|Broad leaf or Greater plantain (Plantago Major - Plantain Majeur in French, Llantén Mayor in Spanish). In this picture, it's growing through grass and clover. The seed stalks and broad, shiny, spoon-shaped leaves are clearly visible.|
Human reality may appear quite clear but when it comes to the true state of affairs, it's not as black and white. Plantain does have the unfortunate habit - unredeemable for some - of colonizing the manucured lawn with speed and zest. But it also as the precious quality of being there - anywhere - for first aid needs. Its formidable efficiency against stings from wasps, bees and mosquitoes and skin rash due to plants like nettle (Urtica) or poison ivy should make it a keeper.
|The stalk is full of green-brown seeds|
almost ready for a potential
Wasps do contribute greatly to the polinisation of plants, just like bees. Moreover, they are also fierce predators of other insects, insects that are considered pests by gardeners. Some species are regular hunters but others are parasitoid - laying their eggs inside the bodies of these pests (if you want all the gory details, check this link, meanwhile just know that the horror movie Alien was based on this type of insect behaviour). Of course, when we just received a sting from them, the only facet we can think of is how bothersome they are - still, this is where plantain comes to our rescue.
Hélène : Wasps have a reputation for being more agressive than bees. One of the reasons for that behavior is that bees, when they sting you, tear off their stinger, ripping up their abdomen, which cause them to die in the process. Not so with wasps ; they can sting you as many times as they like. This makes the bee less enclined to sting. She will only do this if she really feels threatened, it is indeed a last resort act of defense. That's why bees in my garden and me, we live together really well. Indeed, in my 5 years of gardening with them - this includes me leaning on their nests, which are located in the wood of one of my raised bed, to reach some part of my garden - I was never stung. I'm talking about it in this article.
|This amazing nest, made out of chewed wood paste, is the residence of white-tailed hornets (or white-faced hornets - Dolichovespula Maculata). Their heads have white spots and their abdomens are stripes black and white. The nest grew throughout summer, close to our garden. In winter, the only survivors will be the queen and her retinue of young, pregnant females. In spring the nest will be abandonned and each survivor (queen and princesses) will go out on a quest to establish a new nest.|