Mutualism is one of the words that scientists use to describe the mutually beneficial relationship between many animals and plants. If bird talk could be translated to human languages, we might hear a songbird tell a flowering plant, "Let me eat your seeds, and I'll spread them far and wide."
Similarly, flowering plants produce nectar and pollen that feed butterflies, honeybees, hummingbirds and other small wildlife. In return, these animals help insure the survival of species by carrying pollen from one plant to another.
Even lowly snails and slugs have a role in the garden although we gardeners may think their job is simply to frustrate us by leaving holes in foliage. Yet they consume leaf mold and other organic detritus on the soil and fertilize plants in the process.
And frogs, one of our favorite forms of wildlife, love to snack on these crunchy, slimy creatures along with other tiny insects. Beneficial spiders, also in search of insect meals, are another balancing agent in the web of plant and predator life in gardens and greenhouses.
At Flowers by the Sea, we can't help but pay close attention to ecosystems and the helpful role that small wildlife play in life on a horticultural farm. So we like to give them their due in our All Things Salvia blog where you will find articles including how to identify the source of leaf nibbles, why deer don't enjoy eating sages and serious problems with migration and food supplies for pollinators.
We also like to encourage our customers to grow plants that will provide habitat for small wildlife, which is another reason why we post "Sage Words About Wildlife" stories in our blog.
Plant Milkweeds, and you provide food and lodging for Monarch butterfly babies. Plant a mass of Salvias, and you create a fill-up station for butterflies, honeybees, hummingbirds, hoverflies and who knows what other helpful insect that wanders by. You welcome and encourage nature.