My kids come home from school nearly every week and inform me that the bees are in trouble and we need to do more to help them out. Last week I was told that some bees are now on the endangered list. This concerns me and should concern everyone.
A story from NPR.org states that “Pollinator decline is a global trend. A recent major global assessment sponsored by the U.N. suggested that about 40 percent of invertebrate pollinator species are facing extinction. Since some 75 percent of food crops rely at least partially on pollinators, that raises serious concerns about the future of the global food supply.”
I have always been an avid gardener but understanding how important my flowers are to our future means that it is more important than ever for us all to plant flowers around our homes. I have friends who say that they can’t be bothered with flowerbeds because it is easier to have grass – or concrete – everywhere. I prefer flowers.
In addition to helping the Bees, a flower garden is a great place to teach children about chores that are fun. Gardens are work to be sure. To some it is fun and to others it is torture. Either way, mine have all been dragged out into various gardens until that momentous day they leave for college or move out. No one is exempt. Here are some tips to managing your gardens.
Parenting Tip Number One: Don’t give them a choice. About once a day, unless it is snowing, I walk through the house clapping and I say, “Outside. Outside. One hour, One hour. Meet me outside in five minutes.” They moan and groan and begin to make excuses, but eventually they make it out to the porch. I quickly assign the different chores.
Parenting Tip Number Two: You have to be involved with them. This is a chance to be together doing something different and fun. It is a chance to teach them about so many things or, as I have found, it is a good place to listen. Something about having your rear-end in the air that opens their mouths.
Parenting Tip Number Three for budding young men: I often use this encouraging logic – this is just a different way to build up those muscles. Think of this as your daily workout. This is CrossFit. This is like going to the gym with your buds – only better! This doesn’t always compute but I always feel better when I get to say it.
Parenting Tip Number Four: If things get slow you can always sing Encouraging Work Songs. These are generally sung while standing over a reluctant worker. Sing in a very loud Operetta Voice until they get back to work. Here is a sample verse that I particularly like, “Work, Work, Work is fun. Work is good. This is an Encouraging Work Song. We Work for fun. We work for mom! OOOOhhhhhhhououou!”
Parenting Tip Number Five: Spend about a third of the required outside time rocking on the porch sipping cool drinks. It is amazing the topics that will crop up.
Just last week I had a reluctant worker in our Bee Garden. She was slinging dirt and mumbling under her breath. Jap, Jab, Jab. She worked the little hand shovel. I let her blow the steam off while I helped the boys work on their rock lifting technique for biceps muscles. When we finished, I gingerly approached her with a box.
“Here is a box that I ordered that is supposed to be a “Bee and Butterfly” garden in a box. Why don’t you help me get these planted?” I smiled. She glared, sniffed, and grabbed the box. I went over to the barn to get the shovel. When I returned to the flowerbed I saw a neat row of plants which had been unpacked and were ready for the dirt.
I explained that without the tags I didn’t even know what I was planting or which to put in the back or shade or sun. She did have the grace to lower her head. I laughed and told her that the bees would not care.
So, we added twenty-three Bee Specific plants to our garden. We just don’t know what was added or if they will overtake the plants nearby.
The IMPORTANT thing is that we do have a BEE Garden and are doing our part for the Bumbles.