Gardener's Grapevine 2012.04.04

Written by David Green.

Well, it’s Sunday again—easily my favorite day of the week. I enjoy going to our little church, even though I rarely get a chance to hear Pastor Jack speak. He is probably the best pastor I’ve ever listened to as he makes you think not only outside the box, but all around the box.

I enjoy teaching Sunday school as children see the world in a much broader spectrum than we do. Last week our lesson was on taking care of our world and thinking of not only of other people, but also plants, animals and even little insects. I instructed the children that we were going on a short walk, and once we left the church they were not to speak at all until we got back to the classroom. I asked them to touch whatever I touched as we walked around, and to look, listen and think.

We just went around the block and when we got back I asked them what they saw and if it was good or bad stewardship of God’s world. Some saw healthy plants, flowers and trees. Some saw trash, unkempt lawns and damage to trees. We discussed eating a piece of candy when they are away from home or a trash can. I asked what they do with the wrapper and if they are good stewards. Their perception of their world is very wide as is their perception of right and wrong. It must be amazing to be a teacher and watch young minds at work. When you have a child’s attention and they are very interested, it is a joy to behold.

A good friend and fellow garden club member, Mary Lampe, gave me an article on honeybees. Another good friend and work associate, Dr. Joe Karnitis, is a beekeeper. I have been aware of the problems with honeybees for sometime, mostly from talking to Dr. Karnitis. There are dwindling numbers and it is of great concern to many different groups.

With the increased use of high fructose corn syrup over honey, there are fewer beekeepers. There are 17-20 viruses that effect a bee’s health, and there is a decrease in areas with flowering plants that need pollinating. Bees love dandelions, but humans do not, so we spray them. Dandelions produce lots of pollen that bees use as protein in their diets. Fruit trees also use bees, and bees gather tons of protein from their blossoms. 

If the decline in bees is of concern to you, and it should be even if you’re not a beekeeper, you can do your part by not spraying your lawn to kill the dandelions and by keeping flowering plants that require pollination to produce in your gardens. If beekeeping is interesting to you, most county extension offices offer classes in beekeeping.

I read the article after I had rounded up the dandelions in our lawn. If you ask my husband, he will tell you I dislike dandelions in the lawn. They are beautiful in ditches and fields, but they love to take over a lawn. I think dandelions are one of the few flowers I’m not a fan of. For the sake of the honeybees, I just might change my tune.

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