Saturday, July 16, 2011

These hardworking bees

For those of you in southern Ontario, you may have already noticed that there is an unusually low amount of local cherries available at farmers markets and stores this year.  In the spring, all the cherry trees bloomed beautifully, and around here we were excited to see the abundance of blooms crowding the trees in our neighbourhood and we dreamed about foraging for sweet and sour cherries.  However, we had such a long bout of heavy rain during the short cherry blossoming weeks that the bees were unable to pollinate, and now we are seeing that there are absolutely no cherries growing on any of these trees.  Once again, such a stark and clear example of the invaluable role of bees to our food system!  Luckily, the Niagara region seems to have some cherries, though expensive (understandably) this year, so we got our hands on a few precious quarts that were absolutely delicious. 

Anytime I see bees in our yard, seeking nectar among our flowers and herbs, I am joyful - and hopeful.  If you have any garden space at all, consider planting at least a few bee attracting plants (and let them go to flower).  Try to choose as many native plants as possible for your area - for example, bee balm, oregano, clover, lavender, sunflowers, sage, thyme, mints, catnip, fennel, tansy, hollyhocks, echinacea, roses, berries of all sorts, fruit trees, and also other trees such as hazel, alder, linden, magnolia, maples, poplar, willow.

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