Here in Ogunquit we have a bee, butterfly and bird garden, a gift to the town, on the Marginal Way. The idea is that this garden, planted with sweet fern, butterfly weed and cone flowers among other plants, will attract these insects and birds, a noble plan.
However, it’s not clear to me if pesticides – organic, hopefully, given out chemical pesticide ordinance – are used on this garden. Certainly the surrounding properties, homes on the Marginal Way, and currently,
a sweeping lawn behind this garden that will soon have a home built upon it, use pesticides to maintain their gorgeous green lawns and flower gardens.
But a pesticide is a pesticide, chemical or organic – the purpose of both is to kill or disrupt the growth of insects – including those that this butterfly garden is designed to attract, and if there are no insects, there will be no birds.
Are there enough contiguous plants along the Marginal Way that are pesticide free? Well, yes, all of the plants, a great many of these Rosa Rugosas, along the ocean side of the pathway should be pesticide free.
Are these enough to create enough pesticide free plants for bees, birds and butterflies to find food?
We walk the Marginal Way almost daily and have yet to see butterflies on this garden – we have seen one on a milkweed plant some yards south of the garden, so perhaps there is a contiguous pesticide free garden lining the Marginal Way.
But is the butterfly garden pesticide free? That is the question. The larger question is that if you are going to have a pesticide free zone, don’t you have to guarantee a continuous ‘pesticide free belt’, like the ‘green belts’ in many of our cities, as well?