Irish tradition tells that bees come from heaven and bring secret wisdom with them. The Irish in me (my dad's family was from Cork County Ireland) thinks that's nice, but pictured is what you get when a bee lands on me while snapping pictures. It’s the sad truth; buzzing things freak me out a bit.
I’ve grown to enjoy watching bees gather nectar in my garden, and purposefully have added plants to attract them, but I still flinch when they get close. We won't talk about the time I put my car into park without slowing down when I found a bee in my car.
This is a shot of my favorite spring bed with the dark purple bearded irises, Chartreuse foliage of the gooseneck loosestrife, and the sparkling flowers of the spiderwort. By mid August, it all looks very ratty, and my out of control invasive gooseneck loosestrife is growing under the stone edge and choking out everything. Time to say goodbye to it, this is too much maintenance in an area I don’t want to dig up every year.
I recently read an article describing how pollution interferes with a bee's ability to find food by reducing how far scent is carried. If I see myself not just a gardener, but also a caretaker of the land I'm on, then my needs should come second; the bees can have their nectar. I'll focus on fragrant plants to attract more bees, and will replace this single invasive loosestrife with a variety of flowers known to attract bees. Still needing to do back to school shopping for the kids, I'll keep what I can and plan to do this complete full sun redo for less than $5.
My after is now destined to plant its feet this year, and look more amazing next year and the following year.
- I've moved the cardinal flowers growing in a nursery bed to the back corner. Though they bloom the second year, they're getting flower stalks on them this year, so I'm very hopeful.
- I've repositioned the dark purple bearded iris, which gave me a great chance to get rid of some unhealthy rhizomes and fix a cutworm problem. So gross!!
- I've kept the spiderwort. With a good shearing it blooms a second time during the summer, and the flowers absolutely glisten.
- Dwarf Joe pye weed with it's mauve flowers is something I've always wanted, and my big purchase.
- I've salvaged the pale yellow columbines I grew from seed a few years ago, and planted them in some open spots. With the loosened, improved soil, they’ll thrive.
- I’ve added a gaillardia given by a friend who responded to my request to gather seed by digging up a spare plant instead
- Reseeds from penstemon red rocks in the front (though relatively hidden in this shot) are loved by bees and will provide a good jolt of hot pink color.
- A trio of sedum grown from seed last winter have been repositioned in the front
- A loose scattering of mulch decorates but will still allow the ground dwelling bees I see a place to lay their eggs in the spring
I'm proud to say I was able to complete this bed redo for a whopping $4.21.
This is a guest post by Lisa Ueda, offering home gardening tips at thefrugalgarden. Her aim is to inspire, awaken and motivate new gardeners into discovering their inner green thumbs.