Sombreuil Climbing Rose 1850

Monday, September 19, 2011

Tribute to a Grower's Best Friends

February 8, 2011
Seen during the marathon rose pruning day... a Lady Bug in the lavender
among my favorite residents.   Usually I have to buy them at the nursery but this one just dropped in on it's own acord.  Perhaps a refuge from the neighbors?  The winged adults don't stay for long but if they have laid eggs and there is food for them, their babies stay around for a bit.   Their larvae eat the never welcome aphids.

Here Toadie, Toadie!  There's a cool dark home with an open door for you.

This bee skep replica is intended to contain a hose or encourage toads to make their home here.  When the summer monsoons come we have toads that hybernate in the soil come up and tease our dogs.  But we welcome them and their voracious appetite for non-beneficial insects.  Another reason we don't use anything that poisons insects because it may poison the toads and all on up the food chain.

Bees!  Yes Bees!  They are my constant companions in the gardens.  I love having them around.  It is confirmation that my gardens are healthy.  If the bees aren't here to polinate we don't have our fruits, flowers and veggies.  Bees deserve our respect and protection.  This means planting varied bloomers, something for every season here in our low desert.  It also means taking care when eliminating pests not to use means that eliminate the bees as well.  For us we only use hoses, beneficial insects and biodegradable organics.
This little bee skep hangs near a hummingbird feeder.  Who knows, even a hummer might decide to take up housekeeping.  "It could happen."  Hummers, as they dance from bloom to bloom, collecting nectar, also pollinate for us.  We welcome hummers daily with added food for times when blooms are less common.  Your hummingbird feeders do not need added red dye.  They do need to be changed frequently in warm weather to avoid bacterial growth that could harm these sweet tiny birds.

And this skep sits next to one of our prolific kumquat trees.  If you don't have a kumquat yet I highly recommend them.  Their small size means anyone can grow them.  We keep them by the kitchen door so that every time we go in or out we pop a bite size snack in the pie hole.  Kumquats are eaten whole, skin and all!  They can be a bit tart but are sweet as well.

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