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Many pollinator species have suffered serious declines in recent years. Unfortunately, most of our landscapes offer little in the way of appropriate habitat, forage, and housing. Even the most beautiful gardens are not always healthy ecosystems. Design choices, plant selections, and maintenance practices can make a huge difference in creating your own healthy ecosystem, filled […]Read more »
The following is an excerpt from Keeping Bees and Making Honey by Alison Benjamin and Brian McCallum (F&W Media, 2008). This spectacular book offers an in-depth profile of nature’s most effective pollinator and covers all aspects of modern beekeeping, including where and when to get your bees, different types of hives, how to harvest and […]Read more »
It’s old news that beekeepers are struggling to provide diverse, pesticide-free forage for their colonies, as scientists have been voicing alarm about the decline in pollinator populations for more than a decade. But part of the solution to help today’s stressed bees may be in your own backyard: Consider the incredible quantity of nectar produced […]Read more »
Experienced beekeepers are keenly aware of which flowers provide bees with nectar, when those flowers are in bloom, and whether the right balance of rain and shine has encouraged them to bloom in abundance. In beekeeping jargon, when there is a bounty of nectar for bees to forage, a honey flow is said to be […]Read more »
Prairie Blazing Stars are spectacular spiky, towering flowers that, to my imaginative mind at least, look like fireworks exploding across the prairie. These native flowers attract a plethora of native insects and honeybees for their nectar sources. If you are considering adding additional native flowers to your pollinator garden this year, Prairie Blazing Stars can […]Read more »
I’ve found that herb gardeners are rarely solitary folks absorbed in pursuing perfect plants. When working in the garden, they often trail a friend or neighbor, sharing volumes of knowledge. They’ll pluck sprigs with abandon, encouraging visitors to “sniff this—taste that—please take this one home. My seeds came up so well this year, I’ve got […]Read more »
While many plants are known to be bee magnets, honeybees and bumblebees will pass them all by when germander blooms. An herb garden is traditionally a busy place, with bees buzzing from plant to plant, their fuzzy little bodies perfect for trapping pollen and transporting it to the next flower. But declining bee populations means […]Read more »
In addition to keeping a hive of bees in my backyard and a flock of chickens, I have quite the vegetable garden, mini orchard, and space devoted to native plants. When I began planting native plants, I specifically looked for natives that were useful not only to my backyard hive but also for the plethora […]Read more »
If you tell your friends and neighbors that you are growing a “Bee Bee” tree for your bees, they will probably think you are kidding! A magnet for pollinators of all kinds, it is a a great small tree, also known as Korean evodia (Evodia daniellii or Tetradium daniellii). Unknown outside of horticultural circles […]Read more »
The snow has finally melted and we’ve been enjoying warmer temperatures here in Michigan. The days are around 50 degrees and the nights hover around freezing. We just finished our maple syrup boil for the year and got 9 and a half quarts from 55 gallons of sap. It’s such a small yield considering what […]Read more »