Saturday, December 20, 2008

Ho-ho-hoping for a forum

I always look forward to the Winter Solstice (tomorrow) because then the days will start to get longer again. Yay! The sun is so far south now and rises so late and stays (seemingly) so briefly. But I honestly don't think I would enjoy gardening in more southern climes where (like my friend in southern Florida) a person has to garden all year 'round.

I guess, having been raised in northern climes, my own inner cycle needs the same dormancy of our hardy perennial plants hereabouts. Besides, there is much to do during the cold months: planning vegetable gardens, research pollinator forage information, seed starting in the basement (well, maybe waiting until Feb-Mar), and other 'inside' projects, like finding ways to share bee/pollinator garden information.

Regarding the latter, I'm trying to convince a well-respected and very informative online forum: the iVillage GardenWeb to include a forum dedicated to Pollinator Gardens . Currently this site has a forum dedicated to "Bees and Beekeeping", but there is no conversation or information here for gardening for bees/pollinators. The forum that exists is apparently aimed at 'dealing' with bee- and wasp-like insects or working with domestic hives and honey production, neither of which has anything to do with designing gardens to support wild/feral pollinators.

Pollinator gardens and such sanctuaries are not about raising bees for fun/profit or how to get rid of a yellow-jacket nest. It is not about 'working with insects'. It is about understanding that in order for us to continue to benefit and enjoy the results (fruits, vegetables, flowers, etc.) of pollinators they need to be healthy and prolific. And right now they are neither.

Sterile landscapes, sterile lawns, the loss of open fields to 'development', all these activities make it difficult for pollinators to find reliable food (and in some cases, medicinal) sources. Remember, while domestic honeybee hives (the ones succumbing to CCD) are 'in the news' thus getting popular attention, many other types of bees, wasps, hoverflies, etc pollinate plants and crops that honeybees do not! There is a division of labor, so to speak.

Anyway, if you subscribe to iVillage GardenWeb (and I highly recommend it, the people there are helpful and kind and just plain nice folks), please take a moment to drop the administration a note suggesting that a forum devoted to bee sanctuaries or pollinator gardens would be useful - a forum where the PLANTS and PROCESS is the subject, not the insects that (we hope) will be attracted by, and benefit from, our efforts.


HAPPY HOLIDAYS to all (and 'bee' good! ;-) )


  1. It's always looked as if getting a 'new' forum on GW was not an easy task.
    I couldn't see that you'd asked for one in the Suggestions Forum?

    Take a hard look at the current Bee Forum: "This forum is for the discussion of bees and their roles as pollinators and honey producers," it says.

    As few participants as there are in this forum, why not just use it for your needs?

    If you can attract your fellow pollinator-gardeners to the current Forum, you might breathe some life into what is essentially a dead Forum. It doesn't matter what the official title is, you can easily turn it into a Pollinator Gardening Forum by participation. You certainly wouldn't be off topic.

    Make a thoughtful post or two and encourage your fellow bee enthusiasts to do the same. It might catch on.

  2. Thanks for the good advice, Jean, and the encouragement. :-)


Thank you for visiting. I appreciate your notes, comments and questions and will try to reply to each one! :-)