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May 04, 2015

Is it possible?

Can spring finally be here?

Day temperatures in the 60's and 70's, with no frost or freeze warnings in the forecast.

With poor weather and issues around here, I'm way behind on outside work.

Yes, another minor setback with Yolanda.

We spent Friday night/Saturday morning in ER.

A slight fever, headaches severe enough to cause her to throw up.

More drugs for pain and nausea.

Still, we give God the glory.

With a new month, comes cleaning the feeders and water sources.

Now there is no excuse to give your feeders a deep and thorough cleaning.

The feeders are out, but no hummers yet.

We haven't seen an oriole either.

On the odd side, a Male house wren has made his presence known for almost two weeks now.

He is way early for these parts.

Toads are in full chorus at local ponds and wetlands.

The vibrancy of spring continues.

It is the intention of this letter to get all of you to think about how and what you do in your gardens you install and maintain.

Gardens should be used to invite pollinators and wildlife in general.

Wildlife (including pollinators), require a source of food, shelter, water, and a place to reproduce.

Once the requirements are met, it is only a matter of time before your garden becomes a habitat for pollinators, and so much more.



For the past several years we have read and heard about the decline of bees.

Especially honeybees and the subsequent effect on our food crops.

Pollinators provide a necessary reproduction of more than 85 percent of the worlds plants.

This includes two-thirds of the world's crop species.

We read about colony collapse and other issues.

Since the middle of the 20th century until now, beekeeping in America has declined almost 50 percent.

That is one major factor, as we become more urbanized countries, there are fewer farmers of all sorts.

Still, that doesn't mitigate the sudden loss of whole colonies and the loss of native pollinators.

A big reason for the loss of pollinators, is the major loss of habitat.

Urban sprawl.

Then there are pesticides.

Non native plants (lack of hosts).

Tilling, and disrupting soil and nests.

All play a role in the decline of our pollinators.

Our native pollinators are much more effective at what they do than honeybees.

For example:

Native Bumblebees almost exclusively pollinate tomatoes, no other bee can.

Bumbles are powerful enough to pry open certain blooms, they also have priority rights to the 'Buzz Pollination'..

This is where they grab a flower, buzz, or vibrate the pollen loose.

This pollinates the flower and provides food the the bumblebee and the larvae.

Bumblebees also fly in bad weather, and are out and about when temperatures dip, when other bees are hunkered in.

Bumbles are also the bee of choice in greenhouses to pollinating.

They are also prime pollinators for blueberries and cranberries as well.

Do you need another example or two on native bees?

Native Squash Bees (Pictured), are up and pollinating your squash plants, and taken its first break before the honeybee has its first cup of morning coffee and heads off to work.

Squash bees have already called it a day (almost).

Mason Bees (pictured below), also called orchard mason bees are so effective at what they do.

Check this statistic..........

According to 'Mother Earth News', it requires 40,000 honeybees to pollinate an acre of apple tree.

A job that requires but 250 native Orchard Mason Bees.

While mason bees are a seasonal bee, they have few peers when it comes to pollinating.

Put up a Mason Bee House or two in a protected area, possibly attached to a shed.


North America is home to more than 4,000 species of native bee.

70 percent of the species nest underground.

Cultivating fields and crop tillage is devistating on our native bees.

Consider leaving a corner or parts of your garden undisturbed to invite ground dwelling bees.

Bees aren't the only pollinators.

What about 'Hoverflies'?

Adult hoverflies may look like a fly, a bee, or other insect, but the adults do indeed pollinate flowers.

The added bonus is in the larvae.

The hoverfly larvae are ravenous feeders of aphids and other small insects.

Yes, Hoverflies (also called syrphid flies), pull double duty.

Who can forget Butterflies and moths as Pollinators.

We adore the magical flying flowers.

Indeed, we plant flowers just to attract butterflies.

Yet, adult butterflies need a host plant to lay their eggs on.

You and I are familiar with the monarch butterfly and of course milkweed as the only host plant.

The shrinking of habitat in Mexico and the shrinking of milkweed habitat.

Have you given considerations to other butterflies and moths?

Depending on your geographical location, and butterflies to attract, there is hundreds upon hundreds of host plants.

Native violets, grasses, vines, trees and other plants are required to host butterflies.

Non native hosta, daylilies, and such aren't getting the job done.

Native plants are also more hardy than non natives.

Of course, the world of birds must be included as pollinators.

The number one bird will be the hummingbird, of course.

Hummers are high energy and must feed every 15 minutes or so.

To insure pollination, plant your flowers in groups of clumps of the same plant species.

Not only does this attract pollinators, but adds to pollination success.

Orioles are also pollinators to a certain degree, as they too are attracted to nectar.

Other birds that hop around or flit from plant to plant in search of insects are also pollinating.

The spider that lays in wait, or scurries across a flower is also pollinating the plant.

The chipmunk that scurries in the undergrowth also pollinates.

Every time you are in the garden, you too become a pollinator.

You want to keep yourself healthy, why not the insects and animals you enjoy?

Should they live a healthy life too?

If you read any newsletter or articles this summer, be sure to read the next week or two on pesticides and chemicals.

You may be in for a rude awakening.

At least, an eye opener for sure.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.

God Bless.

"Look at everything as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time."

Betty Smith (1897-1972) German/American Author and Writer

Think of it.

The first time you see a waterfall, the mountains, or something grand.

The first look at a newborn baby.

Knowing it will be the last time you ever gaze upon the ocean or a loved one.

Not just what you see, but what you feel in your heart.

Enjoy what you see.

Believe in the Creator of all things, whether you see or not.

"Unless you people see signs and wonders," Jesus told him, "you will never believe."

John 4:48

Then Jesus said, "Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?"

John 11:40

Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

John 20:29

Because, if you say with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and have faith in your heart that God has made him come back from the dead, you will have salvation:

Romans 10:19

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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