MWB Attorney Murphy Fletcher is on the Chow Chow Culinary Festival Board of Directors and is one of the hosts at the Chow Chow event “Pollinating Metamorphosis.” She took particular interest in this occasion because gardening became a new found importance in her life in recent years. Below she offers a quick story of her own metamorphosis into a grower of food and flowers as well as an admirer of our pollinator friends.
“A few years ago, it occurred to me that I did not know enough about the natural world. Whether I was driving down the interstate or hiking in the mountains, it was disappointing to me that I could not name or even recognize the trees, the insects, or the even the flowers around me—even though I had lived amongst them for my entire life. I had a small garden—mainly an overcrowded cluster of small, sad tomato plants—in the backyard, but that was basically the extent of my knowledge of anything plant-related.
I decided that gardening would be the easiest way to strengthen my connection to the natural world. Not only would I be learning about the world around me and growing my own food, but I had heard for years about the mental and health benefits of gardening. Throughout the fall and winter of 2019, I read articles, watched television shows—the British show “Gardener’s World” and its host, Monty Don, are international treasures—and diligently followed home gardening social media accounts. I learned how to prepare soil to maximize vegetable yields, to use herbs and flowers to repel pests, and how to germinate seeds under a tiny lamp in our guest bedroom. But one of the most important things I learned—the thing that every gardener across the world, for hundreds of years, has had to learn in order to be successful—is the role of pollinators.
Pollinators are one of the most valuable gifts from the natural world. Bees, butterflies, and other less-known pollinators like hummingbirds and wasps play such a critical role in our lives, a role that often goes unnoticed and unthanked. Nearly all the food and drink we consume and the flowers we enjoy would be impossible without pollinators. Put simply, the world in which we live would be a very different place—and not in a good way—without pollinators.
When I designed my new garden this year, I decided that it was going to be a haven for pollinators. As a litigator, competitiveness comes naturally to me—and so I have spent what many would consider an excessive amount of time and effort making sure that my garden and yard are the best pollinator habitats ever. I really cannot tell you how much peace and comfort it brings me to see bees frantically enjoying the tall verbena, or a butterfly resting in the shade thrown off by my sweet peas. I have not seen a hummingbird yet, but when/if I do, I know I will feel a sense of accomplishment for days; I created this tiny habitat that inspired a hummingbird who migrated from hundreds of miles away to appear in my yard, of all places.
In recognition of the importance of pollinators, Chow Chow, a culinary festival celebrating the food culture of southern Appalachia, is hosting a special, pollinator-focused event on July 10. Not only will you get to enjoy a spectacular five-course dinner at a historic farm located along the French Broad River (including pollinator-themed cocktails and live music) but you will also get to learn even more about the important role that pollinators play in our lives. Join me on July 10 and let the beauty of the world inspire you—just as it did me.”