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The Bee and Me

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:I planned the birdhouse in the herb bed to be decorative, but chickadees have moved in!

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:Above, top: Knockout rose. Bottom: 'Penelope' rose.1st row; Rosa 'Zephirine Drouhin'; Variegated weigela. 2nd row: Dianthus 'Baths Pink' and Phlox divaricata; Columbine hybrid. 3rd row: Purple salvia; Azalea.

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 also lots of 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 pictures, 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 fertilizers, 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!

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Reader Comments (33)

Hi Deb,

Wonderful photos, I think I'm going to have to move to your house. I'm sure you won't mind, but all that luscious growth is just too tempting :)

I always try to keep our horrible shed and back fence out of pictures, they were here when we arrived and for some reason stained a horrible red colour that I just cannot stand. I should probably paint them and then I might actually be happy...

April 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLiz

Hi Deb, It is really an enjoyable sight! I love to watch all these critters. The squirrel is the cutest. I hear a lot of horror stories with them but so far, they do not appear in my area.

April 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterOne

Deb, this was a wonderful bee story and so much more. It is filled with much to think about and what and how to enjoy for the sake of pure enjoyment. Your garden is lovely, and best of all, open to all the little delights that visit too.

April 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

Just got my first proper camera recently, it was only the other day I was out trying to get some bee shots that I realised how difficult it is, so well done with your photos!

April 16, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterstone art blog

Deb, My neighbors put up a hideous chain link fence down the whole side of our garden. If you look at the header on my blog the view to the right doesn't exist any more. It is really difficult to keep it out of photos, but it does keep the deer off our property---a silver lining. Your garden is beautiful, and I agree with your philosophy. Carolyn

You are so lucky to have bluebirds nesting in your garden! I have been trying to get them in our garden for years but they never stay to nest. Great picture of the towhee...they are always on the go and hard to capture in action. Your garden looks so luscious with all the green and lovely blooms.

April 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKarin/Southern Meadows

A great post Deb! You're right it all starts and even ends with the individual. Your flowers are so beautiful, perfect! I love watching the critters go about their merry business, well most of them! It's tough here in the woods! So looking forward to seeing you Monday!

April 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEve

Your post is helping me sit back and think about all the wildlife in my garden. I have been so fixated on the damage done by voles this winter, that I am having a hard time getting beyond that. I need to realize it's only part of the whole web, that plants can be replaced, and so much more is going on out there that is wonderful!

April 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaurrie

Deb what beautiful, sustainable gardens that wildlife seem to enjoy...lovely pics...

April 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

I couldn't agree more Deb, it is a choice, and a privilege. You've clearly made some wonderful choices, and your chickadees, bluebirds, towhees, and patrolling bees are all grateful for it. Can't wait to see the bluebird babies!

April 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCurbstone Valley Farm

Hi Deb, I don't have time to read it right this second but want you to know it will still count...and I added it to Mr. Linky. You had already linked earlier so I just added it back. Thanks for joining in;-)

April 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJan @ Thanks for today.

Squirrels! Dont get me started. Squirrels are bushy tailed rodents. You know they are in the rat family don't you? lol.

April 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGreggo

With all those wonderful roses and other flowers I'm not surprised you have lots of bees.

April 16, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHelen

Deb, its wonderful that we can create gardens that the wildlife enjoy as much as we do. Hope your bee finds a mate soon ! Wonderful photos , your garden looks so beautiful,keep up the good work.

April 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPauline Mulligan

Hi Deb - I like the way you compare the choices of animals and humans.

April 17, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterb-a-g

That's a pretty amazing rodent errr squirrel. lol.

April 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGreggo

How cool to notice a little bee out looking for a queen Deborah. It just looks as if your garden never went through a winter as it is so lush and as green and colorlful. Sounds like you've got exciting times ahead with all of the nesting going on in the garden.

April 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRosie leavesnbloom

Hi Deb, It has been snowing here today and so it is nice to visit a flower filled spring garden through your blog post. It is wonderful that to have so many visitors to your garden and eggs in your birdhouses. That bee, the birds and squirrels have obviously discovered your garden is a great place to hang out.

April 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

What a beautiful garden you have! If I were a bee, I'd be checking out your garden, too!

April 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHolley

Your photographs are as beautiful as your garden. Love all the wildlife, especially the Squirrel!!

Fantastic photos Debs! The bee was probably just hovering about enjoying your garden :)

April 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMark and Gaz

Deb, whenever I visit I am always awed at how serene and cool and lush your garden is--what beautiful photos! Among my own neighbors, I find a lot of people are just afraid of nature, because they know so little about it--they spray insects because they don't know what they are, and they don't want to run the risk that the bugs might be harmful. There's such a stark disconnect to the natural world. I don't know how to counter that kind of "ingrained indoorsiness," except perhaps with such beautiful examples as you set.

Don't know where I'm going with that, except to say in a roundabout way that I agree. :)

April 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterStacy

I have a telephone pole on one side of my garden too, and yep, never let anyone 'see' it. I have a star jasmine starting to climb its way up, so that maybe that will help a little. But I doubt it.

April 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJess

What a great photo spread of all the blooms at your house!

I am surrounded by eyesores on our corner town lot... but as you say, my gardener's eye just tunes it all out. Perhaps it is learning to appreciate what we have and not just get stuck on the ugly poles that threaten to take over?

Thanks for sharing, again! I enjoy reading about your paradise.

April 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWife, Mother, Gardener

Your garden views and flowers are wonderful! Was the bee a Carpenter Bee? They whiz around their territories and are so obvious about it. lol I think they're looking for a fight as much as they're looking for a girl! There's always a lot of bees around our hay and horse shelters and the males spend a lot of time sparring, even wrestling on the ground.

The gardener's eye is the best tool a gardener can have. You have to have electricity!

April 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSweetbay

Deb, The Penelope Rose is very pretty. Your photo captures it well. Mr. Bluebird looks so proud standing guard over his young..... Great post!

April 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChris

Cute critters! I've had bluebirds in the same house every year but this year the chickadees drove them out! They just kept bugging them until they left! Ugh! I have lots of birdhouses and they all want the same one!!

April 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCasa Mariposa

Such beautiful gardens! And so lucky to have chickadees and bluebirds nesting near by. I could sit at your patio all day ... perhaps not quite in the bee's way. It has been raining so much here that I have not had the opportunity to see what insects are flying about, but did notice during a patch of sun that my mason bees were emerging from their nests. Wonderful shots of your garden. I can almost smell those roses and baths pink!

April 20, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterthevioletfern

Isn't it wonderful to have all those critters liviing in your garden? I love it myself!

April 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRobinL

Deb, I thoroughly enjoyed your post...and your photos are outstanding. Boy, I sure would love to visit your garden in person;-) I like how you are able to see things through the lens of the critter, your own lens, and even though you don't want to 'see' the phone line you acknowledge the necessity for it and make proper adapatations, just as mama bluebird has done;-) You have a definite wildlife friendly habitat and I want to thank you for joining my project. Happy Earth Day to you! Jan

April 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJan @ Thanks for today.

Your gardens are lovely now! We have bluebirds nesting as well. They WILL be busy once those babies hatch!

April 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commentervillager

No mystery Deb about making a bee-line for your amazing garden. Pure joy just to wander round it with you.

April 22, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaura @ PatioPatch


May 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commenteralex
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