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Opinion: Bill Walton, Pollinator

Plants are just like people – we need to pollinate in order to reproduce.
20220523 tenting walton

I thought I was doing a great thing by turning my scrawny lawn into a pollinator garden/refuge: no pesticides, no herbicides, less watering, no gas mower, and no worries about chinch bugs.

Taking suggestions from the World Wildlife Fund, Nature Conservancy, the Green Party, and David Suzuki as well as the Don’t Mow in May, June, July & August people, I scattered some wildflower seeds in the area in front of my house. I supplemented these with crocus, daffodils, tulips, hyacinths, and some perennial bulbs whose names I forget.  I even added some lupin seeds harvested from along the roadside north of Powassan. Mom Nature added her own favourites like buttercups and daisies via bird droppings, wind, and some flowering ground cover that may have come from a domesticated garden down the street.

Already this spring the migrating sparrows have been through the yard, the bees, wasps and flies have found something to sip from the flowers, and the butterflies have been visiting, especially the wild violets. The ants have been busy but ignoring my warnings to stay off the pavers in the driveway. Isn’t nature wonderful?

Well, perhaps not to Councillor Bill.

See: Council approves tougher fines to enforce clean yards by-law

It seems that Bill and his cohorts want to decapitate any grasses or weeds whose heads stick up more than 20 cm. Grasses is a rather generic term at best, and one man’s weed is a pollinator’s flower or snack bar. Already my lupins have exceeded Bill’s 20 cm, and I know darn well that the mulleins (a fall favourite of the finches) will grow to at least 75 cms. Heaven forfend that the few goldenrods on the upper level shoot up over 20 cm. Those cosmoses will definitely hit 60 cms.

I can appreciate how Bill wants to clean up old cars, defunct trailers, wrecked equipment like snowmobiles, rusty bicycles, stained mattresses, construction debris, tired tires and so forth, but my pollinator garden? Perhaps he was thinking, but not mentioning anything about the mess on Cassells that is no doubt home to vermin and varmints as well as an eyesore to local people and visitors, but in the age of bees dying off, let us lend them a helping hand, not cut off their food supply and green-over their habitat.

This pollination thing is critical to our food supply according to my vegan friends as well as a few botanists, biologists and other scientists. As well as to the people who put seeds in packages so we can plant beans, cucumbers, radishes, onions, lettuce, and importantly – wildflower seeds. Plants are just like people – we need to pollinate in order to reproduce.

This brings me to another related news article about some people in the Tent City pollinating in public.

See: New homeless tent city stresses out downtown residents

Maybe our councillors should be showing as much effort in fixing bylaws concerning homeless people (are they really homeless if they have a tent?) and finding a proper place where they can camp out without upsetting the people with homes.

We could at least give them a latrine pit and let them shower in the sprinkler systems at our parks. You know, nothing too fancy for these dandelions of society lest we attract more of them to our pollinator gardens. Of course, we would have to regulate these homeless people, like having the Bylaw Officer go around with his 20 cm ruler, looking for weeds or weed.

I ought to check the political platforms to see if there is a candidate who will advocate for the Freedom to grow plants for the pollinators. Maybe we could organize a lawnmower protest at City Hall. Granted, a riding mower is not as impressive as an 18-wheeler, but still . . .

Bill Walton

About the Author: Bill Walton

retired from City of North Bay in 2000writer, poet, columnist
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