University of Connecticut Cooperative Extension System: Water Quality and the Home Landscape

Sustainable Landscaping: Bio-diverse Gardens

by Carl Salsedo, Ph.D.

Extension Educator, Horticulture

The glue that holds it all together.

By now you probably have an idea of what biodiversity is all about and why it is of concern to all of us. On a local scale, because of the activities of modern culture, agriculture, land clearing, logging, suburban development and expansion, biodiversity of all species is decreasing. Extrapolate to a larger scale, on a global level it is occurring so rapidly that all types of species and environments are collapsing at an alarming rate.

Why are a diversity of plant and animal species important? Pretend that you are flying thirty thousand feet over the earth. It's a sunny day and you are able to look out your window seat to the wing of the airplane. It's a clear blue day and the world seems perfect. Suddenly, the wing begins to vibrate as the plane hits a turbulent area .The captain turns on the seat belt sign and announces that we will be passing through an area of high winds for a few minutes or so not to worry.

Well think of the air turbulence as the environment in which we all live. Each of our yards and gardens are a tiny microcosm of the whole plane. What are really holding that plane together as one unit are the millions of rivets. Those small units of metal play a crucial role with the integrity and well being of that plane. As soon as the rivets weaken, from structural damage or defects, parts of the plane can weaken as the rivets pop out eventually affecting the well being of the whole plane.

So, think of your garden and landscape much as the rivets that hold that plane together. Think of them as gardens that act like nature and promote a healthy environment. A bio-diverse landscape supports a wide variety of life, from plants and animals, to insects and beneficial pollinators. Seeding a garden with a wide variety of plants is critical to its own resiliency and possibly to our own as well. It's the glue that holds it all together.

A mix of plants and plant communities encourages a diversity of plants and animals in a typical suburban landscape

Sustainable Landscaping:
Bio-diverse Gardens