How Bugs Turned Me Into A Native Plant Gardener
How My Pollinator Gardening Journey Began
My name is Lynda Stevens and I am an avid nature photographer living in Nanaimo. My idea of a good time is to grab my camera and head out to one of our local parks or trails to investigate and document with my camera anything that nature has to offer. I started photographing birds and then moved on to wildflowers, lichens and mushrooms.
In 2019 I began to photograph a whole new world that goes largely unnoticed by most people: insects. I began to read about the plight of insects in our modern world and how their number are in decline due to habitat loss, pesticides and climate change. Pollinators such as bees, flies, wasps and butterflies are only one group of insects that I was seeing but they are a very important group because without them we would not have most of the fruit and vegetables that we enjoy.
On my walks I also noticed that I was seeing larger numbers of insects and more variety of species than I was seeing in my own garden. I had a well established garden with the usual garden ornamental plants but the only pollinators that I saw were honeybees and some common species of bumblebees. Why wasn’t I seeing the native bees and hover flies that I had read about and seen out in the wild. I realised that my garden did not contain the right plants to attract many of these pollinators.
At this time, some of the open fields in the city that were good locations for insect photography were being developed for housing, and I became more aware of the issue of habitat loss. So, I decided that I wanted to provide some habitat for insects in general and native pollinators in particular. In February 2022 I undertook a garden restoration project to convert my small urban front yard to a pollinator garden. This involved removing most of my lawn and existing plants that were not pollinator friendly, creating some new beds and planting a mixture of shrubs, annuals and perennials that are native to SE Vancouver Island. Here is my garden as it looked this past summer. I was amazed at how well the plants grew in their first year and how many pollinators visited me.
In my future posts I plan to talk about my garden, what worked and what didn’t work and to share photos of the plants and the pollinators who visit them.
In my next blog I will highlight the garden renovation and show more photos of that process.