This was originally published in the Nov/Dec 2008 newsletter of the chapter, written by an anonymous contributor:
In these newsletters we usually discuss topics for upcoming speakers, not those from previous meetings. But the recent presentation (at our September 18, 2008 general meeting for 85 people) by Mike Evans made some important points that are worth emphasizing.
He talked about the experiences of modern children, growing up in a structured, high-density urban milieu. They get plenty of exposure to television and video games—but what about the world of growing plants? For some, there may be no exposure whatever. Others are limited to controlled and artificial environments such as gated developments or industrial “parks.” An amazing number of kids—and adults as well—have no knowledge of even the existence of natural habitats here in Orange County.
Mike believes that this has created a void in the kinds of experiences and interactions that are a necessary part of childhood development. We owe our kids more, and he suggests that one solution is the establishment of backyard habitats; microcosms where they can observe growth, pollination, and other natural events. The small details of even a pocket garden—with its plants, insects, birds and even soil and rocks—provide a laboratory in miniature.
Gardens, he says, are not just to be looked at—they must also be experienced. This kind of interaction happens when a gardener—young or old—becomes not just an observer, but also a participant in the ongoing spontaneity of a native habitat, no matter how small.
Without lecturing, he bolstered his argument with photographs of the hummingbirds, butterflies, and the various other insects that find a home in a natural garden. His scenes capture the interaction between intimate gardens and the children who live in them.
A home garden is a world to be experienced—up close and personal.