Our library system periodically hosts adult Ed programs for the community. The other night there was one about turning your turf lawn into a - and I quote the presenter here - a native paradise for pollinators. Figuring he knew more than I did (ours is three years old and far from a paradise), I settled in to learn.
My granddaughter, the same one who schooled me about moths, is now fascinated with bats. Among other things, I gave her a bat abode for her 8th birthday thinking she would keep her stuffed bats in it. (Yes, there really are bat “stuffies”!). When she unwrapped it, you would have thought she had received a priceless treasure. What surprised me even more though, was how excited her dad was about the gift. He immediately went outside and walked around the house to figure out where it would hang.
I spend A LOT of time at a nearby native plant nursery. (Let’s just say that they love to see my car pull up! ) it’s not just a great place to buy plants, but it’s also a great place to learn about natives from the experts. The staff are knowledgeable, enthusiastic and remarkably patient with those of us who are learning. I didn’t realize how patient they were until I overheard this exchange.
My flower gardens were at their peak. They had plenty of spring rain to push lush growth and the warmth of consistent sunny days is producing bloom after bloom. My hibiscus blossoms were as big as dinner plates, my bright red pentas the delight of the local hummingbirds and butterflies flocked to my zinnias. It was the fleeting time of year gardeners celebrate.
This past week was National Moth Week. Don’t feel badly if you missed it - I didn’t pick up on it until Thursday. Even then I have to admit I was skeptical; my perception of moths was somewhat negative. Either they hung around the porch lights at night making nuisances of themselves or they took bites out of sweaters – expensive wool sweaters. I just couldn’t feature why moths needed to be celebrated for an entire week!
One of the most exciting things I discovered in my ramblings is that the message to protect our pollinators is not only being heard, but it is also being put into practice. In every town we visited in every one of the five states, gardens filled with native flowers were flourishing. And to top it off, bumblebees were slowly perusing the blossom buffets in four of the five states. (Unfortunately, one of our stops was Wyoming where bumblebees have already disappeared. I was encouraged though, to see that an effort is being made to draw them back; the Wyoming gardens were filled with bumblebee delicacies.)
My 85 year old neighbor called me out over last week’s blog. Initially I was crushed because she is always my biggest fan, but once I got past ego, I had to admit that she was right. I dropped a problem in my reader’s laps — disappearing bumble bees —and then just left it there. I offered no solutions, nothing for the reader to follow up on. This week I intend to change that because there definitely are ways to protect bumblebees and help them become regular visitors in your garden.
My granddaughter is terrified of bees — especially bumble bees. She comes by it naturally. Her mother is terrified of them too. I think it stems from seeing her baby sister repeatedly stung by a swarm of honeybees while playing on a neighborhood school playground. I’ll admit that it was a traumatic incident, but it happened over 30 years ago, so it’s time to move on! (On a side note- the one who was actually stung isn’t bothered in the least by bees; she considers them her garden friends)