Gardens more than just a source of beauty

Don't underestimate the value of Oak Bay's flora, reader writes

Here are some factors that I do not think have been given enough weight in the discussions about the deer problem.

Gardens are not “just gardens.” They are the source of the unique and world-famous reputation of Victoria as “the Garden City.” As such, they attract tens of thousands of tourists with all the economic benefits that they bring.

They enhance both physical health in their creation and maintenance, and spiritual health by their presence. For thousands, gardening is their primary source of vigorous exercise and the healthy body and mind that results. Their beauty lifts the spirits, not just of the gardeners, but all the passers-by that view them. What will be the health-care and other costs to society if they are destroyed by deer?

Gardens provide hundreds of jobs in nurseries and other related businesses.

Vegetable gardens are the most affordable source of quality organic food. And for many who cannot afford the premium prices of these products in food stores and markets, it is the only way they will get them.

Personal urban agriculture is the most ecological way to put food on our tables. It is the zero-mile diet. Food grown in our personal gardens means that much more wild land can be left for the deer outside the city, where they can lead their lives in a natural environment.

For many, such as myself, who intentionally bought a home in (at the time) a deer-free area, saving money by growing our own food is an important part of the economic plan we had in mind when we bought our homes. Losing this source of inexpensive food could mean losing our homes.

As deer populations increase, other flora that they eat and the fauna like birds, butterflies, and insects that rely on that decimated flora, decrease. So, far from being the spokespeople for the natural world, those who oppose the control of deer populations are supporting the destruction of the diversity we currently enjoy.

Jim Bartels

Oak Bay