Skip to main content

Balcony Garden Visitor and Biodiversity

While out checking on my morning glories and doing a general tour of the balcony plants with a cup of coffee, I spotted this very cool butterfly (or moth). I've got a volunteer tomato plant that is roaming about near the morning glories, and it took me some moments to notice his (or her) camouflaged self. (Clearly, it's time to start learning the names of my flying and crawling neighbors.)

It's a real pleasure to find more wildlife on the balcony, and it reminds me of one of the many reasons I love growing things. Growing my food is easily my number one reason for having plants on the balcony as well as in the garden, but flowers and herbs are just as important to me. A garden (or a farm, for that matter) benefits from the beauty of blooms of all types and assorted leafy matter. Beneficial insects - pollinators and predators alike - settle in the leafy spots for the little buffet those blooms create, and any pests that settle on nearby crops.

Supporting such biodiversity isn't just for the folks at Nagoya's COP10 Conference, but it's for gardeners, farmers, and everyday folks, too. We rely on these little ones to give us the food we eat everyday, the medicines we rely on when we or our loved ones are ill, as well as for our clothing and shelter. It's also not difficult. Setting out a potted plant - large or small, many or few - or tending a garden is lending a helping hand and being, in a small way, part of a bigger picture.

Comments

Lisa Ueda said…
Aww, what a cute butterfly, I love how mottled and caramel it looks :)
Me, too, Lisa! His looks were an excellent camouflage. I'm hopeful he/she and his/her friends will find plenty of places to snuggle down on our balcony.
fer said…
More nice butterflies, I wish my garden would get them as well, but I think the strong wind deter them to much
What a beautiful creature!
He was lovely, Amy. And now there's a bundle of birds flying about, too. I don't remember such a busy fall last year, but I'm enjoying it immensely.
fer, how high up do you live? I wonder if you created some kind of sheltered space for them if they would settle in a bit?

Popular posts from this blog

Finding Heirloom Seeds in Japan

Drying pods of heirloom Hutterite Soup Beans. Since moving to Japan eight years ago, one of my greatest challenges as a farmer-gardener has been to find heirloom or open-pollinated seeds. The majority of seeds available are not GMO (genetically modified organisms) as Japan, at this point, doesn't accept this material. Most seeds, though, are nearly all F1 varieties. Heirloom and F1 Varieties In plant breeding, F1 is the name given to the first generation of a cross between two true breeding parents. For example, if I decide to cross an Amish Paste Tomato with another heirloom variety tomato such as Emmy, in hopes of getting a gold paste tomato, the resulting generation of fruit is F1. In order to get that tomato of my culinary dreams, I'll need to choose members of that first generation that are headed in a direction I like - early ripening, medium-sized fruit, good taste - and save their seeds. I'll plant them and repeat the process again and again over time unti

Satoimo: One of Japan's Favorite Slimy Things

Satoimo in all their hairy glory. This post first appeared in slightly different form on Garden to Table as part of the 2012  Blogathon . The website has since moved on to the ether, but the post is still a good one. After all, people here are still eating satoimo on a daily basis, and many others are just seeing these little potato-like objects for the first time. Enjoy! Satoimo is one of Japan's odder vegetables. Under it's rough, slightly furry skin is white flesh that is a little bit slimy even raw, and with a gentle nutty flavor.* Baked, grilled, steamed with dashi, or deep-fried satoimo stands well on its own or paired up with other vegetables and meats in a wide variety of soups and stews . (The leaves are also edible.) Satoimo stores well, and like any root crop worth the effort, stocks are just running low on this household favorite as the farmers in my area of Tokyo get ready to put a new crop in the ground in May. I cannot say I was a fan of this l

Goma Ai Shingiku - Sesame and Chrysanthemum Greens

Last week I had the pleasure of helping some friends work in their parents garden not too far away. Tucked behind the house, the garden sits on a former house lot. When it came up for sale about five years ago, my friend's father jumped at the chance. Open land in Tokyo can be hard to find and expensive, but for a retired professional looking for a little spot to till in the city it was an opportunity to good to pass up. Now, it is a garden to envy. As we came through the gate rose, lily, and peony blooms greeted us with great shouts of color while rows of vegetables stood tidily at attention on the sunny center stage. Small fruit trees along with one of the biggest sansho trees I've seen yet stood quietly here and there. Near waist-high sweet corn, bushy young potato plants, cherry tomatoes, eggplants, and beans were preparing their summer fruits, while a handful of still quite luscious looking winter vegetables like komatsuna, mizuna, and kabu held one last ro