It seems to be whatever nature has done, man thinks he can do better. Humans are never happy with what they have been given. Plants, animals, birds and insects have a sense of naturally adapting to their surroundings without human intervention. They live according to their needs but humans can’t, they have always got to try to reduce nature to their standards.
Some years’ ago, a colleague at work remarked that they were getting new windows fitted at her home, and the frames were made from hardwood from the rain forests, so should last. I remarked that, it’s that attitude that is causing the destruction of rain forests, loss of habitat for animals and local tribes. She replied, “yes, but they are all getting them.” A fairly intelligent suburban housewife, but encased in her own little twee world without a thought of consequences to anyone or anything else, so in my opinion, not so clever.
Locally I see arable farmlands getting planted up with trees, not that all farmers feel a burning desire to save the planet, but incentives were offered, and farmers are not likely to turn down a generous offer. It’s a bit sad that such intense planting is not to help feed the people. I do think farmers should plant trees, they are part of the farming ecosystem. They provide shelter for livestock, prevent soil erosion and have many other benefits. There would likely be more benefits by providing wooded shelter belts instead of putting the whole of their fields over to trees, which is often just for the love of money – and they say money doesn’t grow on trees!
My tiny patch of garden has it’s own eco trees or shrubs, the Photinia × fraseri ‘Red Robin’ (also known as the Christmas Berry) is alive with bees in spring. Originally bought to brighten a dull corner, I didn’t realise just how beneficial this tree would be.
The magnolia tree has impressive flowers but no nectar. Still popular with bees as they can collect pollen, a vital source of protein in their diet. With these two little trees, they provide little pollinators with a balanced diet. Another contribution to ecology is as they are in a damp corner, they should help by taking up some of the excess water through their roots.
Excesses of either clearing too much land of trees or planting too many, damages the land. Farming as it was done in the past and should still be done, with less intensive farming, would help to provide healthier food with less fertilisers and herbicides contaminating it.
Supermarkets seem to have the idea that people won’t eat produce unless it is perfect, with a uniform colour and shape. I like to get my vegetables fresh, without a blast of radiation to make them look better and last longer. If that blast is to kill the bacteria, it also kills the good bacteria which we need for our own health.
When I started growing produce, I never thought I would learn so much in the process. I have weeds in the garden but I hope they work for their keep, just as the other plants have to. Only if they get too invasive, then the cull begins. The biggest problem there is with weeds, is where there is paving, they sneak in between the slabs. In the garden, many of the domesticated plants help to keep the weeds in check. I think even now the convolvulus or bindweed, struggles to gain dominance, entwining round the tree trunks, trying to bring them into submission, so hopefully they will continue to concentrate on the impossible and leave the rest of the plants alone.
Convolvulus was supposed to have been introduced by railway companies and planted on railway embankments to stabilise the embankment, as the roots go several feet down and there is quite a network of them underground. The old railway line was at the foot of my garden, so it’s no surprise having an invasion of bindweed.
A similar invasive plant is the horsetail or mare’s tail and likewise it has deep-seated rooting system and almost impossible to remove. Even they have their uses though, convolvulus’s white trumpet-like flower welcomes butterflies and other insects. Horsetail can’t offer sweet-smelling flowers but it can be used as a scrub, an astringent, a diuretic and an aid to healing wounds, and can be made into a tea.
It’s time we spared a thought for Mother Nature, she’s not the one to make mistakes.