The Importance of Mimicking Nature

| Native Plants
Golden Alexanders in bloom

By Danny Barron.

Careful observation can teach us so much about what works and what doesn’t.  You can observe and learn what plant communities will thrive together.  You can learn about the interactions between species.

One lesson that Nature has had to repeatedly grind into me, is that efficiency is important and massed plantings work.

Recently, I was watching my Golden Alexanders (Zizia aurea).  I’m fond of the plant because it is a host plant to at least two swallowtail butterfly species and an early bloomer that provides pollen and nectar to the pollinators.  I have quite a few of them and they’ve started self-sowing a bit as well.  I noticed that where I have one plant, there’s not much going on.  However, where I planted 3-5 in a clump, they’re simply buzzing.

It makes obvious sense that pollinators would appreciate an abundant smorgasbord versus a single oasis in the food desert.  Nature doesn’t work toward widely scattered individuals of most species but toward colonies.