The fumes of hundreds of buses and cars fill the hazy air. The fine, sandy grit of the asphalt breaking away with every passing tire, swirls around the ground. Along the front of my studio we extend an invitation to nature by planting a mix of plants in carved out spaces of the concrete sidewalk. Daily it is a hum of bees, hummingbirds and birds flitting in an out. On our gritty urban street in downtown Tacoma, nature just happens.
There are also Linden trees (Tilia) planted in holes along the curb with their base encased by a heavy metal grate. The Lindens are there to perform as their nondescript name of “street trees.” Most would only know them by the shade they cast over a car on a hot summer day. Taking time, over the past weeks to look closer, the trees are shimmering with the sticky goo of aphids. Most of the leaves are a glossed over mess as the debris of the urban street sticks to them.
But something happens this time of year as it always does-the ladybugs come to the rescue.
Right now the two trees are filled with ladybugs in all stages of life, from the sweet little speckled girls to the odd-looking larvae. The lindens have attracted a feast for them. Ladybugs (and their young) are voracious eaters of aphids and will lay their eggs where aphids are abundant so that the hatching larvae will have a good source of food. This is all a real sense of how nature is when allowed to just do and be the amazing nurturer of itself. The disruption is more our human touch applying chemicals and concoctions to stop what we don’t want to see, in this case the sticky aphid remnants. But in our little corner of the world, in unforgiving conditions not known to be a garden, we don’t intervene-we invite. Sometimes, it just takes patience to let nature intercede.