Recently, I heard someone ask a few of his friends the following question: "Why do we need shrubs?"
Now, that's an interesting question. And it got me to thinking about other "why's" I've thought of through the years. For instance:
Why do we have snakes?
I know that snakes are supposed to be the magic bullet for controlling certain rodent populations and feeding certain other populations in the animal kingdom. But can somebody tell me why there has to be over 3,000 different species and sub-species of snakes in the world? I realize that many people relate the "serpent" of the creation story to the modern day snake, but that doesn't explain why we need so many of them.
Imagine taking off for a walk in the woods with nobody having to say "Watch for snakes ..." or jumping into a seldom-used lake or flooded quarry with nobody having remind you to "Watch for snakes ..." or walking along the bank of some long-forgotten fishing whole with nobody having to shout "WATCH FOR SNAKES!" And wouldn't it be wonderful to be able to pick up rocks (there are a lot of rocks on the farm) without having to be extra careful about "watching for snakes."
You can probably tell, but I'm not much into snakes. In fact, you can have every last one of them if you'd care to round them up. But mind you, don't look to me for help. I'll be the one waving goodbye while mumbling "Why snakes? Why snakes? Why snakes?"
Here's another question (asked more than a few times by my son):
Why do we have spiders?
I know there is a myth out there somewhere that spiders are excellent at controlling certain populations of insects around the world. But can someone tell me why we need 28,000 different and unique species and sub-species of spiders?
There are a few more: why mosquitoes?; why wasps?; why hornets?; why ticks? I think you get my drift.
Back to the original topic of this column ... shrubs. There are, conservatively, about 250 different and unique species of shrubs. Shrubs are used for everything from landscape beautification to delineating property boundaries, and from providing natural ground cover to providing natural insect repellant or attraction.
Why do we need shrubs? Well ... can you tell me why we need snakes?