Yesterday I went to the bee yard of noted potter Agnes Stark to help her install some packages of honey bees. While visiting her beautiful property, I was struck by how gently she shares her activity with nature. I arrived a few minutes early, so I waited at the gate in the shade of a black cherry tree in full bloom. A sign proclaimed, “No Mow. No Spray.” The black cherry’s clusters of tiny flowers attracted honey bees as well as numerous solitary bees and one large carpenter bee that dropped in for pollen and a photo opportunity. Leaving the margins of one’s property not mowed and not sprayed with chemicals provides habitat for the native pollinators. Oh, by the way, the carpenter bee posing in the picture is the bee that bores holes in the wood of decks, porches, and roof eaves. The black cherry is a member of the important bee plant family, the roses.
The presence of wildlife is a good indicator of the health of our environment. During my brief visit to Agnes’ bee yard, I saw the diverse display of honey bees and native bee species at the black cherry. I also observed two geese, five deer, and a skink. The skink is the lizard with the bright blue tail. I find deer fairly often in bee yards. Beekeepers regularly plant clover in any vacant plots; honey bees pollinate the clover, making seed; deer browse the clover tops. I feel like the bees, their keepers, the clover, and the deer share a beneficial relationship. We are so interrelated in the environment.