Since they were planted the Hostas outside our office remain gloriously unnibbled. Hostas in most gardens are relatively tricky to grow as the leaves are too often munched by snails. In a city we are ‘lucky’ - we get to plant in an environment that is predominately pest free. 

 

However, whilst the gardener in me feels pretty blessed by the absence of snails, the environmentalist in me is worried.. Sure, pests are a nuisance to gardeners, but they form an integral part of a larger environmental cycle. When it comes to biodiversity, we shouldn't be picky. Snails are right at the bottom of the food chain and are great at breaking down all the leaf litter, an important role in a city where it is too easy to use a leaf blower to strip away all the nutrients fallen leaves produce. Being at the bottom of the food chain they have many predators including a wide range of birds. Snails are particularly important for birds as they are rich in calcium and other nutrients which are used in the formation of eggs and the baby birds inside them. 

 

When we are designing we fundamentally aim to increase biodiversity and create a stabilised, balance habitat that contributes to the larger ecosystem, even if it means snails eat our Hostas.