Are We Poisoning our Pollinators with Good Intentions?

Buy Plants that are Chemical Free and Pollinator Friendly!  What can backyard gardeners do to help our native bees and pollinators? The single most important step aside from not using insecticides or herbicides is to buy neonicotinoid-free flowers and vegetable plants from local nurseries or from a reputable seed provider. Do not buy plants or seeds from the “Big Box Stores” you may be poisoning … Continue reading Are We Poisoning our Pollinators with Good Intentions?

A Bee’s Eye View of the Garden

Planning a Garden With Bees in Mind – The sweeping vista of flower filled meadows is a sight to behold yet aesthetics are a side effect to the flowers true intent. Flowers are not seeking human admiration but seeking the attention of pollinators. Through visual cues, the flowers are shouting… “Pick me! Pick me!”   A closer look reveals that over evolutionary time flowers have gone … Continue reading A Bee’s Eye View of the Garden

Old Brambles for a New Home

The Curious Life of the Small Carpenter Bee Winter is the perfect time to start thinking about how we can help our native bees. One easy project is to create nesting habitat that will benefit the small carpenter bee (Ceratina spp.). Using pruning shears prune back old bramble bushes such as raspberry, blackberry or wine berries. In the spring, small female carpenter bees will use … Continue reading Old Brambles for a New Home

The Last Flower to Bloom

The last flower to bloom in the fall is witch-hazel, a woodland shrub. Long yellow petals form a scraggly looking flower that are in bloom as the leaves fall in the blustery winds of November.  Why, bloom so late?  A flower that blooms after all the other flowers are gone eliminates competition and on warm autumn days attracts all the attention from the remaining pollinating … Continue reading The Last Flower to Bloom

Bees in the Butterfly Garden

Anne Odell Butterfly Garden – Fahnestock State Park – In a recent venture to The Hubbard Lodge in Fahnestock State Park, I explored a butterfly garden flourishing with beautiful native flowering plants. The garden was alive with tired butterflies sporting tattered wings, queen bumblebees fattening up for a long winter hibernation, and a diversity of solitary bees finishing up their nests.  This garden named the … Continue reading Bees in the Butterfly Garden

All the Buzz Down on the Farm

A Garden Snapshot The idyllic farm conjures up images of chickens scratching around the farmyard, cows grazing in green pastures, and gardens producing a bountiful harvest.  One third of our food supply is achieved through the endless effort of pollinators, in particular bees.  The economic value of insect-pollinated crops in the United States is estimated to be $20 billion dollars in 2000, with native insects … Continue reading All the Buzz Down on the Farm

Bumblebees of the Adirondacks

The Adirondack Region Supports a Diverse Bumble Bee Population. On a recent trip home to the Adirondacks, I stopped along the East branch of the Ausable River and discovered the flood plain was filled with a diverse variety of flowering shrubs and herbaceous plants.  The wildflowers hosted a  surprisingly diverse population of bumble bee species.  In the mid-Hudson Valley where I now reside, I’ve find … Continue reading Bumblebees of the Adirondacks

Formal Garden of the Vanderbilts

At the F.W. Vanderbilt National Historic Site in Hyde Park, the restored formal garden is a jewel in its own right, while also a haven for a wide diversity of pollinators. The garden was restored in 1984 by a group of volunteers with permission from the National Park Service.  Today, the gardens are still maintained by volunteers of the Frederick W. Vanderbilt Garden Association, Inc., … Continue reading Formal Garden of the Vanderbilts

A Highway “Beescape”

A Small Wonder at a Busy Intersection Wedged between Manchester Road and a busy intersection on Route 55 and Burnett Boulevard in the Town of Poughkeepsie lies a hidden island of wildflowers and a thriving population of pollinators.  A sign marks the spot as “Project Wildflower”, NYSDOT, possibly alerting roadside mowers that this is an area not to be mowed.  What an ingenious idea!  To … Continue reading A Highway “Beescape”