The bees are awake and they’re hungry

crocus-bees Today was the first really warm day we’ve had since October. It’s been a long winter, and my garden is as eager to reach for the sun as I am.

The crocus’ popped open today (sorry it’s such a lousy picture). I planted them all over the garden in the fall of 2013, hoping that they’d provide an early meal for pollinators. I was delighted to see that it worked – the purple crocus’ especially were crawling with excited wild honeybees and native bees and even flies. No bumblebees though. Not yet. The white crocus’ had a few visitors and the yellow ones were pretty much ignored. Interesting. I know that the colour purple attracts more pollinators – the ultraviolet in the petals stands out, making them easier to see. I wonder if there’s a flavour factor though. Maybe yellow crocus’ just don’t taste as good.

Spring is here. Hallelujah!

“Eat or be eaten”: Bird-eating deer

Deer by Craig Lewis via Wikimedia Commons

By Craig Lewis via Wikimedia Commons

Seriously. Bird-eating deer.

Apparently, deer will snack on nestlings and even on adult birds whenever they get the chance. What’s more, deer aren’t the only herbivores that occasionally supplement their diet with meat and poultry. Cows have been caught doing it too. The usual suspects such as weasel, fox, and other carnivores don’t seem to do half as much nest looting as the creatures we like to think of as either strictly prey or “steak-on-a-plate”.

It’s time to revisit that conversation between Bambi and Thumper:

Young Thumper: Those are birds.
Young Bambi: Bur… Bur!
Young Thumper: Look! He’s trying to talk with his mouth full.
Young Bambi: Bur!
Girl Bunny: He’s trying to say “bird”.
Young Thumper: Say “bird”.
[wiggles his nose]
Young Bambi: Bur.
[wiggles his nose]
Young Thumper: Bird.
Young Bambi: Bur!
Young Thumper: Spit out the feathers, Bambi, it’ll be easier to talk.
Other rabbits: Come on, say “bird”. Say “bird”!
Young Bambi: Bird! Delicious!

As one commenter wrote on this rather delightfully written article,

“the end is deer”.

Read: Field Cameras Catch Deer Eating Birds—Wait, Why Do Deer Eat Birds?

A curious ambivalence toward beauty

P1010127I was just admiring some pink tulips that are brightening up my kitchen table on this extremely cold (-16C) and blustery winter day. I like them well enough, in fact tulips are one of the few cut flowers that I do enjoy. But as I was looking at them it occurred to me that I am curiously ambivalent about cut flowers. What’s that about? I am a passionate, if not obsessed, gardener. My perennials beds have so many different colours in them that it looks like a colour wheel exploded in my backyard. With the exception of Sweet Peas (which beg to be cut and deserve to be capitalized) and the occasional delphinium bloom that falls over from its own weight, I very rarely cut flowers from the garden to bring into the house.

Then I realized why. To me, flowers cease being “plants” when they are stuck in a vase. They are beautiful, of course, but they are not alive. I guess I regard them in the same way I would a fur pelt – gorgeous, but no longer an animal and not nearly as interesting.

That’s just my own quirk, of course – I’m not being judgemental. And fair warning – the wise man who comes to court me will bring the entire plant with him.


Put Out the Welcome Mat for Leafcutter Bees in Your Garden

Heather Holm is a gardener and a naturalist and a great writer – a big inspiration for me! I love her articles on and this one – all about leafcutter bees – is well worth checking out. Once you finish reading it you’ll never again curse the creature that bit a half-moon shaped chunk out of a leaf on your rose bushes.