Wildlife: the power of a name

Gardening for others is so much more rewarding, particularly when you know their names

Ladybird climbing up stem
A ladybird, alas I didn’t count the spots

Benjamin Vogt’s @BRVogt article Native Plants, Racism, & the Colonizing Nature of Garden Language is thought provoking stuff.

when we learn the names of fauna in our gardens – spider, beetle, bee, and wasp – we learn their life cycles and what they need to thrive

This idea of wildlife gardening for everyone and everything is the title of @Kate_Bradbury’s excellent book. It pulls the focus back, away from a narrow human aesthetic and toward a new garden ethic.

To this end, I am going to start cataloguing the creatures I come by and I will start to learn their names. It’s going to be a bit painful as I have panoramic blindspots in the natural world but I shall persevere and honestly, it will be more for my benefit than anyone else.

I do think it’s an interesting use of language, a liberating use rather than one of containment. As Vogt puts it so eloquently

naming is considered a classic act of ownership in environmental philosophy, in this case naming may be a gateway to equality

On with the animals

In order of appearance in just a few hours gardening. I will fill in the names at a later date!

Blurry photo of little critter on soil

Is this some sort of Devil’s Coach Horse?

Stripy snail on soil

A snail, a stripey snail

Blurry photo of ant on soil

A black ant

Ladybird crawling up stem

A ladybird

A fly on black plastic

A fly, not sure what kind, very fly like

A ladybird on green rounded leaf

Another ladybird!

A toad crawling up soil

A toad! Bufos bufos being the scientific name

A woodlouse on soil

A lovely woodlouse, slightly stripey

I also saw:

  • Short legged daddy long legs
  • Medium-small spider with stripes along abdomen
  • Crow
  • Jackdaw
  • Wood pigeon
  • Seagull

So, my next step is to find their full names, and then find out what they eat, where they nest, what their babies eat. To help me with that task, there is the excellent UK Database of Insects and their Food Plants.

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