The bug garden is growing nicely. The plants are a lot smaller than the garden for the humans because they were planted later and they don’t have the drip irrigation going to them yet. But they look pretty healthy and happy, and are getting bigger every day.
The funny part, though, is that there are no bugs in the bug garden. I’ve seen a couple of Glassy Winged Sharpshooters on a sunflower plant, but they don’t ever stay there. I’ve put some caterpillars on some of the plants, but none have appeared there on their own. While this sounds like it ought to be a source of frustration, seeing as how I did all that work to provide the bugs with a garden of their own, I actually find it rather amusing.
BUT… I understand why there are no bugs in the bug garden. There is a physical reason and a co-creative reason. The physical reason is that since the bug garden was planted significantly later than the garden for humans, the bug populations were already established in the garden for humans by the time the bug garden was planted. They like where they are and don’t want to leave it. This will be corrected in next year’s garden by making sure the bug garden is planted well ahead of the garden for humans.
The co-creative reason is that when humans undertake to make a very large change in the way we relate to nature, especially when it requires a sacrifice of some sort, our sincerity is often tested. Because nature doesn’t recognize a new reality in the dynamics of the relationship between humans and nature until it has been manifested in form.
So this year, I am demonstrating that I am sincere in my declaration that the bug garden is just for the bugs. This means that I let the bugs do whatever they want in this garden, including choosing to not be there. It is theirs, and they decide what happens there. Another way I demonstrate my sincerity is by not doing anything with the produce that grows in the bug garden. If I were to say, “Oh, that tomato looks amazing, it won’t hurt to take just one”, then I am breaking faith with the agreement I made with the bugs. Since the agreement was made by me and not by the bugs, I am the one who needs to demonstrate this sincerity. The bugs being in the garden that is for the humans is not a breach of this agreement.
This is something that I have some prior experience with. My experience with the mice in my kitchen, which I describe in this post from August, 2010, provides some background:
While there are still a lot of the sharpshooters in the garden for humans, the tomatoes that have been damaged by them seem to be starting to recover their health. There are very few Leaf Footed Bugs in the garden this year. There are a few species of bugs that suck plant juices that are new to me this year, and while they present something of a problem to the plants they are on, their numbers are not as wildly out of balance as the Sharpshooters are now, and the Leaf Footed Bugs have been in prior years. Spraying the plants with a garlic/hot pepper/SuperThrive mixture seems to help a lot.
This is the first year I’ve ever seen the Sharpshooters in the garden. And their numbers have been astonishing. I have been removing them from the sunflowers where they sleep at night by the dozens (and putting them in soapy water, which is in keeping with my agreement with the bugs), but it seems that the number of these creatures in the garden seems to always stay the same. My feeling about this is that they are new to the energy dynamic of the garden, and until they have been a part of the garden for at least one growing cycle, they will not be in balance with the garden dynamic.
As I wrote early on in this blog, this garden is, in keeping with the principles of co-creating with nature, an inclusive garden. All life is welcome in the garden. But the goal is balance. To bring into balance the energies of humans and nature, and to try to heal and repair the relationship between humans and nature. There is much that needs repair, and much healing that needs to be done. Every new challenge that I find myself facing in the garden, I take as an aspect of this relationship and its energy that has come up for healing. And when it is healed or repaired, then it will fade into the background so that another aspect can be worked on.
Providing the bugs with a place in the garden that is all their own is a healing of the energies that arise from the prevalent mindset that all bugs that are not “beneficial” in the garden are not welcome in it. Their place in the world is acknowledged and honored with the creation of their own place in the garden, while at the same time acknowledging the fact that humans have needs in the garden as well.
Here is the bug garden as it looks today on July 3rd