Fredericton man ‘gives back to nature’ with bee and butterfly oasis in his yard


Rhett Wyntjes has a factor for the birds and the bees.

The Fredericton resident has barely touched his push garden mower since transferring into his south facet house 4 years in the past. It’s so he can shield wildlife and have a protected area for butterflies, floor bees and different bugs.

“Once you recover from the concern of, ‘What are the neighbours going to assume?’ you are effective,” stated Wyntjes, standing in entrance of what he calls assortment of vegetation. 

“It may develop into the joke of the neighbourhood.”

Rhett Wyntjes does not do a lot to his garden. And he is pleased with it. (Elizabeth Fraser/CBC)

Dwarf juniper was the primary plant he ever planted — and his out of doors pastime grew from there.

He collects all the pieces from pumpkins, creeping thyme, tulips, magnolia, rose bushes, lupine to lilies, black-eyed Susans, poppy vegetation and white pine bushes — his favorite. 

The Fredericton resident unfold milkweed seedlings throughout his property to feed the endangered monarch butterfly. (Elizabeth Fraser/CBC)

There are additionally 40 evergreen that run alongside his property line, creating a complete different space for the wild bees to stay in. There’s additionally mint in the yard, which Wynjtjes claims may provide the complete metropolis of Fredericton. 

His yard is his manner of giving back to nature.

“Here’s my little nationwide park throughout the metropolis of Fredericton and I’m fending away the garden mowers on both facet,” stated Wynjtjes, who’s in the navy and has a background in wildlife administration. 

This man’s unmowed garden is a haven for critters

Rhett Wyntjes hasn’t mowed his Fredericton garden in years as a part of a private effort to give back to nature. 1:47

He is aware of a lot of the vegetation by coronary heart. For others, he retains a plant label in the bottom close by as a reminder.

Wyntjes has scattered wildflower seeds and milkweed seedlings throughout his property to appeal to monarch butterflies, an endangered species that travels to Eastern Canada and the United States from Mexico.

A rose bush discovered on the facet of Wyntjes’s house in Fredericton. (Elizabeth Fraser/CBC)

He’s additionally planning to plant blackberry and raspberry bushes to add to “the oasis” in coming years. 

“Our lovely golf course lawns look very nice however they’re an enormous useful resource suck with water and mowing,” stated Wyntjes, who grew up on a farm in Red Deer, Alta.

“It does completely nothing for the wildlife.”

‘Messy lawns are nice’

Jess Vickruck, a Fredericton entomologist for Agriculture Canada, stated there can be tons of of various species on Wyntjes’s property, together with a wide range of floor bees that fluctuate in measurement.

A glimpse into Wyntjes’s yard. (Elizabeth Fraser/CBC)

Most of them are small and nest in the bottom, dig their very own tunnels and nest below twigs.

Vickruck stated the butterflies would additionally depend on the flowers Wyntjes has planted to acquire pollen and nectar to survive. 

Wyntjes stated he spends loads of time weeding the creeping thyme in entrance of his house. (Elizabeth Fraser/CBC)

“We have this form of cultural stress to preserve, what everybody thinks, are fairly lawns,” she stated.

“From an insect’s perspective, messy lawns are nice.”  

The want for bugs

But why not simply do away with the bugs?

Vickruck stated bugs assist with pollination, which in flip assist meals crops develop. Other animals like birds, depend on these tiny bugs as a meals supply.

“Everything is linked,” stated Vickruck, who additionally has a background in wild bee biology.

“You shift across the availability of organisms at any a part of that meals internet, there are repercussions that cascade in all places.”

A lupin discovered in entrance of Wyntjes’s home. (Elizabeth Fraser/CBC)

Wyntjes’s spouse is not as enthusiastic in regards to the pure look — notably with the additional visits from ants, chipmunks, groundhogs and raccoons. But she’s coming round, particularly with all of the totally different floral colors popping up in spring. 

One of the blueberry bushes discovered on Wyntjes’s property. (Elizabeth Fraser/CBC)

“So lengthy as we get to mow a bit of bit across the edges and form of hold it contained a bit, she’s on board.”

As a joke, he tells her to strive to spot bees and butterflies on the neighbours’ mowed lawns.

There aren’t many.

“You do not see them go to the neighbour’s yard,” he stated. “They simply up and depart and go to their subsequent patch of refuge.”

No-mow summer season

Campaigns like No-Mow May, created by U.Okay.-based Plantlife and adopted by the Nature Conservancy of Canada, have tried to persuade Canadians it is OK to let their lawns develop wild, and have been gaining momentum.

“For Rhett, it is No-Mow all summer season,” he stated. 

Wyntjes refuses to rake the leaves in his back yard, as a result of the vitamins from these leaves will ultimately return back into the soil. (Elizabeth Fraser/CBC)

Wyntjes additionally refuses to rake the leaves in the autumn, which ultimately decompose and return vitamins back into the soil.

And there are bugs like moths, butterflies beetles and floor nesting bees that can use the leaves as a spot to discover shelter and hibernate over winter. There are additionally blue jays, cardinals and chickadees. 

‘Better than a car parking zone’

Vickruck stated garden care can be about discovering stability. She retains her entrance garden mowed however leaves the leaves and the grass in her yard.

A row of about 40 bushes encompass Wyntjes’s yard. He retains them there to add a wide range of shelter for the bees. (Elizabeth Fraser/CBC)

“An enormous area of lawns is definitely going to help much less species than a forest, or a wetland or grass that has all types of various species,” she stated.

As for Wyntjes, he is going to proceed with his out of doors mission, it doesn’t matter what the neighbours assume.

“This is form of like my artwork piece and it’s going to regularly change.”