ways to bee nice and messy

Don’t fret if you don’t see honey bees in your yard.
According to this piece by Eric Atkins, there are dozens of other kinds.

All are important. All are pollinators.
And they want to live in the messy bits of your garden.
So make sure you have a few messy bits.

DSC05913Piles of rocks and sticks.

Also a fairie beach does not go amiss…

General rule of thumb appears to be this:  don’t over-rake, over-prune or anally tidy every last bit of the outdoors.

If you must be anal, you can always go inside and clean your house.
As for those honeybees…seems we ought not to become amateur bee keepers as we risk doing more harm than good in spreading disease and parasites.
In other words: leave beekeeping to the pros.
And create friendly environments instead  for all those OTHER bees, i.e. leafcutters, bumblebees, sweaters and miners.

Bonus:  because the natural world is naturally diverse, to allow a bit of the ‘natural’ will result in fewer bad bug infestations.


—when buying plants and seeds, check with the grower  or nursery about use of neonicotinoids. More and more growers are choosing not to use them, but only because more and more people are asking questions and raising a fuss.
Ask questions.

Raise a fuss.
The bees will thank you.
And we’ll continue thanking the bees.
As we should.

Without them we’re pretty much landscaped toast.


it’s a spring thing

Every year I’m surprised by how much I miss my parents on this particular holiday more than any other. Surprised, I suppose, because I’m not prone to this emotion generally, but on a sunny Easter day I miss driving to their house in a slightly warmer part of the province where the forsythia are often in bloom while snow lingers in the shady bits of my own yard. I miss sitting on their patio, listening to stories about their life long before I knew them and how they’d correct each other, argue, decide the other might be right after all.
I miss walking on the beach with them on this first spring weekend and my mother finding wild rosebushes and making a note to come back in the fall to pick the hips for tea. Just for a day, I miss the smell of her kitchen with the windows wide open.




there oughta be a sign

The path in the park forks into a circle around a small copse.
It doesn’t matter if you go left or right, you’ll eventually come back to the same place. If you go left you get to the bluebells and trilliums sooner. I go right.
I like to save the good stuff.

There’s a tree, a shrub really, in pale pink blossom. A wild thing I’ve never noticed it before. I’ll pay attention this year and see what it becomes.

This reminds me of the apple tree I passed on the way in, how all that windfall fruit last year made good crumble. And a few meals for the squirrels until the ice storm happened. Most of the trees in the area were badly broken but, magically, the apple tree was spared. I make a note to check for blossoms on my way back.

I see that the fiddlehead ferns—ostrich ferns—are past their fiddlehead stage.
It always happens so quickly and I haven’t even had any yet this year.
Another note: find some and eat.

And how does a single daffodil appear on a forest floor unless planted by someone? Well done, someone!  Because if you had to be a daffodil, this would be the life to choose. So much better than the claustrophobic hysteria of mass plantings.

I see my first forsythia. Out here anyway. The actual first was in Toronto. But it always is. All that concrete has an encouraging effect on blooms.

And here’s something peculiar: I’ve never noticed the dogwood that lines the creek. How is that possible? I’ve walked here for years.

And this is new also: what looks to be a cucumber among the still-to-be-cleaned-up ice storm debris. Though I think it’s bound to be trampled on well before it finds its way to a crust-less sandwich.

Poor thing. The world needs more cucumbers.

I’m tempted to make a sign…



in search of bloodroot

I set out this morning to see if the bloodroot had opened. I’d noticed leaves and buds curled up near the creek the other day. En route I pass the man who I usually see in his plaid bathrobe taking out the recycling… today in a Canadiens jersey, laying out a tarp to dry on his driveway.

A long-haired Alsatian chases a black squirrel with a brown tail while the dog’s person calls something like Jingles!  and a cat in a window looks smug.

There’s a house where daffodils and red tulips bloom—dozens of them—it’s the only place that has more than one or two and, weirder still, they look like they’ve been there for weeks and I wonder how this can be.

Over here a truck delivers a load of sod and topsoil and over there a couple of chairs on a front porch look ready for a mug of tea. Further along, a grease stain in a shape that can’t be overlooked and which I add to my collection.

There are reminders everywhere of December’s ice storm.

And on various curbs, a total of three toilets, one bathtub, two sinks and a countertop.

I notice the hockey net around the corner has been replaced by a basketball hoop and a skipping rope abandoned on a lawn beside a pair of mittens.

There is a thing I don’t recognize.
And a song that I do.

And the Italian man with the garden near the park is walking around his patch of still bare earth, smoking, figuring out where the tomatoes and beans and zucchini will live this year. Rotation is good.

There’s wild ginger.

And tame things.

And then, by the creek, one of my favourite oddly named things…

a gift for april

           You tell me that silence
is nearer to peace than poems
but if for my gift
I brought you silence
(for I know silence)
you would say
         This is not silence
this is another poem
and you would hand it back to me.

—’Gift’, by Leonard Cohen (The Spice Box of Earth)

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