Gardening for Biodiversity
Excerpted from The New Canadian Garden, $19.99, 2016, Mark Cullen. All rights reserved. Published by Dundurn Press.
Chapter 2: Gardening for Biodiversity
I was taught differently. The idea of a great-looking garden in the view of father, a professional gardener in his own right, had little to do with my vision of a dream garden. My wife, Mary, and I were discussing the possibilities of moving to the country when I made the commend that creating my dream garden would be reason enough for me to make the move. “Well, it is a field of soy beans, so go nuts,” she responded, in reference to the country escape just a few kilometres up the road from our suburban property, the place where we raised our four children.
My father had a rather traditional view of beauty, where garden were concerned: trimmed hedges, tamed evergreens (sometimes in the shape of animals), and a lot of 2,4D herbicide on the lawn to control dandelions. Indeed, we live in a different time now, but over the years I have embraced the changes of this moving target that is a “beautiful” garden.
When I was planning my 10-acre garden in 2005, I made it a priority to seek out plants that would attract hummingbirds, songbirds, and butterflies. Other pollinators would simply follow, as my criteria for plant selection did not exclude the bees or myriad other pollinating insects. I mix native and non-native species in my garden with the hopes of attracting a wide variety of creatures. There’s room for both.
Read more in The New Canada Garden, available at book stores and Home Hardware.