The New Canaan Garden Club celebrates the iconic habitats of southwestern Connecticut: woodlands, meadows, ponds, streams and wetlands. These ecological zones support biodiversity and all life within them is interconnected. Plants are often the first thing we notice when looking at these habitats. Yet, in any given landscape, plants are only half the story. The plant world cannot exist without its animal & fungal partners. They have developed co-dependent relationships through centuries of evolution.
Plants and insect pollinators (bees, wasps, butterflies, moths, flies and beetles) have developed complex inter-relationships over thousands of years.
80% of flowering plants in the world depend on pollinators for reproduction; and
75% of the plants used worldwide for food, beverage, fiber and medicine also depend on pollinators in order to reproduce.
Without pollinators the world as we know it would not exist!
In his new book, The Living Landscape: Designing for Beauty and Biodiversity in the Home Garden. wildlife ecologist Doug Tallamy explores the complex relationships between plants and animals and the value of native species in our landscape. He challenges today’s gardeners to view their gardens in broader ecological terms –
“We have to raise the bar on our landscapes. In the past, we asked one thing of our gardens: that they be pretty. Now they have to support life, sequester carbon, feed pollinators and manage water.”
Fungi are literally all around us . . . from microscopic yeasts and molds living in our air and soil . . . to multi-celled mushrooms which sprout in our lawns and on fallen tree . . . and sometimes grace our dinner plates.
Our suburban gardens are part of a complex food chain with mammals occupying the highest echelon. While some are strict vegetarians and others only carnivores, the majority of our backyard animals are omnivores. They are opportunistic diners, eating from the cornucopia of both the plant and animal kingdoms.
We don’t often see all the animals that live among us. Many are nocturnal and some, such as the black bear and bobcat, may be occasional visitors here. Yet all fill a niche in our ecosystem.