Date of this Version
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, MS Entomology Master’s Project. 2021
A garden can be a special place of relaxation and a corridor from which one can connect with the natural world and observe the complex relationships among the many organisms that make it their home. These organisms include a vast array of insects that contribute to the diversity of even the smallest garden. We purchased an unassuming house in a quiet Southern California suburban neighborhood that included about half an acre of property made up of mostly lawn and a dense menagerie of backyard shrubs and trees on a steep hillside, along with a pond that was in desperate need of attention. The property had great promise, although not without some significant work to restore the long-neglected landscaping and expand the planting areas for new plants. The first stage in the transformation involved the complete removal of the backyard lawn. This was replaced by multiple, large, curved planting beds with gravel paths that nicely tied into the already existing patio. Many of the original plants and trees, especially those on the hillside were severely distorted or dead due to girdling by abandoned staking and rope left on the scrubs and trees. Most of these plants had to be removed. Since much of the hillside included steep sections and poor chalky soil, the addition of significant amounts of organic compost and soil amendments were necessary, which was followed by building numerous natural stone walls of varying heights. This created new terraces available for planting and reduced the possibility for erosion. The total amount of stone was approximately 10 tons, and all of it was hand carried up the hillside. Finally, the garden was thoughtfully planted with an assortment of annual and perennial plants along with deciduous and evergreen trees to create a landscape design arranged in layers of staggered heights. The term ‘garden’ refers not merely to a planting of vegetables, but the entire landscape with large groupings of the same species arranged to create a blended view of unique textures, shapes, and colors.