Gardening – Grass not so green

There is an army of beneficial insects—spiders, bumble bees, dragonflies, hoverflies, wasps, ladybirds, praying mantis, beetles, earwigs and honey bees just waiting to help us manage pests, pollinate crops, and recycle waste and debris.

All they need is a home, a safe haven, something to eat and somewhere to live and reproduce.

Although lawns may provide a bit of green in what is increasingly a mass of tar, roads and pavements, they are neither safe havens nor homes for beneficial insects. On balance, lawns are awful for the planet in this time of climate change. Lawn mowers guzzle gas, pollute the air and provide a constant weekend noise factor.

Meanwhile, densely planted undisturbed areas with shrubs, flowering perennials, weeds, natives, and flowering umbelliferae, will provide year-round flowering to attract a diverse population of insects, crucial for the health and productivity of both surrounding ornamental and productive vegetable gardens.

And at the same time, this wild riot of nature’s plants will help you reduce your planetary impact while pulling carbon out of the air and burying it underground.

For children, the beneficial insect garden is a magic place for them to experience the pulse of life in the natural world around them while providing lessons in abundance.

While we applaud the government’s initiative of planting a billion trees to reduce the CO2 in our atmosphere, homeowners could be planting up their verge with a billion beneficial insect plants while in the process of reducing their domestic emissions.

What about the poor lawn mowing person who will not have a business to feed their family? Well maybe instead that business could be engaged in maintaining all the beautifully planted verges. They will have plenty of people to talk to as the walkers, dog walkers and general public, even the occasional bus load of excited gardeners who will stop to talk, collect seeds and view a proliferation of birds, insects and lizards that have moved into their new homes.

All our ecosystems are in trouble, but with current regulations and restrictions about planting verges, when will councils and transport agencies who are largely responsible for driving biodiversity loss, begin to turn our concrete cities around by having homeowners involved in suburban plantings as a priority?