|Photo from ecohoneybees.com|
Bees. I need bees. I need those little pollenators to come and visit my berries, the squash, and the cukes. I need them to work their magic so I have a beautiful garden, brimming with flowers and fruit, so much that I have to give it away or donate it to the local food pantry. Without the bees, it's onsy-twosies, and that's not going to work again this year.
So off I go. I wander through the garden section, looking at flowers, thinking that if I add some flowers to my garden, I'll get the bees. Now, in the new location that the garden sits in, there are fences on two sides. On one side are these huge hedge-like plants that are drought tolerant and bust out with TONS of yellow flowers. Yellow is good right? Bees like yellow. But on the other side, it's just fence.
I have it mind to plant more flowers interspersed with my veggies this year, for beauty, as well as pest control, and of course BEES. Nasturtiums and Marigolds will work nicely, but I want some REAL BEE ATTRACTORS... so I thought, "Hey, let's go talk to the experts." (rolls eyes)
The first orange apron I stopped looked annoyed to be stopped. Fortunately for me, I'm the customer, and I don't really care what she thinks. So I say, "Hi, can I just ask you a question? I want to attract bees to my garden this year, and I was hoping for some plant recommendations."
And then she says: "You WANT bees?"
Oh man. I really should have walked away at that point. Just turned on my heel and walked away. She leads me over to iceplant. Iceplant. She tells me that iceplant attracts bees. She's right about that. Who hasn't walked past a hill covered in iceplant, and noticed all the little bees busily working on the flowers? But iceplant is ground cover, and as effective as it might be, ground cover will not work in the garden. I must have looked less than impressed by her recommendation, because she extends that pointer finger and points at a guy in a green shirt. (She clearly has never worked in guest service at a company that actually values the way people are related to, like Disney or Marriott, because seriously, the pointer finger????)
"See that guy?" she says. "The one in the green shirt? He's the vendor. You should go talk to him."
BINGO!!!! I was not going to let him get away. And I didn't.
My advice: Don't go with the garden center at all... head to your local nursery, like I should have and talk to someone who walks the walk and talks the talk of a local gardener. My favorite is Louie's Nursery in Riverside. http://louiesnursery.com/ But I can't always get there, and when I do, I tend to get myself in trouble financially.... lol
In this case, I was very lucky that the vendor happened to be working at the time. He was very knowledgeable and helpful...
BUT THE STORY ISN'T OVER....
The Guy and I were standing in the checkout, and I was telling him about the experience I'd just had in the garden section.
"I told her I wanted to attract bees, and she looked at me like I'd grown another head... it's a garden center... don't you know about the birds and the bees? Seriously?"
The Guy just laughs, as I rant... we've been over this. He's certainly not going to ask me why I need bees... he remembers me out there with a paintbrush trying to hand pollenate those darn berries.
So I take a deep breath, and I'm done with the rant. We're done checking out, and we start to pull the cart (with the lavender and the jasmine) away. The girl from the checkout catches my eye and says,
"Seriously, though. Why do you need bees?"
SMACK. MY. HEAD.
Green Thumb Out