Plants, Life, Bugs and Beauty

May 7th, 2010 by Tim Eian

You can build a sustainable, energy efficient, healthy, home that will contribute to a lifestyle that is economical, carbon neutral and comfortable but you might be killing all the bugs! What has made me so excited about the Passive House in the Woods project is that we are not killing the bugs, or the soil, or the existing trees, shrubs, plants and sedges, or the water.  You are probably wondering – “so bugs are a hassle why are they so important?”

Douglas W. Tallamy wrote a book “Bringing Nature Home” published by Timber Press He describes the ecology of native plants and how critical plants and bugs are to life. All our food comes from plants (even if you eat animals, those animals eat plants!). If we don’t have bugs plants are not pollinated and flowers, fruit, and our food don’t grow. Bugs make soil alive and all plants live in soil. Can you start to see just how important bugs are? No bugs, No plants, No food, No life.

This is a pretty brief description of the connection between bugs and life, and I would encourage you to explore further. It will help change your perception of landscape, gardening, our environment and finally beauty.

This brings us to a point where we need to reconsider and actually relearn what we think about beautiful.  I believe an environment that supports life and is thriving, healthy, and sustainable must be a place where abundant populations of insects exist.  This kind of landscape will not look like the gardens and lawns we have come to expect in our world. Look at a landscape or garden that has been designed full of native plants and trees, where no herbicide or insecticide has been used to control weeds or bugs. See a place that is sustaining life, a bug’s life, your life.

This garden, at first glance, might seem a little messy or unplanned but we can learn, we must learn, to love how it looks because it is life and life is beautiful.

Laurie McRostie is the landscape architect for the Passive House in the Woods project.