I’m often slow to do new things, but when I’m already feeling overwhelmed – as I was with the international move last year – I become downright glacial. I’ve been meaning to do some gardening since we moved here, but I’ve had trouble getting around to actually DOING it. Now, I’ve decided that I’m going to get a set of window boxes, and plant a pollinator garden on the roof of our storage shed. I’ll share pictures of the process as it goes forward, but for now I wanted to talk about why I’m doing this.
On the surface, it’s obvious, right? Insect populations around the world seem to be in a state of collapse, and that includes the ones that pollinate not just our food crops, but also the many wild plants that inhabit the ecosystems around us. There’s very little I can do about global use of pesticides, but I can at least try to make the landscape a bit more hospitable. There are a lot of flowering plants in my neighborhood, which is very nice, but I honestly don’t know if they meet the needs of everything that might be living around here. At the very least, adding another patch of flowers should help.
That’s not the only reason I’m doing this, though. I’m mainly doing it for my personal mental wellbeing. With everything going on in the world, it’s hard not to be consumed by apathy and despair. From what I can tell, the best counter to that is to find some way to take action. It’s not because the actions of any individual are going to change things, or even the idea that “if we all do it the world will be saved”. It’s more that our brains have a much easier time contemplating problems if we feel like something is being done about them. The more certain of that we are, the easier it is to think about something terrifying, like climate change. If the “something” that’s being done is being done by us, then there’s zero question about whether something’s being done, right? Because we’re the ones doing it.
So I’m gonna make a pollinator garden.
I’m also looking into things like neighborhood or river cleanup groups, because while I’d be perfectly happy with the life of a hermit, I feel I ought to practice what I preach. This may not be the most important work I could do, but I think it could help me make good connections, and get a better idea of what sort of thing I might prefer doing if this approach doesn’t work out
For the garden, I’m going to start by researching local pollinator species, and looking for gaps I might be able to fill. I’m also going to get some window boxes to put on top of my portion of the storage shed, as that seems like it might be a nice, out-of-the-way spot. I’m not sure if it gets enough sun, but I suppose that’ll depend on what seeds I can get. I can also see it out of the window of my workroom, so it should be pretty easy to keep an eye on the plants and see how they’re dong. I’ve seen a few bumblebees around this spring and summer, but nothing like what I’d expect for the weather, or the number of flowers around. I don’t know if that means my contribution won’t make a difference, and it feels a bit too little/too late, but I might as well try. I’ll also take pictures of the project as it develops.
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