Gardens are sensorial rewards. Touch, smell, feel, sight and sound can get anyone engaged. But while you can’t access your favorite sanctuaries, maybe reading about the flora and fauna that make them so rewarding, could still keep you engaged.
In our little effort to bring you even more closer and connected to London Town's gardens, during these times, I am adding a new Botany section on Wednesday mornings. Stay engaged!
Companions of the flora: Companions are at times necessary for survival for some flowers or they can be a nuisance when they help just a little bit too much. Example 1: Let's look at Magnolias for example: Magnolias have been around for 90+ million years. They evolved before the bees did. One of the best pollinator companion for Magnolias is its beloved clumsy beetle.
Beetles evolved far before the Magnolias did. The Magnolia flowers are large, making them easily accessible for the beetles. What's in the Magnolias for the Beetles? Pollen! They visit the flower for eating the pollen, as there is no nectar. But sometimes they end up helping just a little too much when they eat up the petals as food along with the pollen. Ever noticed how thick the petals of Magnolias are? Well, it is an evolutionary trait probably evolved to make the petals not be so chewable for their otherwise compatible companions.
Camellia with ants
Example 2: Ants on Camellias are a common sight. But ants are not really harmful. In fact, I would call them a compatible companion, because ants indicate that there might be aphids around, wherein the Camellia should be treated to get rid of the aphids. The ants like the sweet nectar that aphids leave.
Compatibility for a plant is key when it comes to fauna. Harmful vs survival essential bugs are key for gardeners to know in order to protect and be proactive before the damage happens.
Wouldn't you agree though that the most compatible companions for plants are compassionate humans? Without compassion and care of plants, many species today would be headed towards extinction. Cultivation of ornamental plants over generations has saved hundreds of species. some species get overlooked, for they might not have the most attractive flowers like the Magnolias and Camellias. It's for those species that we have to be more aware and compassionate.
Corydalis flavula (yellow) is a good example of a species that is easily overlooked, and it is considered threatened in some states. It's for the yellow flowers of Corydalis that aren't as large as the Magnolias that compassionate companions are needed.
"Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, its not." - Dr. Seuss