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  • Bird Population Soaring May 22, 2015
    Spring 2015 is once again proving to be a banner year for bird broods in my beautiful wildlife garden.  Bluebird brood #2 has successfully hatched and 4 healthy mockingbird babies located in a holly shrub not 15 feet away joined them this past week.  It is dizzying watching the two sets of parents feed the […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to s […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • Monarda Madness May 21, 2015
    The first Monarda blooms of 2015 opened up this week, kicking off a series of great blooms from now until late summer.  Every year I learn to appreciate this genus of native flowers so much more until I feel that I might just be on the edge of monarda madness because last year I actually […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the beautifu […]
    Ellen Honeycutt
  • Twinleaf May 19, 2015
      A very early wildflower, Twinleaf, Jeffersonia diphylla, is native to eastern North America. It is a plant that I must remind myself to hunt for, well before I’m used to finding wildflowers blooming. Here in the mountains of central Virginia, that crucial time is late March into early April. Each flower only lasts for a very […] We love hearing from you! P […]
    Brenda Clements Jones
  • Trilliums April 21, 2015
    There is not much more thrilling than hiking through the woods and finding a patch of native wildflowers. Some are minuscule, not of bright color, others can knock your socks off. Trilliums fill the bill for knocking my socks off! In the picture above, you see White Trillium, Trillium grandiflorum, about to bloom in one of my gardens. I’ve […] We love hearin […]
    Brenda Clements Jones
  • Help for Hummers April 16, 2015
    Putting up a hummingbird feeder is a fun way to bring hummingbirds close to a viewing space like a window. Like other types of bird feeders, it is often the first step in developing a love of our feathered friends and a desire to nurture them. So once you’ve taken the first step, I’d encourage […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see all the be […]
    Ellen Honeycutt
  • Native Plant Appreciation Week, Osceola County Florida April 10, 2015
    Today’s article is going to be about promoting the use of native plants, mostly because I forgot that today was Friday and didn’t do any critter research. I’ve been busy promoting The Central Florida Native Plant Sale (3rd annual) which is today, April 10, 2015 from 4-7 p.m. and tomorrow from 8 a.m. – 1 […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • Ladies of the Day April 3, 2015
    Notwithstanding their common name, I’ll start by clarifying that they aren’t all ladies.  After all, in North America the order odonata need male and female to reproduce. I’m not clear how these insects acquired their common name.  Damselflies are an interesting group of insects. Predatory in both larval and adult stages, these are insects you […] We love he […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • Skink Wars and More on These Sleek Lizards March 28, 2015
    I was on the patio late one afternoon and the trashcan was rocking.  I glanced over since you never know what creature of nature will be visiting my place.  I figured that maybe a black racer or water snake had slithered underneath the wheels setting the rocking in motion. Then I heard thrashing and a […] We love hearing from you! Please click here to see al […]
    Loret T. Setters
  • Spring Garden Care March 26, 2015
      Spring Garden Care People who care about attracting wildlife to their gardens usually learn over time about best practices for fall cleanup and especially the fact that it’s really beneficial for our birds if we refrain from relentlessly cutting perennials to the ground before winter. But what then happens in the spring for garden care?   Here in […] We lo […]
    Jesse Elwert

#GardenChat

Conserving Calories In The Garden


“Evolution has not been kind to the bees.”

R. Hellmann

Plant ecologist Robert Hellmann has a lifelong love of studying plants. His passion is now being lived out as he restores six acres of abandoned farm land to reflect the native wildlife areas of New York. His approach is that of a scientist that loves to garden… after all he has advanced degrees in ecology and education… but you’ll never meet a more dedicated and down-to-earth teacher. Bob shared many gems of wisdom and knowledge with me as we toured his property, this is just the beginning.

Help Bees To Conserve Calories

In nature everything works in cycles, a delicate balancing act that is easily altered. The changing landscape of today has made it more difficult than ever for pollinators, especially bees, to carry out their jobs. How so? Aside from the environmental onslaught of pesticides and other synthetic chemicals, the way we garden affects how efficiently they perform their duties.

Bees, by their very nature, are programmed to forage from a single nectar source at a time. In a native wildlife setting you won’t often see a wide variety of blossoming plants, but rather the area undergoes several different phases with large masses of a single plant ultimately dominating the landscape for a period of time. This is ideal for the bees who expend a lot of calories searching for the same blossoms to collect from. In many home gardens the focus is, of course, color and flowers throughout the season which is excellent for pollinator food sources, but the way we plant them can be detrimental to the bees’ efforts.

How can we help bees conserve calories and encourage strong populations? Easy. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Grow gardens that include plants native to your area which are rich nectar sources for bees and other pollinators and food sources for other wildlife. (Your local cooperative extension has lists of  natives for your area.)
  2. Plan the garden beds so that there are periods with just one or two varieties of plants blooming at a time, and plant them together in drifts.
  3. Include larger plantings of late summer and fall flowering plants to help colonies survive through winter.
  4. In the vegetable garden the same idea applies. If you are seed saving and want to prevent cross-pollination of your open-pollinated varieties you can stagger the flowering times by starting different varieties from seed a week or two apart. (You can also isolate blossoms.)
  5. To ensure a healthy garden use organic and sustainable garden practices.

I confess my gardens are a jumble of flowering plants and vegetables at any given time. Now that we’re moving our vegetable beds and creating a new garden, I’m going to plan a bit more. Planting in drifts that bloom at different times isn’t a new design concept by any means… it’s just one I haven’t followed very closely. There’s always something new to try…and the bees are worth it! Happy gardening!

2 comments to Conserving Calories In The Garden

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