Saturday, January 17, 2009

To Our Health...

I subscribe to an online newsletter from High Country Gardens as well as their catalogue. I’ve read their information and ordered plants…the plants arrive healthy and the information right on! So enamored am I of their top quality and selection of plants I want to use, I’ve even driven to Santé Fe and shopped their greenhouses in person.

Today’s news suggested we give wild bees a help…after all they are essential for our food production, and in dire need of our assistance…surely you’ve heard of the decline in honey bees. High Country Gardens suggests we all purchase their bees or their nestsor both!...but probably the single most important offering is their food. Native, perennial plants require the least fuss and offer flowers our native bees prefer. Whether you garden for blooms or garden for food, remember …more bees means more flowers and that translates to more beauty and higher crop yield.

We need bees, why not give ‘em a leg up? Native bees like Orchard and Mason Bees are sweet, docile bees we really don’t need to fuss over any more than not using poisons that aren’t good for us either and providing food (flowers) that we enjoy anyway and perhaps a couple inconspicuous places where they might find nests to shelter their young. It’s nothing but win-win for all
of us!

I want to help bees, but am not so interested in keeping honeybees or harvesting honey. A person has to pick their priorities, you know! This is a way to help bees, without all the hastle of actual 'beekeeping'.
I love it. Besides, I've heard that helping wild bees may be the very cause which keeps our nations food-crops from crashing.

Heck, the newsletter even gives me priceless information regarding what works for bees, but also happens to discourage both rabbits and deer in my garden! Talk about win/win!

Here is a sample of some of the helpful hints the author gives in this single article:

"More Bees, More Food: Bring bees into your
vegetable garden with flowering plants.Bees are
essential for fruit and vegetable production.
Attract them with low care flowering perennials
and shrubs. Plant a wide variety of species to
insure that there are plants in flower from early
spring through fall.

  • Bees are essential for pollinating your fruits and vegetables. Flowering perennials and shrubs need to be in close proximity to your vegetable garden/fruit trees to attract and feed bees with pollen and nectar.
  • Early spring blooming flowers help build the bee population for pollination of fruits and vegetables later in the summer.
  • Native bees and bumblebees nest in ground burrows. Gardeners need to provide ample perennial beds where these pollinators can nest undisturbed. Annual beds and veggie gardens aren't suitable because their soil
    needs to be dug and enriched with compost each spring.
  • Good bugs eat bad bugs. Beneficial insects control pests like aphids, caterpillars and spider mites that then feed on vegetables and fruit trees. Plant these specific perennial flowers that are best for establishing populations of beneficial insects in your garden.
  • Go organic! Using beneficial insects to control insect pests is a cornerstone principle of organic food production.
  • Urban spaces are covered with pavement and buildings. Where are the flowers? Be eco-conscious by planting flowers to replace lost nectar sources. View All Plants that Attract Bees. Select Plants for Pollinators ON SALE until January 24, 2009. Start Now! Bring pollinators to your harvests with this special sale! "
No, I'm in no way affiliated with the store or it's other companies; just enthusiastic. LOL


Bosque Bill said...

Good article, Beverly, filled with good ideas.

I was curious about that tube thingy you showed a photo of (I didn't see an explanation.) I figured it was probably on the site you were talking about so looked it up.

For those interested it is wild bee nest.

Beverly said...

Hmmmmmmm...obviously I wasn't clear enough with my links under "their bees or their nestsor both!" I'll go hook up a link from the photo, if I can figure out how. Thanks, Bill!

Ya know, for the past couple of years I've had huge bumblebees, that sport a red blotch topside, apparently nesting behind the insulation stuffed between studs inside the barn's unfinished walls. I've always thought that was way cool.

I like bees, I love honey...but I have little interest in taking on hives. I'll help wild bees with those tube thingies, though. They're neat, huh? It is possible to purchase extra tubes, too. Laura, over at Laura Goes Birding uses a different system that doesn't even require tubes! Even greener!

Bosque Bill said...

Oh, I see the link now, up by the bee not down by the nest. I must have missed in while reading.

Left Handed Birder said...

I have an addiction to High Country Gardens Catalog Offerings. They are the best.

