Variety visiting the garden
I want to introduce you to someone I have had the pleasure of meeting and hear speak on a number of occasions. Geri Hens is the owner of Hens Honey Bee Farm,”the only NYS producer of USDA Raw Organic NY Native Wildflower and Tree Varietal Honey”.
Her bees produce 16 varieties of native/indigenous vegetation liquid, creamed, and comb honey. Hens Honey Bee Farm is “a nationally renowned producer of cruelty-free premium apitherapy/homoeopathic quality raw honey and bees”, and is also an environmentally responsible honey producer.
I admire this woman and her talks have helped encourage me in a most responsible gardening direction. She is an encyclopedia of information on living with garden pests and the negative ramifications of pesticide/herbicide use also.
She fosters the use of native plantings, but also recognizes that not all gardens can sustain this kind of planting in entirety. In these cases, she expounds on the perennials, shrubs and trees that will support and attract bees and other pollinators – and gives the reasoning behind them as good and sensible garden inhabitants.
A Word About Shrubs and the Little Creatures of the Small World
My garden has an abundance of trees and shrubs, mostly evergreen varieties. Sure they are important in garden design, but not the only reason they are in the garden. Many insects and birds find them invaluable for winter homes and shelter. Food too in the case of the deciduous trees and shrubs. You do not have to live on acres of property to support wildlife, you just have to be willing to accept some insect and bird damage. Yes, the birds do a number on the 25 foot Juniper each winter.
Geri talks about attracting pollinators and birds to the garden and explains how this is important on a much larger, countrywide/worldwide scale. The color of plants and the time of day plays a big part.
Geri serves Cornell Cooperative Extension as a Bee Specialist and “provides education to the public, growers, and bee keepers, swarm collection and consulting about issues pertaining to pollinating insects (especially honey bees, bumblebees, and native bees).
Hens participates in Indigenous Women’s Initiatives, and is a tenured outdoor educator, and retired SUNY college outdoor education program administrator, professor, and coach. Geri Hens is a major contributor of honey bee wellness and health management information contained in Ross Conrad’s Natural Beekeeping textbook.”
Geri is available 24/7 to help or answer questions and told us to call anytime. She will come to remove and relocate unwanted bees, wasps and hornets.
She is a remarkable woman and one of the most riveting speakers I have ever heard. You pay attention to each and every word as her wealth of knowledge is literally without end.
So, What’s Bugging You?
I recognize that many of the visitors to my garden are not wanted, like the Japanese Beetles above, but with good garden practice and training in IPM methods, I have a good balance of insects and birds to control those unwanted characters.
In-House Robin and Food Source Under the Moss Garden at the base of the fountain
The robins, grackles, and starlings come for the dinner awaiting them under my moss garden. Did you ever look beneath moss? It is a community of so many insects. I have robins nesting in my Lilac tree and the natural food supply is plentiful for the growing families.
And a gardener has to contend with all the desirable’s hungry little larvae. I have had my share of borers if you follow this blog. Leaf feeding caterpillars seem be under control with the birds’ help and dragonflies take flight for the moths. Birds and ladybugs keep aphids in check.
But many are always a pleasure and very welcome, aphids and slugs excluded. Not everything is rosy at 664. And I do have my eye on the Plume moth duo above too. Fun to find and photograph, but not what they leave behind in the way of little chewers.
Here is a poor fellow I found feeding on my Shasta Daisy. I have no clue how this fly was alive, let alone feeding. I truly was sorry for the fly because it is a helpful pollinator.
See my next post Where the Wild Things Are. A trip to the Tifft’s Nature Preserve is a better place to find the bees and bugs, or is it now? Just because you build it, will they come? Probably, but not always and not all the time. See a few critters not seen in my garden yet this year. And Daylilies at 664 will be an upcoming post on Green Apples, none I purchased, all from commercial clients garden demolitions. See how those that were rescued fared on Green Apples.
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