Friday, September 1, 2017

"Guests in the Garden!"

“Guests in the Garden” might conjure up images of inviting close friends over for a summer evening— then dining al fresco in an intimate backyard garden.  This is NOT the image I’m writing of today… instead, I’m paying homage to hundreds of “guests” who visited our backyard garden during recent months.   
These guests either flew (or crawled) into our garden to partake in a feast of pollen and nectar, fruit and foliage. 
Some were welcome guests - some were not!
Finding a large dragonfly sunning itself on a young corn plant was a pleasure; I never before saw a dragonfly with a mauve-pink abdomen!  (The dragonfly allowed me to get quite close for a photograph, so I can share this pic with you.)
A variety of bees are often guests in our garden— sometimes more than one bee will occupy a single zucchini blossom, collecting nectar and escaping the heat of the day.  Often large bumblebees are visiting our Monarda blossoms, and I simply stay back and let them work.    Apparently bees tolerate my presence in the garden; after four decades of working this land, I have never been stung while working in my garden space.

We truly enjoy a host of other guests in our garden… swallowtails, monarchs and an occasional sphinx moth… all are welcome!  Sadly, there are many UN-wanted guests who also frequent our space!  Japanese beetles loved our raspberry foliage and fruit, even though I battled them daily during July and August.  Of course, those darling chipmunks aren’t so darling when they devour several green tomatoes, leaving unwanted portions on the ground.   Numerous baby bunnies seem to appear throughout the growing season, eating whatever they choose. 

Since we utilize organic gardening practices in our veggie and herb garden, I often say the UN-wanted garden guests likely spread the word to one another, “Lunch at Lynn’s today!”    

With due diligence, we can still harvest sufficient produce from our garden each summer to make this effort worthwhile.  I can only hope someday the UN-wanted garden guests will dine al fresco somewhere else!

M. Lynn Schmid,  Certified Master Gardener
A.A.S. Landscape/Horticulture/Arboriculture