After 5 years, my neighbors noticed the plethora of pollinators in my tiny urban pollinator garden; the questions and compliments were much welcome as they gave me the opportunity to share information about my work. Neighbors, like Marty wanted to know why I chose these particular plants: I answered -- "I am creating an ecosystem, not designing gardens just for "pretty." I continued on explaining the great bee decline that I noticed 8 years earlier at my house and why re-wilding my landscape is so important me.
Hummingbird Moth Love
My other neighbor Mark, calls me Ellie Mae because, "you're too kind to all of the critters." one day marched across the street to tell me that he thought the flowers looked nice. He then asked, "what the hell are you always taking videos & pictures of!??"
Enamored by his first ever vision of a Clearwing Hummingbird Moth in the bee balm; he asked me to create a small pollinator garden for him. What a win for our urban neighborhood to now have two houses re-wilding some areas!
The Robber Fly
Tickled pink that I could ID & sex whatever bee that he pointed out; Mark asked me what kind of bee (pictured left) this is! "It's NOT a bee, it's a Robber Fly,' I replied. He jumped around laughing and didn't believe me-- at first. To be honest, I love watching people's faces fall in disbelief once they find out that this isn't a bee. Mimicry in both the plant and insect world isn't much different than the human world!
The Hackberry Tree
Our conversation continued on with inquiries about what kind of new trees had I planted in the backyard. I explained that tree & shrub choice is also and important part of creating an ecosystem. Native plants, trees and shrubs can be host plants that offer food for caterpillars to eat. My Hackberry Tree, a member of the Canabacae family is an important host plant for many butterlfies and moths.
It also provides flowers for the bees, and fruit for the birds. It's a tree not usually promoted to grow in ones yard as it isn't considered attractive. It also grows to be 80ft tall, which is quite large for a small yard like mine. Again, I reiterated, " I am planting not for "societal norms," but for ALL of earth inhabitants." This tree is my flipped middle finger to society.
This tree also has sentimental meaning, as it was planted in honor of two people in my life: My mom, who instilled in me the love of flower gardens and has been my rock- always; and as a living presence of my 18 year old stepson, Adam who committed suicide in 2015. His spirit lives on in my house and my back yard. Under the Tree Calendar in Druidism, this tree represents both my Mom 's and Adam's zodiac sign. I'm a Fir Tree and Adam's dad is a Hornbeam. It's a win-win for me, as everything I have chosen to plant is life giving, has spiritual meaning, sentimental meaning, and love. Truly God's work.
The Monarch Butterfly
At the end of the tour he says, "I've seen only one bee at my house and one Monarch Butterfly, who flew from your house to mine but didn't stay. I want to change that. Will plant you me a small garden too?"
Here's one of the Monarch's he'd been seeing. She got herself some nectar from the Milkweed, and then laid her eggs on it.
Mark watering his new native plant urban pollinator garden
The mini-ecosystem at my house spoke for itself and was powerful enough to change a man, who has never had anything more than a Hosta in his front yard the entire fifteen years that we've lived by one another!
Change starts with a spark. I was the spark, the pollinator garden is the flame, and Mark is the wind..... three more neighbors have asked for me to put in pollinator beds. We are the change. Join the Bloominati!