BUZZ CRAWL SQUEAK FLY: When we venture out into a vast, leafy, tree-dotted garden, our eyes are on first alert, seeking out the bright buds and colorful petal and interesting limb shapes and other features that fill out the lush vista. But our ears, too, should be on a watch of sorts. Wilder places aren't just about the visuals, but the aural component, too. And if you hear a buzz deep in the center of a cactus bloom or you detect a soft scurrying in the underbrush, you become more aware that gardens just aren't about the greenery but also the many bugs who call the place home (some for a moment, some for longer). The San Diego Botanic Garden pauses each summer to pay tribute to insects and all of their incredibly important functions, from pollination and beyond. Nope, there's no "eeking" here. Bug buffs know that a multi-legged, multi-eyed, tentacle-sweet creature has beauty and intrigue to spare. If you don't mind holding your palm open to gently receive a winged or wormy beastie, the better to hold it and study it for a moment or two.
BUT THERE'S TASTING, TOO: The Insect Festival isn't all leaning in and gazing a bit closer at butterflies and beetles and centipedes and their brethren. There shall be bug cookery, so if you're up for snacking on cooled mealworm larva "in various flavors such as mesquite, teriyaki, and barbecue!" Yummity yum yum. If dining on miniature scurriers isn't your bag, but learning from experts is, there shall be plenty of that; over 20 booths filled with bug-knowledgeable people will dot the grounds of the gardens. Oh, and there are the gardens themselves to stroll, which you can, since your paid admission to the main venue gets you into the Insect Festival. Will you admire the bugs and then saunter along the paths, keeping a keener ear out for buzzing and chirring and whirring and the sounds of those plentiful co-earthlings, the insect family? They're out there, under leaves and roots, keeping balance.
JULY 25 AND 26: The San Diego Botanic Garden's 2015 Insect Festival takes wing over the final weekend in July, in Encinitas.