I was out in the garden looking at blossoms on the Washington Navel orange tree yesterday. It made me happy to breathe in the delicious citrus scent and see the beautiful shape of the blossoms. That’s the affect Nature can have on us if we slow down and notice.
But then I was thrilled at the next layer of delight. The bees and the noisy myna birds were in a frenzy over the sticky green centres of the orange blossoms. The sticky green centres are part of Nature’s design of flowers – their job is to be sticky enough to draw the birds and bees to their nectar, achieve pollination AND turn those pollinated flowers into oranges.
Nature makes a lot of stuff. Nature makes it look so easy!
Dare I say it probably is easy for Nature… but we make it hard for Us…and Nature.
Nature goes through a long process to make a Washington Navel orange. From the time the tree blossoms it can take seven to twelve months for the orange to ripen into an orange we can eat. In that time it has gathered strength, blossomed, been pollinated, developed baby oranges all the way into massive oranges. Provided the tree receives enough water, food and sunshine. But during this seven to twelve months, it is many things to many creatures.
An orange tree provides shelter to birds, nectar to bees–food for baby bees and citrus essence for honey. The orange is an evergreen tree, but it’s old leaves shed gradually as they are replaced by new. These discarded leaves aren’t wasted. They provide food, shade and shelter for small creatures. Soil bacteria right up to lizard size creatures find what they need from under the tree. In this sense the tree makes much more than ‘just’ oranges.
Now if you know this little piece of information, you can understand why using chemical ‘this and that’ will make it hard for Nature. People are appalled (rightly so) at the beautiful animals photographed dead at the hands of humans, on hunting expeditions. Yet trillions of tiny creatures, insects, beautiful bees, soil creatures, lizards and frogs die, at those same appalled viewers hands, each year, because they don’t realise this is what happens. Chemical sprays and fertilisers kill many things to ‘save’ one thing. Please stop using them, for Nature’s sake. Bees die if they sting you–heads up, they want to live. So some healthy respect for what might make them feel threatened is what you need to keep in mind and then, don’t do it.
Nature is, by design, a Maker. We are proof of that. Nature not only saves things it makes others in the process. A Washington Navel tree in a Natural Garden will make oranges and homes plus food to birth many more things. A Washington Navel tree in a chemically controlled garden will just make oranges and probably suffer from increasingly worse disease along the way. This is because Nature wants to to be part of a wider family and using chemicals, kills or prevents the birth of many things, before they have chance to join that family and help the tree through its life.
So when you hear me use the term Natural Gardening, know that everything in my garden is geared to one thing. I aim to help not hinder Nature, to be a Maker.
Natural Gardening is about supporting Nature to do Her thing, without chemicals or synthetic fertilisers. In this way I can receive and design-in, the gifts She gives our family in healthy food, pretty surroundings and delightful experiences. We can all have this delight.
Nature is a Maker. Please help Her.
©Trish McGill 2018