This is a response to Michele’s question about what is wrong with mulching: What Dr. Laurence Packer, the bee guy from York U, was objecting to last Saturday was exactly the kind of mulching most real gardeners hate as well: huge wood chips smothering the soil, packed up around perennials, trees and shrubs. It’s supremely ugly, but worse, it covers up the dry holes that many bees like to nest in. This further destruction of a pollinator’s habitat is one we can avoid.?I invited Dr. Packer to come on over to my garden and I’d show him how a real gardener mulches. ?Number one: I would never mulch when pollinators are out and about looking for sustenance in spring—it?s way too early. Spending lots of time in the garden makes you more observant about what pollinators are up to. And when they’ve finished nesting, we can start mulching.?Real gardeners mulch with organic matter: leaves, compost, manure and it’s not only local it’s probably from our own gardens. This is material a bee can get through but usually we don’t have enough mulch so the soil is not going to be completely covered anyway. In autumn we wait until there’s a hard frost?and all these little guys have gone to ground. We have to live with them so we have to work our gardening around their health. Without bees we all die. ?I think most real gardeners understand this fact.
Suzuki made one of many good observations: ?if we die, all living things on earth will flourish; but if?ants disappear, then all growing things and certainly will disappear completely. So have a little respect for the tiny creatures. ?And watch what they are up to these days.