Lou and I were sitting at our patio table recently, enjoying our lunch, when we both noticed a particular bee. He buzzed past my shoulder and headed toward the herb bed, where he hovered a moment, then zoomed back the way he came, passing me on his way to the opposite side of the patio where it joins the front garden.
I took a bite from my sandwich. Zoom. There he was again, back to the herb bed to hover a moment, zoom, past my shoulder once more, over to the front garden side, zoom, zoom, zoom, back and forth, past my shoulder, over and over again.
Here is the front garden beside the patio:
And here is a view toward the herb bed from the opposite end of the patio:
What was the bee doing? He wasn't aggressive toward me and was not a bit interested in my sandwich. After researching bee behavior I decided he was patrolling, hoping a young queen would pick up his scent marker and mate with him. My shoulder was in his flight path.
Insects seem to be enjoying my garden as much, or more, than I do! Roses and other flowers attract the pollinators:
It's a fun time of the year to watch all sorts of creatures who make their home in my garden. Besides bees and other flying insects there are plenty of squirrels:
There are many birds, including the eastern towhee. One usually sees these birds scratching around on the ground, but I found this one singing in a tree:
Bluebirds have laid eggs in this house:
I peeked, and it looks like there are at least six eggs in there. The birds look busy now, but wait till all those eggs hatch! Mr. Bluebird keeps a watch out from nearby trees and even this power line, which is near his house:
I don't like the ugly telephone pole, which is leaning somewhat to the side and is topped with a mess of machinery, lines, and cables. It is right in the middle of my garden and is an awful eyesore. When I take photos in the area, I work hard to keep it out of the picture, because in my gardener's eye it doesn't exist.
But what would I do without it? Technology imposes upon the natural world, but that technology gives the common man a standard of living and comforts unknown by kings of the past. The answer is responsible management, and whatever our politics or level of activism, this must start with the individual. We can destroy, or we can protect. Do I use a nuke-em approach to insects, grabbing the spray that promises to eliminate all of them? Or do I create a habitat that nourishes and protects wildlife? I do make a difference when I use earth-friendly products, when I recycle, when I use compost and natural fertilizes, when I make a hundred other small choices on a daily basis.
The bluebird sits on the power line and guards his home. The bee keeps to his patrol and flies around a big human who sits in the way. Nature adapts, but man has the unique ability to create and improve, to make changes that benefit all the inhabitants of the earth. It is a choice and a privilege.
To read what others are doing to help the environment, see comments at Jan Thanks For Today Gardeners Sustainable Living Project. There are lots of terrific suggestions!