HCG Anonymous?

Beverly said... too, Connie. Have you been to their greenhouses in Santé Fe? The first time I was there I actually teared up; it was like a Gardener's Dream...Disneyland for people who play in the dirt! I'm thinking of another trip later this spring...wanna go? I spend a night or two down there...I'd like to bird Bill's Bosque in Abq, too.

Thanks for stopping by!

Ava said...

High County Ggarden here...Thank you for understanding our eco-message. In our display gardens in Santa Fe we are finding that we need to hand pollinate out plants due to dwindling populations of native pollinators. With the wave a veggie growing nationally we felt it is important to explain the the new gen x's & Y's that we need flowers to feed pollinators for energy to pollinate the veggie flowers. More bees(pollinators) more food. Thanks for understanding how nature is all interconnected. Best, Ava Salman

Beverly said...

Ava, what a treat…who would have expected a visit from you! Wow.

And now I’m a bit embarrassed about all that fawning! But it is true…you folks do good work. I’m happy to say that in addition to this article, I’ve had links to your websites (both) on my blog’s sidebar since I started writing.

That is just amazing…having to hand pollinate your plants! Sheeshhhh, I knew it was bad, but not that bad! Perhaps I’ll do another piece on bees. If you’ve been to this blog before, you may have seen in articles like these:

Native vs Exotic:

Bats, Bees and Bananas:

...that I am concerned about many of the same things you and those at High Country Garden are concerned about. Is it any surprise I’ll drive 200 miles (each way) just to shop at your Greenhouses?

Yes, it’s all interconnected…and we must support those who understand those interconnections. Besides, I remember driving all the way down there, purchasing nearly $2000 worth of goodies and discovering when I got home that the water-wand thingie I’d purchased wasn’t in my truck. Your awesome organization looked into it and sent me one the next day! Now, that’s service!!!

RJ Flamingo said...

We have the same problem here. I have native and naturalized shrubs planted in front (near the mango trees) and in back (near the big mango tree and next to my veggie garden) for those very reasons. I now have lots of very happy bees pollinating the lemon tree-let, every mango tree in sight, and hopefully the veggies, when they get to that point.

I just need more critters that eat mosquitoes. Preferably in mid-air. :-)

Beverly said...

RJ, I’ve been reading a bunch on ponds of late…partly because Gallicissa has got me all jazzed about building another one, myself. At least one author has suggested I NOT plant fish; that a shallow pond doesn’t really need fish…that frogs, salamanders, and dragonfly-types, as well as birds and bats of course, do a fine job on their long as their young can hatch in the water without fish eating them first. The fish eat eggs, larvae and nymphs that ALL the others leave, which actually allows more of the nasty blood-suckers to make it.

Do go see Gallicissa’s new pond…its stunning! I’m quite sure you could make a much smaller, plastic lined place spot for your backyard creatures to enjoy…that would also attract even more mosquito eaters. Wouldn’t it be neat to watch a batch of pollywogs turn into frogs? I can hardly wait!!!

Bosque Bill said...

Beware of Bull Frogs!

If you go to a traditional pond store you may be tempted to buy some of the pollywogs they have for sale. Chances are those are Bull frogs which may be an invasive species for your area and when they grow up will eat everything including other critters.

Try to find native species for your pond or if you live in a favorable area, the critters already around may be delighted to move into your new pond.

Beverly said...

Exactly, Bill...very good point. I've been cautioned by a local herper-(?)scientist type NEVER to buy pollywogs from a petstore. You're right, apparently they often sell Bull-frogs...if only because they don't know better! I was told even ordering them live from otherwise reputable is likely you'll get Bull-Frogs!

And Bull-frogs eat everything, as you said...including mice, other frogs, toads, fish, snakes, salimanders...even birds. ugg; they're a blight on the world (but they are tasty, if you can catch enough of 'em! LOL

lkw said...

I loved visiting the High Country Gardens nursery in Santa Fe! I'm interested in some of their drought-tolerant plants that might be able to tolerate our humidity in the summer (and clayey soils in the winter).

I'll have to sign up for their e-newsletter!


Owlman said...

Wow, very cool. I'll definitely need to look into this - thanks.