It’s one of the greatest migrations of the animal kingdom: Every spring, hundreds of thousands of monarch butterflies sweep across the continent from Mexico to Canada and then back again in fall, a journey spanning nearly 3,000 miles and multiple generations. In fact, recent studies show that it takes up to four generations for monarchs […]
In the back of my garden, I have a small patch of fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) that grows year-round and stands five feet tall. Sometimes I’ll harvest the fronds for a salad or a bulb for my favorite seafood stew, or even the pollen or seeds for my cooking, but for the most part, I let […]
A few weeks ago, I received a shipment of mason bee cocoons from Crown Bees for my native bee house. I could already hear the little guys buzzing around before I’d even opened the box, and sure enough, several male bees had already emerged in transit. One, however, was just starting to wake up from […]
I just received a shipment of leafcutter bees in the mail the other day. Aren’t they neat? Or I should say, leafcutter bee cocoons. The silken cocoons come encased in the leafy cells the mother bee created when she laid her eggs. Unlike spring mason bees, which start flying when temperatures reach 55°F, summer leafcutter […]
When we talk about saving the bees, we often think of honeybees, hives, and how we can attract these pollinators to our gardens. We read about neonicotinoids and their devastating effects on honeybees, we petition garden centers to stop selling insecticide-laced “bee-friendly” plants, we see Facebook memes with pictures of half-empty store shelves and captions […]
Around this time of year, the garden is abuzz… not only with bees, butterflies and hummingbirds, but with the iridescent green, giant, flying beetles known as fig beetles (Cotinis mutabilis). The first time I ever bumped into a fig beetle, literally, I actually heard it before I saw it coming. It sounded like a jumbo […]
Aphids are my enemy. But when they attack, the ladies-who-lunch are all set to fight back. They’re hungry and they’re ready to feast.