Today I was reminded why I’m passionate about landscaping with native plants. In the blustery 20 degree temperatures with a minor snow storm underway, it looks like everything is buttoned up for the winter. The few leaves refusing to let go of their woody origins are all a bronzy brown. The leaves on the ground poking up through the gathering snow are shriveled and creating interesting patterns. It looks pretty barren. Even inside looking through the window, I’m thinking a little hot chocolate would feel good.
And then a movement on the scarred Honey locust tree catches my eye. Almost perfectly camouflaged, a small creature peeks underneath some loose bark. Working its way slowly up the tree trunk, it examines every little fissure and occasionally finds something interesting. This little Brown creeper isn’t looking for birdseed. Like over 90 percent of all terrestrial birds, he’s after what he was genetically programmed to eat. He was born to live on insects. And he appears to be making a healthy living even in these frigid temperatures and blowing snow. Apparently there are enough protein laden insects and larvae holed up in nearly invisible hiding spots for him to find. How amazing!
So…..what’s that got to do with native plants? If you’ve followed along on this never ending journey of mine, we’ve learned together that these insects too have to have something to eat. And their food is native plants. Everything eats plants or eats things that eat plants. Our insect friends as I’ve come to now label them, are, like our little avian explorer, genetically programmed to only eat native plants. So….I love native plants because I love nature. And to me, nature means clean air, clean water, healthy food, and a wondrous world where all life is connected. I love being just a small part of this incredible web of life.