If you read the title you might think I am crazy, but if you bear with me, I hope that by the end of this blog you will encourage to rewild your garden or if you don’t have a garden any small green space you have nearby.

Small wild garden in the South of Germany

When you think of wildlife you might think of a bear, a fox, a wolf, or maybe even bigger like an elk or a whale and it makes sense that when somebody says bring wildlife to your garden it sounds scary or just a crazy idea.  We have the concept of wildlife as large and charismatic animals, but we tend to forget that life on earth has different sizes and colors. One that we tend to ignore are insects, which play a crucial role in our daily lives. They help us to keep our ecosystems healthy and more importantly modern food production systems depend heavily on them.  Insects have been working hard maintaining our ecosystems practically going unnoticed before our eyes, well until now. Scientists over the past years have been noticing that the number of insects is going down dramatically, even the New York times made a cover of it calling it the insect apocalypse [1]. But do not worry this is not going to be a blog where you leave sad and hopeless about humanity, instead, I want to introduce you to small things that you can do from home that can help us to combat these negative trends.

Let’s be honest after this crazy year we all need a little bit of hope, but if we want to make changes, we have to make them now. Insect numbers are going down for various reasons, a few of them are the loss of their habitats, climate change, and the excessive use of herbicides and pesticides. A way forward to mitigate this is to use fewer chemicals but also learn how to share with them more of our space, we need to re-learn how to cohabitate with insects. The best way to do this is to provide spaces in our cities where they can eat and live. An initiative that has become very popular in recent months is the creation of wild gardens [2].

Wild gardens consist of practically letting nature do the job for you, the only thing that we have to do is to plant and redesign our gardens to be able to host native species. Wild gardens could be as simple as planting seeds of native flowering plants up to reestablishing a small ecosystem in your garden with ponds, fruit trees, and small insect
houses. So, I want to encourage you to go to your closest greenhouse and search for a bag of native seeds, maybe spend an evening learning how to grow these plants in your gardens and I promise you that all your hard work will be paid off next spring with a vibrant, color garden full of buzzing sounds of all your new neighbors. A small action such as planting more native plants can make a big difference in our fight against biodiversity loss. Also, if you live in a city and you do not have access to a garden you can search for shared green spaces for gardening or encourage your community to start greening your neighborhood. For example, where I live now people are planting native flowers on the sidewalk. If none of the above examples are possible for you, maybe start with a small pot with some native seeds, leave it outside your window and I bet some happy insects will visit you. 

So, get your gardening tools, and let's start creating change from our home.

[1] Brooke Jarvis, “The Insect Apocalypse Is Here,” The New York Times, November 27, 2018, sec. Magazine, https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/uri/embeddedinteractive/cc840ddf-7ab9-5dd7-9538-2e3fa33278fb?
[2] Patrick Barkham, “How to Rewild Your Garden: Ditch Chemicals and Decorate the Concrete | Environment | The Guardian,” The Guardian, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/30/how-to-rewild-your-garden-ditch-chemicals-and-decorate-the-concrete.

 

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