea, a low growing bush that favors butterflies and bees.
  4. Crepe Myrtle (inherited), a tall bush that currently harbors a cardinal nest.
  5. Bushes (inherited) near the house, which shelter toads and various creatures.
  6. Raspberries and Blackberries to feed the bees and birds.
Pokeweed has several virtues - deep taproots,
easy care, and berries for many birds,
which plant them for free.

Pokeweeds yield bright red poke berries,
and this native wildflower grows anywhere and everywhere.
Grandson Alex says, "Deal with it."

Birds plant Pokeweed and Wild Strawberries for me, but I leave those in the backyard.

Plant diversity means a constant flowering of weeds and flowers that feed the creatures we value so much. Many beneficial insects feed from flowers in the adult stage and set their babies upon the pests in their infant stage. Ladybugs are unusual in devouring pests at both stages.

Many plants have one bloom cycle. They display pollen, get pollinated by various creatures, and set seed. "Done. Bye. See you next year." We can see that in the low-growing weeds in the lawn. Arkansas has many wild flowers or weeds that garnish the monotonous lawn with color from time to time. They give the beneficials and bees a chance to feed all summer long, or in-between the big crops. Dandelions, a valued herb, is prominent and despised for no other reason than its ability to thrive in grass.

For example, by feeding and watering the birds, these creatures get into the habit of coming to our window feeders and nesting nearby. Likewise, the beneficial insects would rather set up housekeeping near sources of food and water.

Bombing the landscape with poisons is no way to foster diversity in insects. The effect of pesticides is to kill all insects and spiders, a bad result. The effect of fungicides is to kill bad fungus, good fungus, and other forms of life. I once had a lawn service that sprayed the yard with a weed-killer (contrary to my expressed wishes) that killed all the violets in the yard. long ago in Midland.

Almost Eden has a pile of topsoil he obtained for free from a construction site. They messed up orders in scraping and made the soil commercially unappealing. He had the low hill installed as a berm, and it began to grow with all the weeds and wildflowers dormant as seed in that soil. I said, "That is going to be wild with beneficial insects." We saw carrot family, possibly Angelica, common weeds, and some plants too exotic to try to name. I plan on visiting it with Sassy to look for insects.

My morning walks with Sassy often reveal piles of great gardening material set out as garbage. I often bring them home, so I have stumps (rescued by car), rotten wood, Gandalf staffs, and slices of trees. Almost Eden asked where I got my attractive rustic fence in the front yard. I said "Across the street. We went through the pile for the best examples."

The mint family (Mountain Mint here)
is appealing to all insects but can get away.
I told our helper, "Mulch your roses with your
mint scraps."