Now's the time to plan a bee-friendly garden.
Courtesy of Andreas/Creative Commons/Flickr
Their sound is different from other buzzers. Mean ol’ mosquitoes scream a high pitch as they zip in for the bite, and red wasps roar by with raspy whines. Bees simply drone on like gossipers in the back pew as they dutifully go about their lives in the garden.
I’ve always loved them, even when they made a home in the bedroom wall. Their constant hum is the rhythm guitar of my personal summer soundtrack, but it’s getting harder to hear.
When the first reports of colony collapse disorder came in, the problems seemed limited to commercial hives. This is a huge issue since most food crops are dependent on the work of pollinators, either directly to produce fruit or indirectly, to maintain viable stands of seeds.
But home gardens and local commercial operations seemed to have few problems at first. For the past couple of years, however, the question has been asked too often, “Where are the bees?” There are enough answers to spoke a bicycle wheel – strong storms, warming climate, more concrete than green space, overused insecticides – every month another theory gets posited but the dilemma remains.
I’m not much on specialized garden plans, whether they are devoted to native plants or pizza makings. But lately the reality of my bee garden has come to me: If something is blooming in my (relatively) mild winter climate, bees will find it on the coldest days of the year. I’m convinced that they have me on their radar since they pass through daily, though in smaller numbers than a decade ago. Little did I know that I was developing a style, but they are here when I need them to cross-pollinate the flowers.