I was so impressed with Doug Tallamy’s talk last week at the Greenwich Library.
I don’t remember ever seeing a normally sedate gardening crowd so excited about a lecture, literally erupting into enthusiastic applause as he finished speaking. He’s clearly hit a nerve about the importance of native plants.
Yesterday, I read 50 or so pages of his book, â€œBringing Nature Home: How Native Plants Sustain Wildlife in Our Gardens,â€ and can’t wait to read more this weekend.
Here are a few random items from my lecture notes:
â€œWeâ€™re convinced nature is happy someplace elseâ€ so we donâ€™t worry about it disappearing from our yard or surrounding community.
100 million acres have been invaded by alien plants; that’s expected to double in next five years.
Goldenrod is the No. 1 perennial for supporting biodiversity.
There are 422,000 species of plants in the world. â€œEach species has a specific function in its ecosystem.â€
â€œPlants and animals are the rivets holding the ecosystems that sustain us together.â€
â€œOur kids are not interacting with nature anymore. When they do itâ€™s all structured. Thereâ€™s no free play.â€
â€œThere is no better way to expose children to nature than to bring nature home to themâ€ â€“ in their yards.
2 million acres lost to development every year, according to the Nature Conservancy.
We have 45.6 million acres of lawn in the US, 8 times the size of NJ.
More than 800 plant and animal species are rare, threatened or endangered in PA; 150 have disappeared entirely.
To increase biodiversity, we need to first focus on the plants.
â€œAll energy is produced by plants. … The most important group of organisms eating plants and producing energy are insect herbivores.â€
An adult bird can bring 300 caterpillars a day to the nest to feed its young. If we take caterpillars out of the ecosystem, we lose our baby birds.
When we load up our ecosystem with plants from China or Europe, our insects canâ€™t eat them. Butterfly bush, for example, is a magnet for adult butterflies, but it’s not a host plant for any of their larvae.
â€œWe all have a decision to make every time we put a plant in the yard: How much biodiversity do we want to support?â€
â€œWoody plants support a lot more species than herbaceous ones.â€ An oak tree supports 534 species.
â€œI am not claiming this will be less work â€” what could be easier than riding a lawnmower? â€” but I am claiming it will be more beautiful and more beneficial.â€
â€œGo home and start planting native plants. How we garden now is what nature will look like.â€