Years ago, back in the 1980’s, I lived down by the Chattahoochee River off Columns’ Drive. I had a large wooden board (a 2″ x 6″) I would pass every day going to the font door. This rail had a medium-sized hole in it, a bit larger than the size of a quarter, where once had been a knot in the wood. The knot had fallen out and you could see through the board.
One year a rather large bumble bee came to live in this hole in the wood. He virtually filled it up. He seemed to sleep there. (Do bumble bees actually sleep?) He was always in his little house by sunset and left for work very early. I really don’t know where he went during the day, but all summer he came home to rest in his knot in the wood. He seemed to like his house. And I was always fascinated that he preferred to face the Chattahoochee River. He was always in his hole facing the river.
I came to like my friend the bumble bee. He didn’t seem to be bothered that I would walk by him every evening. Maybe he was fast asleep. Maybe he also liked me.
Then one day, he just didn’t come home, and I never saw my friend again. Did he die? Did he move? Did he outgrow his home? How old do bees live to be?
I read more and more that our bee population is endangered by the insecticides we use to grow our plants. I read that they are increasingly unhealthy and are dying off, and that this could threaten our food production. Bees are essential to our ecosystem, pollinating our plants. While there are bugs and flying creatures I hate (the nuisance or disease carrying ones), I love bees. (I’ll nuke a wasp, but not a bee!)
So, in our unending efforts to counter the unnatural harm we do to our planet, we have begun planting flowering plants that bees like—our version of a bee garden. I actually got the idea from our friends the Feenans. Our first planting includes Lavender, Tickseed, Speedwell, and Butterfly Bush.
When we bought the plants, a bee wanted to come home with us on the Speedwell plant. We decided against it! And, within a few minutes of being in the yard, a bee found the Lavender plants.