If there was a prize for Worst Business or Office Landscaping in my hometown, it would surely go to the AAA office around the corner from my house. It’s just a strip of dirt around the edges of a parking lot, and it wouldn’t be too hard to fill it up with something tough and long-lived and evergreen. But instead it’s a mismash of small trees, shriveled and out-of-place rhododendrons, unsuccessful groundcovers, and weeds. From time to time a landscape crew comes by, sprays something gross on the trees, and covers the ground with gorilla hair. Ugh.
And there’s this one Baccharis pilularis, or coyote bush. It’s a scrubby California native that only a native plant fanatic could love. Dull, dark green leaves, little cottony flowers (depending on the sex), and–well, that’s it It’s not showy or pretty or decorative in any way. Who would want a shrub like this?
About a bazillion different bugs, that’s who. I walk past this shrub every day, and let me tell you, this thing hums. It vibrates. It buzzes all day long. When you walk down the sidewalk, you can actually hear it getting louder as you get closer. You could take a science class on a field trip just to visit this one shrub. I have never seen so many bugs in one place in my life. Flies, bees, wasps, beetles, little tiny almost invisible something-or-others–really, this shrub is like a bug condo. Coyote bush, as it turns out, plays hosts to hundreds of native bug species, making it an incredibly important plant in terms of biodiversity.
So, AAA: Your landscaping sucks. It just does. Fix it up, will you? But whatever you do, don’t take out the bug zoo, no matter how ugly it is.Posted by Amy Stewart on October 13, 2008 at 9:48 am, in the category It's the Plants, Darling.