Certified wildlife habitat demolition: A sad story
Brent was asked to demolish a garden, a certified wildlife habitat, which he'd been keeping for the last 20 years. Over that course of time, it grew from the client's little herb patch into a lush floral wildlife sanctuary. When you entered the canopy area, you were surrounded by the silent vibrations of various butterflies, the quiet hum of bees, and the soft scutter of countless varieties of lizards and insects. You could truly FEEL the living aura inside this gorgeous space.
It was in this garden space where Brent learned the value of butterfly larval plants, attracting bees, and many other important botanical/natural discoveries. He trimmed, planted, and tended this beautiful space, each passing moment creating more and more life and energetic abundance. But some good things must come to an end.
This beautiful sanctuary was in a gated community with a board making decisions concerning the landscape. For several years, the board had issued complaints about the garden being "too wild." With the garden prolifically producing papaya and bananas, they became concerned that snakes and other "unwanted" creatures might come in. So, they ordered the garden to be heavily scaled back, and the bananas to be removed.
What the board wants, the board gets, so we complied and removed four truckloads (packed high) of vegetation from the property. It was truly difficult to see years of growth removed in a matter of hours, and crammed into a truck bed to be hauled off. The butterflies and lizards hovered and scurried, and bees buzzed around the cut blooms in the truck, every one as if to say, "What's going on?". The garden became a butchered shade of itself... just like that, this beautiful certified wildlife habitat was gone.
Loss of biophelia
Over the next few days, we talked about this incident and the words of a friend surfaced. As we walked with him through our bamboo nursery weeks back, he mentioned something he called "loss of biophelia." Biophelia is by definition, "an innate love for the natural world, supposed to be felt universally by humankind." While this should be innate as the definition states, in our urban areas we have truly developed extreme "loss of biophelia." We're afraid of weeds, bugs, dirt, rain, wind, sun, and so much more. Many urban people never set foot on natural ground in the course of their day. It seems so strange, and yet it's a truly pervasive part of our culture.
What's the danger?
As we see it, the danger is quite real. We believe that humanity is part of this beautiful natural world. We sprang up from it; it nourishes and gives us physical life, and in the end, we pass back to it. Through our industrialized material-focused near past, we've become a culture of people who've separated ourselves from nature and used nature to our benefit, and in the process learned to disregard what consequences may await us. We've pushed forward in the name of progress, and though we've made many gains and VALUABLE gains at that, there truly is a price that's been paid. We've lost our connection to the very natural world that's yielded everything we've created and come to love.
Understanding the value of nature
And this is somewhat natural, as we're collectively an adolescent species. Parents of adolescent children know that no matter how much money or supplies (both necessary and luxurious) they furnish their children with, they may not get so much as a thank you for them. Many of us become much older adults, perhaps after marrying or having children of our own, before we realize the great sacrifices our parents made in order to raise us well. Sometimes it's not until the passing of that parent that all the lights go on and true gratitude is achieved.
While this may seem a tolerable process in human family life, we certainly can't allow ourselves to come to that place with planet Earth. It's vital to the safety of our future generations that we turn the bus around in good time. And I think it's this awareness that can help us make the switch into a more mature understanding of the true sacred value of our natural world.
So, what can we do?
We can reevaluate. We can learn to be truly grateful for what Earth offers us, and begin to participate with focused awareness in all that surrounds us. If you have a mango or lemon tree that doesn't seem to make fruit to feed you, it may be that pollinators are deficient in your neighborhood due to a lack of flowering plants. Plant some flowers. It may be that your soil is deficient. Bring in the insect and microbial life with some fresh compost, and top it off with organic natural mulch.
If you're on a board for your community, have this conversation with the other members. We love fruit. We love herbs, vegetables, flowers, honey, and all that nature has to offer! Therefore, let's get connected to that process.
- Ask the board to provide a community veggie space.
- Ask your schools to plant veggie and fruit gardens and get the kids involved.
- Go outside and play in the dirt.
- Commune with nature and talk to it.
- Feel the vital connection between this good green Earth and you!
How we can help
At Knoll Landscape Design, we're excited about creating not only gorgeous, aesthetically pleasing landscapes, but organic, flowering, aromatic, juicy, life-glorifying certified wildlife habitats. We want to help our neighbors in South Florida to see the intensely stunning natural tropical holy land that we're blessed to call home!
If there's any way we can assist you in getting the garden you desire, or help you to connect with your outdoor space, please let us know.
"The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quite alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature. As long as this exists, and it certainly always will, I know that there will always be comfort for every sorrow, whatever the circumstances may be. And I firmly believe that nature brings solace in all troubles."