Osmia: Powerhouse Pollinators

The blue orchard bee (Osmia lignaria) is a fast efficient native pollinator of early spring flowers. In the apple orchard 250 to 300 of these powerhouse pollinators can do the equivalent work of 90,000 (two hives) honey bees.  Part of this success is due to their ability to visit more flowers per minute and to transfer pollen more effectively.  It is also helpful that some … Continue reading Osmia: Powerhouse Pollinators

Pussytoes: An Inconspicuous Little Plant

Ladies’ tabacco, Plantain-leaved everlasting, Plantain-leaved pussytoes, Pussytoes are common names for Antennaria plantaginifolia, an inconspicuous little plant in the Aster family.  It thrives in full sun and is perfectly suited for poor dry rocky soils.  Paddle shaped leaves are reminiscent of the common plantain (Plantago major) except they are hairy  leaves with three to five parallel veins.  The flower itself stands no higher than 6” … Continue reading Pussytoes: An Inconspicuous Little Plant

The Serviceberry: A Sign Post of Spring

Winter in the North is long and cold forcing the frost to penetrate deep, freezing the ground solid as a rock. The serviceberry, a small flower bearing tree, signals the ground has thawed, a sign post to people it was time to bury their loved ones that had died the previous winter. Funeral services commenced with springs advent and the tree was aptly named the … Continue reading The Serviceberry: A Sign Post of Spring

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Bees

…From Bee Expert Tim Stanley  (An Student Conservation Association, SCA, Interview), 2016 When residents of New York’s Hudson Valley want to know something about bees, Tim Stanley is thier go-to-guy.  He’s a beekeeper, and a veritable expert on the region’s wild bees (which, as you’ll learn, differ substantiallly from the bees we raise for honey). We recently interviewed him in an attempt to find out … Continue reading Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Bees

Spring Flowers and Wild Bees of “Slabsides”

It is hard to imagine a more fitting place to explore and observe nature than at the woodland retreat of, American naturalist, John Burroughs.   Today’s outdoor enthusiast can follow in his footsteps and sit on the porch of his rustic home called, Slabsides situated on a rocky crag overlooking Celery Swamp.    This 200 acre oasis is located in the Black Creek watershed on … Continue reading Spring Flowers and Wild Bees of “Slabsides”

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

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