My garden has looked a little chewed up this year.
I’m thinking it may be a secondary effect of the way California is handling the drought. A set of unintended consequences. Let’s face it. The ecosystem in Southern California depend in large part to the things people do. People have just stopped watering in many places. Little pieces of land all over have gone from grass and plants to just dirt. This does more than just save water. It also takes one of the few sources of clean, fresh water away from wildlife. Dry dirt supports very little. While I agree that a lawn isn’t a very efficient use of resources, going from green to barren in the space of year has had an impact. No greenery for the bugs to eat, no bugs for the birds to eat, etc.
So where ever there is any green, the bugs and birds are out in force. Desperate for the resources they need to survive. The leafcutter bees have pretty much denuded my bougainvillea, cutting both leaves and bracts. I saw one flying away with a piece of the bract once. Tiny bee flying away with a big piece of leaf, a practically fluorescent pink in the afternoon sun. I was practically dancing as it flew by. I get excited about the strangest stuff.
Goldfinches have been eating the leaves on my sunflowers. It doesn’t look very attractive, but the plants seem to withstand it OK and I read that the finches eat the leaves to feed to their babies so I’m OK with it. I can live with scroungy-looking sunflowers if I can feed the next generation of goldfinches with them.
My cosmos have been pretty ragged, too. Any time I water I disturb two or three moths, most likely laying eggs judging by the number of partially eaten petals on my flowers. I ran into the culprit below while gathering seed.
And the milkweed has had almost all of its leaves eaten, just bare stems the orange and red flowers left at the top. I hope that that means we’re going to have a good crop of monarchs this year.
While having an immaculate garden sounds wonderful, but I don’t know how realistic it is. I’d rather have less than perfect and have the birds and the bugs. My little oasis in what is becoming more and more of a desert.