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Welcome to a writer’s garden 2016!

bees on flowers

Photo by Catherine Castle


Another garden season is upon us, and another A Writer’s Garden blog series will be coming to my blog beginning next week. Each week of the series will feature an author who loves gardens, flowers, or is a gardener. I can’t wait to see what all my gardener/writer guests have in store for us this year. I hope you’ll join us for their journeys through the garden gates. Today we are going through the garden gates with me—Catherine Castle.

I don’t know about the rest of you gardeners, but I’ve already been hard at work since mid-March cleaning my flower beds. It’s been a challenge since I hurt my back last summer. Bending at the waist from my normal standing or sitting position to pull those weeds has been nearly impossible. And forget twisting! The chiropractor says, “No! No, Catherine!” So does my aching spine and hip.

Not only has it been a challenge to clean-up the flower beds that were neglected last fall because of my back injury, but finding decent days to get in the garden has been challenging. Here in southern Ohio we’ve been fluctuating between 70’s and frost/freeze warnings since mid-March. I’m lucky to get three good days out of a week to get the garden ready.

Personally, I prefer to garden when it’s cooler. The ideal temperature for me is somewhere in the mid-50s. The bees and wasps aren’t out yet. They prefer 60 degrees and above. Most of the insects aren’t active either at 50 degrees, so it’s a relatively insect-free environment to poke around in the ground.

Speaking of bees, according to an article in the June 2015 Wall Street Daily  by Samantha Solomon, a microsporidian parasite, called Nosema ceranae, is proving to be particularly dangerous to the honeybee population. This parasite spreads through the air on spores and targets not only adult bees, but immature honeybee larvae. Even when hives are treated with medication to kill the parasite, the parasite can resurge at a later date. In the last half decade we’ve lost 30 percent of the national bee population, according to the Center for Research on Globalization, and nearly a third of all bee colonies in the United States have perished.

I may not like getting stung by bees, and it’s happened a few times when I’ve been poking about in the garden, but I certainly don’t want to see them disappear. Without pollination by nature’s helpers, the honeybees, the world’s food supply will diminish. So, this gardening season bee kind to Mother Nature’s pollinators. We depend on them more than you might think.

One of my guest authors will be talking about bees later on this season. She asked me to post a link to a no-maintenance, Solitary Pollen Bee Nest for bumblebees, who are also important in the pollination process, especially now that the number of honeybees are diminishing. Here’s a link to one place where you can purchase the nest. http://www.leevalley.com/en/garden/page.aspx?p=70416&cat=2%2C47236

If you’re concerned about the pollination issue, consider reading up on this issue. You can also plant bee-friendly plants in your yard to help.

I hope you’ll enjoy this year’s A Writer’s Garden blog series. Please join us as we explore the world of A Writer’s Garden. In addition to interesting garden stories and garden information you’ll discover some new authors to read on balmy summer days while you sip lemonade among your flowers Happy Gardening!