a profusion of flowers > a plethora of pollinators

Two years ago, there were so few bees in the garden, I had to pollinate our pumpkins myself.  It was very satisfying work actually, kid-friendly too; I’ll share the how-to’s in a future post.  But the lack of bees was an absolute shame, a real concern, and I resolved to do everything within my gardening power to bring the bees BACK!

I’m working on a longer article on this now for WindowBox.com — check it out in a few weeks! — but I’ll tell you here what the difference-makers have been:

  • $10 of California native wildflower seeds, sprinkled randomly around our flower beds, and watered only very occasionally (or not at all).  The result — thanks in no small part to our surprisingly damp spring — has been masses of blooms.  Adiós, mulched-over garden bed austerity; hello, bountiful blooms and bees!
  • No more chemical pesticides.  None at all, for 3 years now.  The black widow is a garden-variety spider here in Encinitas, California.  I don’t love having them back.  But I won’t sanction the collateral damage that comes with spraying them away.

The bee action-shots above were taken this morning.  It’s such a pleasure to see nature at work… and so utterly satisfying to participate, positively, in nature’s pretty, perfect plans.


Peak garden

Our May grey has gone away, and June gloom has given way to abundant sunshine… and a profusion of blooms!  It’s late June, and it’s a glorious time to be in the garden; peak time, in fact!

The beginnings of real heat means the sun-lovers in the garden — tomatoes, cucumber, pumpkins — can really start to take off. But it means that the rest of my backyard — the grass, the wildflowers I’ve loved all spring, everything — will be forced into survival mode.  There’s only so much water I’m able — and willing — to give them.  We’re in a drought, and although I could increase my watering and still be in compliance with regulations (which are amazingly weak), it’s more satisfying to let nature take her course.  Brownish-green is the new green around here, and I’m getting used to it.

So I’m spending a little extra time outside today, not that any excuse is required; pruning back some overblown spring stuff, quietly putting Pippa’s sun-bleached mostly-forgotten plastic toys in the recycling (the less toys, the merrier for Mom)… and mostly, appreciating “peak garden”!