Feast or Famine?

All, From the Field

While visiting the Tech Centre at Glenwood Gardens the other day, something shimmering in the sunshine caught my eye outside the lunch room window. Flying insects were swarming thickly above the boxwood shrubs in the landscape bed next to the building. Upon closer inspection, I saw a spider web thickly covered with insects, which I identified as adult boxwood leafminers. These insects had recently emerged and were mating to lay eggs for another generation in the boxwood hedges.

Although I looked around the web and surrounding area for the lucky spider, I was not able to find one. In my mind I envisioned the spider collapsed against a boxwood branch with a full belly and indigestion. The number of insects adorning that web was truly impressive and was a classic example of the term “embarrassment of riches.” If you think about it, nature has provided us with many examples of periodic over-abundances of food sources that help animals accumulate the nourishment needed to survive lean years or diminished prey availability. Think back to when you saw raccoons, mice or birds gorging themselves on hordes of periodic cicadas or adult Mayfly hatches. That same scenario was in progress at Glenwood Gardens this week.

I was able to see and enjoy this spectacle simply by being aware and stopping to take a closer look. Opportunities like this one can present themselves to us each day in our Great Parks. By all means, please stop to smell the roses – but also see what else might be going on right under your nose!

Dan Shaw, North District Superintendent