Entomophobes abstain. This XXL zoom report on the life of aphids, bumblebees, bees, butterflies, but also snails residing in the vegetable garden, is not for those who panic at the sight of an insect. All the others, on the other hand, should find it of interest the day after UNESCO’s International Day for Biodiversity.
In particular the 16 million French people who grow their own fruits and vegetables (according to Franceinfo, May 4). Gardening has indeed experienced a resurgence of interest for two years, thanks to confinements, for the pleasure of eating better and being outdoors, and, more recently, to save money.
Need we specify, the filming location is an organic vegetable garden – without pesticides –, bucolic, idyllic, with its elegantly irregular wooden fence, its retro watering can, its balanced beds and its temperate climate. Two years of filming made it possible to maximize the rare scenes, which have become essential to seduce spectators accustomed to (accelerated) time-lapses and close-ups since 1996 and the release of Microcosmos.
The storyline follows the four seasons and begins at the end of winter. The little queen of the bumblebees, who then comes out of hibernation, is one of the stars of the film. The camera will follow her in her search for a home, in her installation in a burrow, filming her first laying, with astonishing shots of the young hymenoptera incubating her eggs. Outside, what looks like a baobab is just a fennel from the ground.
The gardener becomes a lookout
The environmental issue of the film is to demonstrate that it is possible to have a beautiful vegetable garden without killing these insects, but on the contrary “with” them. On condition, however, of agreeing to sacrifice a tiny part of the harvest to feed these little beasts. The key therefore, to limit this share, is to balance the relationship between prey and predators, so that no species takes precedence over the other. The gardener is a lookout. A hand, a silhouette sometimes emerges, but the real actors are not human.
Take the example of a bean plant invaded by aphids, real black warriors, numerous, impressive. While the ants play the role of shepherds, the salvation of the beans will come from a delicate but fearsome green lacewing, able to suspend its tiny eggs on fine threads. Having become voracious “plump larvae”, these are nicknamed the lions of aphids. All is said.
Each season conceals its little miracles, such as, in summer, the birth of translucent baby snails already fitted with their shells. But also his dramas. Even real scenes of horror, after a parasitoid wasp picked up the SOS of a cauliflower attacked by the caterpillar of a cabbage butterfly…
The wasp then sticks its stinger into the body of the caterpillar. “She placed a ticking time bomb,” the voiceover warns, since she laid her eggs there. Having become larvae, they will devour the caterpillar from the inside before emerging through small holes… without killing it. “The larvae spared her vital organs and manipulated her brain into serving them. ” A nightmare.
Unaware of the atrocity of what is playing out at his feet, the gardener will soon be naively rejoicing over his fine harvest of eggplants, beans, lettuces, tomatoes and cauliflowers.