Mason Bees, Chickadees and Eco-roofs, Oh My!
It's the little things that matter the most sometimes. I was up on the eco-roof the other day noticing that within a few square feet amazing things were happening. The roof itself is a microcosm of life with all manner of seedlings sprouting, bees were buzzing around from the mason bee nests a few feet away, and right above my head a pair of chickadees, the garden's namesake birds, were dee-dee-ing right at me. Each of these three elements I have either encouraged or actually physically placed in the garden to increase biodiversity. It is a pleasure then to see them thriving, mostly on their own with little help from me.
here. I have since put in fresh new liners for the tubes and waited for the mason bee cocoons to hatch. They started to do so in March, males first then the females who promptly began filling the tubes with eggs.
Crown Bees recently. Good info!
- They travel up to 100 yards from their nest site to collect pollen.
- As far as pollinating, they are some 80x more efficient than honey bees.
- They forage on overcast days.
- They will fly and collect pollen at 54 degrees F. whereas honey bees rarely collect pollen below 60 degrees F.
- Since they fly at lower temperatures and when cloudy, this means that your early blooming fruit trees (and anything else blooming) are adequately pollinated. They are busiest when pollination peaks between May and June.
Portland Ecoroof Handbook and Portland Ecoroof Program.
The World's Best Garden Blog pointed out, it would just be embarrassing to be Chickadee Gardens and have no chickadees. We no longer have to hang our heads in shame. Hang. Heads. Shame! No more! Hooray!
here. It touches on biodiversity and wildlife in the garden, certainly major goals of mine in gardening.
here. I bought my copy at Powell's in Portland. The premise is that nature has changed by our doing, and that it can be brought back to some kind of balance, also by our doing. Nature is now in our backyards and gardens, our urban centers and parking strips and by doing one small simple thing like planting just one native plant we can help shift the balance towards sustainability.
By planting native plants they support a whole host of native insect life which thus supports a host of bird life and so on. This, I believe, is why I see such diversity in my own garden since I have introduced biodiversity in the form of a multitude of native plants, water features, bird boxes, mason bee nests, eco-roofs, no pesticides or herbicides, etc. Even if I just planted one native plant vs. an invasive plant, that would make a huge difference. If you plant it they will come, as I wrote in a post about our miraculous little monarch caterpillar that found our milkweed last summer. It really did find it all the way up north here in Portland. You can see the photos and read about it here.
The future of biodiversity has a grim outlook unless we all take small steps. Plant some milkweed, start a mason-bee box, pledge to cut back on pesticides as there are plenty of alternative ways to get rid of pests. If you have aphids, spray them off with a hose and attract beneficial insects such as ladybeetles and lacewings, for example.Your garden and the chickadees will thank you for it.
That's it for this week at Chickadee Gardens, as always thank you for reading! Until next time happy gardening!