The Biodiverse Gardens

The Biodiverse Gardens

The Biodiverse Gardens, After an inspiring live about Biodiverse Gardens, I decided to write this article to tell you about how amazing it can be to bring biodiversity to the garden at home. We live in the country with the greatest biodiversity in the world! The variety of existing biomes in Brazil reflects an enormous wealth of flora and fauna: which translates into more than 20% of the total number of species on Earth. So why do we almost always opt for the same plants in landscaping, many of them exotic?

This permeates several issues, which even demonstrate the control that we humans want to exercise over nature. But what I really want is to encourage you to let go of the neat garden, all topped up, with the perfect lawn, to make room for a productive, biodiverse and functional garden: where ornamental plants, spices, vegetables, fruit trees, medicinal plants and unconventional food plants (PANC) can coexist in perfect harmony, bringing color, flavor, beauty and diverse aromas to your life.

Biome and wild plants

The first step for those who want to have a biodiverse garden is to observe the vocation of the backyard and the biome where it lives. Biome is the set of plant and animal life that encompasses all the biodiversity of a given region. In Brazil, there are five biomes: Amazon Forest, Cerrado, Atlantic Forest, Caatinga, Pampas and Pantanal, and in all these biomes, it is estimated that about 40% of endemic plants grow spontaneously – an endemic species is one that occurs only in a particular area or geographic region.

In practice, this means that, in your pots and beds, the spontaneous plants in the region where you live are probably already growing (or at least trying to grow) in the backyard – they are neglected, called weeds, weeds, pests; and so, we pull them mercilessly without knowing what they are for, and without understanding how they can be useful for the ecosystem that exists in the garden at home.

These spontaneous plants can be managed, bringing biodiversity to the garden – many are medicinal and nutritional, rich in nutrients and phytoactives that we will hardly have access to just eating lettuce and arugula. PANC (non-conventional food plants) manifest themselves all the time everywhere: vacant lots, backyards, vegetable gardens, orchards, in vases, in cracks in the sidewalks… to allow them to manifest is to bring biodiversity to the garden and for our everyday food.

Another benefit of maintaining biodiversity in the garden is the natural protection that is established against pests and diseases. Pests hate gardens with a variety of species, scents and colors. They prefer monoculture, that is, beds and other planting areas that contain a single or few species. Want to protect plants from unwanted pets? Get inspired by grandma’s garden: varied, colorful, full of medicinal and aromatic plants.

The Biodiverse Gardens

Seasonality in the garden

nasturtium (tropaelum majus)

Biodiversity also permeates the seasonality of nature and the plants that are born at certain times of the year. These plants come and go, bringing with them the possibility of eating seasonally. They are born from time to time, sow, die and return the next year. This is the case with purslane, purple almeirão, caruru, mastruço, crepe-do-japan, jabuti grass, pennyroyal grass, among many others.

It is possible to sow the seasonal plants. the nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus), for example, looks wonderful in the garden. It is an annual herb that can be used as a vine or hanging plant. Just sow it or plant it just once to have it growing for a long time in pots, basins and beds. Nasturtium is a perennial plant, edible from head to toe, which prefers the mildest seasons of the year: autumn, winter and spring. In summer, it can disappear, and when we least expect it, it reappears driven by the cold days – beautiful, exuberant, with its flowers that range from red, orange and yellow. The flowers have a watercress flavor and are slightly spicy.

Ornamental plants

It’s time to get to know the native plants and give preference to species that belong to the biome in which the garden is located. As we said in the live, Brazil has the greatest biodiversity on the planet. Just imagine how many varieties of native plants are perfectly suited to any type of landscaping. However, what we commonly see are gardens full of exotic plants or always with the same species, which often results in a sterile, high maintenance and monotonous garden.

Ornamental plants, in addition to fulfilling the mission of bringing beauty to landscaping, can go further. Here I leave suggestions for native and exotic plants that will be a great success in your garden, as they all have edible parts: hibiscus, dahlias, camellia, pansy, some species of daylilies, eleven-hour, ora-pro-nobis, taioba, lily do brejo, impatiens, turmeric, jambu, carqueja, celosia, arrowroot, peixinho da horta, purslane, blue gervão, and so on. Remember: before eating out in your garden, you need to research or consult a PANC specialist.

Rosemary (exotic) and gervão-azul (spontaneous), living in harmony.

vegetable garden and orchard The Biodiverse Gardens

Who has a backyard at home, has gold! Instead of grass, plant food. There are countless varieties of fruit trees native to Brazil: araçá, pitanga, jabuticaba, ingá, passion fruit, butiá, gabiroba, cambuí, cajá, cashew, açaí, acerola… PANC manifest. In addition to saving on the market, you guarantee the origin of these foods – food security.

The herb spiral is a great way to have a large variety of herbs and vegetables in a small space. In addition to giving a beautiful and rustic aesthetic to the Permaculture-inspired garden.

The biodiverse garden is an oasis for pollinators, and if located in large urban centers, it will help butterflies, hummingbirds, bees and birds to find food in the city. It’s just joy for all the beings that live there.

Bringing biodiversity close to us is experiencing a new form of gardening, and not only that: it is contributing to a more ecological, conscious and balanced world.

Now it’s your turn to get your hands on the earth and start your biodiverse garden. For Raquel Patro and I we developed an e-book on organic fertilization, which you can download for free at this link And remember to share this article with your friends.

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