Posts Tagged ‘Bee Habitat’

Go a Little Less Green for the Environment

Consider Replacing Part or All of Your Front Lawn with a Pollinator-Friendly Garden

Photo by Michaela, The Gardener's Eden.

Lush, wide, green and rolling: In America, we love our lawns. We like to sprawl out on the grass for a picnic, gather on the neighbor’s lawn for a game of touch football, and set up our folding chairs and tiki-torches in the backyard green for summer barbeques. I like doing these things too, and I have a small lawn of my own in Vermont. But it’s important to remember that lawns, from an environmental perspective, provide little support for the ecosystem. In fact the tremendous amount of water, fossil fuel, fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides and insecticides used to maintain most suburban lawns makes our green-fixation downright irresponsible. And although green areas do reduce heat in cities, tightly cropped lawns do little to create habitat and provide food for birds, bees and the many other creatures sharing our world. Read the rest of this entry →


15

02 2011

On Winter and Your Garden

Summersweet, (Clethra alnifolia 'Ruby Spice'), is a native shrub, providing easily accessed, late-season pollen for the honey bee. ⓒ 2010 Michaela at TGE

As the trees finally shed their leaves and our thoughts turn to wintery pleasures and indoor activities, it’s easy to forget about the honey bee. After all, our busy little friends are hibernating out of sight and mind at this time of year. But before the ground freezes, and even over winter, there are still some favors we can do for these important pollinators to support them in their environment when they emerge next year.

In the early part of the growing season, flowers and their nectar are relatively scarce – this is also true in very late summer and fall. Nature provides bees with food in their environment of course, but in many areas, native plants have been reduced or eliminated as humans have encroached upon and altered natural habitats. Some introduced and hybridized plants do provide food for bees, but unfortunately, many gardeners favor double-flowered, exotic plants that are more difficult for pollinators to access. Most wild, indigenous plants have open, easy-access flowers, making them more attractive and desirable to honey bees.

So how do you choose shrubs to support bees and integrate these plants into your landscape?  Learning a little bit about the plants native to your region is a good place to start, and education can take place at any time of the year. There are a number of good books and field guides written on the subject of native, North American plants. Many of these titles are available in local libraries and universities. Some of the best guide books include both photos and detailed information about the required growing conditions of native plants, and their hardiness ranges. William Cullina’s beautiful book, Native Trees, Shrubs and Vines, is an excellent resource for gardeners.

In addition, many states have helpful native plant societies. Try Googling your state name followed by the phrase “Wildflower Society” or “Native Plant Society”. These sites will often list plants, including shrubs, native to your area. When visiting nurseries and garden centers, ask about native plants. The more we ask retailers for native plants by name and buy them, the more likely they will be to continue ordering them and keeping them on hand. All of these actions will help support the honey bee, and the environment as a whole.


11

11 2010

A better place for us all

There is something palpable about these new MacArthur Fellows, about their character as explorers and pioneers at the cutting edge. These are women and men improving, protecting, and making our world a better place for us all. “   ~~ Daniel J. Socolow, Director of the MacArthur Fellows Program

Big news for the honeybee.

Earlier today, Marla Spivak, an entomologist from the University of Minnesota who is studying the impacts of nutrition, pesticides, and bee diseases on bee health, was named a 2010 MacArthur Fellow.  These so-called Genius Grants provide $500,000 to each fellow, with no strings attached.

Go Marla!

It’s nice to see people who are working to solve the mystery of colony collapse get a little recognition … and support!

Finding the answer will definitely make the world a better place for us all.


It is a Strange and Beautiful World

Rosslyn Chapel -- Photo by Jeremy Atherton, 2002

“It is a strange and beautiful world.” — Roberto, the Italian tourist in Jim Jarmusch’s quirky 1986 movie, Down by Law

Rosslyn Chapel is a medieval church in Scotland originally made famous because of the beauty of its architecture and storied history.  It began experiencing a bit of a renaissance as a tourist attraction recently though when Dan Brown included it as one of the stops in solving the mystery of the Holy Grail and the Knights Templar in The Da Vinci Code.

Perhaps it’s the unprecedented number of visitors that now stream to the chapel that enabled conservators to begin some important and necessary conservation work.  So, it was only recently that a stunning and remarkable discovery was made.  Hidden in a part of the roof system called the “pinnacles,” which had been dismantled by the stone masons for the first time in hundreds of years while restoring the chapel, there were cavities ideally suited to, and in fact created for (wait for it) … beehives. Read the rest of this entry →


10

08 2010

Penstemon, Rudbeckia and Veronica: An Easy, Breezy, Flowering Combination for Mid-Summer Meadow Gardens…

A sunny, summertime entry garden at Ferncliff – Design and Photo ⓒ Michaela at TGE

Bees buzzing in the garden, sun-tea brewing on the terrace, and books piled high beside the hammock; sweet summertime is here at last. I love waking up to early morning sunshine playing upon the warm, summery colors in my garden. Read the rest of this entry →


01

07 2010

what is CCD? “colony collapse disorder”

What is it about that title?
Hmmmm…….. ED Erectile dysfunction, RLS restless leg syndrome, ADD Attention deficit disorder.
One thing I have noticed about human nature is that we need to identify, label and vilify the “disorder” so that we can blame someone else, create a patented wonder drug complete with research funding to solve the problem, and of course get bailout funding.
Take for example, the other day I’m in Wal-mart sitting on a bench waiting for my lovely wife. I can hear on the pre-recorded background noise coming from the pharmacy that “dry mouth is a treatable condition”. I was shocked to hear the announcer say that “it might be treatable by sipping water or using [their product].” Go figure! Read the rest of this entry →


27

06 2010