|View from a St. Petersburg balcony.|
Wouldn't a few potted plants be nice?
Balconies should be mini-gardens. I thought this was obvious. When I stepped out on the balcony at my parents' new condo in Florida, after admiring the view, I said, "It would be nice to have some plants out here." I already was envisioning an enjoyable trip to the nursery. What interesting subtropical plants would I find? Perhaps a saw palmetto would be nice. And some flowering Florida natives.
So I was unprepared when my Dad said, "Plants are discouraged here."
What?! Why would anyone discourage having plants?
"Plants attract insects."
This remark stunned me to silence.
I thought, "So? Why is that bad?"
At home, I see myself as a steward of a woodland garden that is friendly to insects and wildlife. (With an exclusion policy for deer.) Insects are a vital part of the food chain and eaten in large numbers by birds. And birds thrive in our garden. Last summer I counted 27 species that are regular visitors to the garden.
But how do I begin to explain my deep belief in living in harmony with all living creatures? Underlying my Dad's comment is the dominant view in our culture - insects are dirty and repulsive and to be excluded from our properties. So much so that we as a culture have been willing to poison our soil and water to eradicate insects that we find to be a nuisance. At least my Dad's prevention program is more peaceable - just exclude plants.
Oh, but when will we learn to love the web of life of which we all depend?