Nature and Sandy

My namesake storm (mine is Sandi) is still creating havoc for millions of people across the country.  Not only is the east coast feeling it’s effects, the entire world is.  For the first time since 1888 the NYSE is closed two days in a row, this will affect the world markets. Thousands of travelers across the globe are not able to get to their destinations because of it. It affects people everywhere.

Even though we try to control nature, we can’t and we never will. She is a force that can’t be beat.  It solidifies the statement that I use on my website and this blog, “Work with her or against her, either way Nature will have her way”, which has become the mantra that I learned to live by because of her power.

We build on the fragile shores and in the blink of an eye see massive destruction. Yet, we will continue to do it.  Why?  It is control. We think we can out think Nature. We can’t she’ll always win. Sandy will become the most expensive storm on record.

To think that one week prior, I attended the Heavenly Retreat by the Sea at Long Beach Island, NJ along with 11 other women.  Our ocean front beach house was a dream home, but now I can’t even imagine the devastation.

In the garden, many think they can control her but when it comes down to it, she always takes control, never giving in to the gardener. There will always be weeds.  Nature does not play favorites to her children.  She provides a comfortable environment for her seeds and allows them to flourish, whether or not we like what those seeds become.

I most enjoy when I hear gardeners say that they remove certain weeds or unwanted plants from their gardens or lawns.  And then a few months later, hear them complain that they have a problem with pests.  It always seems to be that the plants they are removing are usually the host plants for the predators of that particular pest they are burdened with.

Why remove the weeds from the lawn?  Who do they hurt? Why is it important to have a weed free lawn?  They are obsessed with control.

For instance, a friend recently complained of the infestation of fleas in her neighborhood. She and her neighbors use a lawn service and have no weeds, but all do have chemical dependent lawns. Lawn chemicals kill many of the plants that are attractive to lady bugs, such as Ajuga reptans (bugleweed) , taraxacum officinale (the common dandelion) and others. These lady bugs are one of the “natural” predators of fleas and can eat over fifty insects a day. That would put a dent in the flea population.

I’m not an expert on lawn care or in pest control, I’m just stating what I know of lady bugs and it doesn’t make sense to me to eradicate the exact plant that is necessary for the survival of the predator of your pest problem.

We use no chemicals at Crabtree Gardens. We allow many different weeds to grow in our lawn and we have never had a problem with fleas and had a dog for years. If we get an infestation of some pest, Nature will move in another predator higher on the food chain to take care of the population and maintain order.

We promote and teach gardeners how to provide a diverse environment in their gardens which will allow beneficial insects to thrive there.


About crabtreegardens

I am a passionate decorator and the head gardener at Crabtree Gardens, LLC, which is a five acre naturalized garden located in Drums, PA. I advocate chemical-free, low maintenance gardening methods and working along with nature. I'm a freelance garden writer and member of GWA: The Association for Garden Communicators.
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11 Responses to Nature and Sandy

  1. I don’t use any chemicals, either. However, a few years ago I did have to paint the trunk of my dogwood with a borer pesticide because they were killing the tree. By painting the solution onto the tree with a sponge brush I was able to keep the application completely localized and not affect any other wildlife in the garden. The tree survived but the dogwood borers didn’t. When we get Japanese beetles I hand pick them since they have no predators. But after applying milky spore, I rarely see them. It’s rare that I ever have pest problems since all the good bugs take care of the bad bugs. A garden that is allowed to become an ecosystem will maintain itself. 🙂

  2. This home and setting are truly beautiful. No complex garden needed!

  3. Chris Leskosky says:

    Your blog makes me want to not live in a development.Unfortunately, I would be reported if I let weeds grow in my garden!

  4. Kevin says:

    I LOVE your outlook on lawns. I see so many of my neighbors hiring companies to spray chemicals for a green carpet. Although their lawns look nice, I’ll take my lawn with all of its grasses and weeds. If its green, it stays.

  5. Jean says:

    Sandi, I’m just getting a chance to catch up with your blog, and I just loved the connections you made in this post. Your philosophy of gardening was what attracted me to your blog in the first place, and this connection to larger environmental issues just makes it that much more powerful.

  6. Hello Jean and thank you for visiting and inspiring me with your comments. I have been lax with posts recently because I have several projects going on that require my attention. Glad you were able to catch up. I enjoyed seeing your November Blog of the Month choices, they were great.

  7. Very interesting post, Sandi-I did not know that ladybugs eat fleas! I always learn something of value here. ~ Marsha

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