Sassy makes sure we hit the sidewalk by 7 AM. I make coffee first and sip that while checking the morning news.
We have never been in such a friendly neighborhood, and Sassy is definitely our Ambassador of Good Will. We tried in Bella Vista, but the hills, narrow roads, traffic, and psychotic dogs kept us from doing much. One little white dog would come out of his house and bark us down the road, which only got Sassy upset and bark back.
Morning walks are the best, when we see our landscaper friend, the family with four daughters, our helper's wife going to work, and various other neighbors along the way. The neighbors know Sassy and call her by name, so she wiggles up to them.
The landscaper is going to cut up our dead tree, and I will give him a bunch of red wigglers for his raised beds. He is using Jackson Mulch and earthworms now, but I am not using fertilizer, weed killer, or pesticides. My four KnockOut red rose bushes, with 35 blooms apiece are rather persuasive, so I no longer admire his weeds.
|The landscaper would love for Sassy to have puppies,|
but she is spayed.
Our helper (one block away) is waiting for more earthworms. I will also give some to the girls who are helping their mother open up a garden. I have leftover seeds from my mega-buys, but I miss the days when I could get a pound of seed for little more than four ounces. Purchases are likely to be micro rather than mega.
Our helper's wife loves Sassy's happy barks, so Sassy is glad to reward her each morning around 7. The louder Sassy barks, the more grins she gets. Sassy's nature makes everyone happy, once they are used to the barking. Only one person solicits the barks, and she is duly rewarded with them.
Four of us worked on the tree trimming, which meant I got more than I dreamed of in new sunny gardens. Three of us will work on the dead tree. Our helper really likes the wild garden concept, so we will use the long logs to create a barrier on the ground, better than the one I started - to serve as a toad, bud, beneficial insect refuge, and bird platform.
|Baby robin was on the stump, not my finger.|
While I was planting some new items for Father's Day, a baby robin perched on the big branch near the Jackson Bird Spa. He chirped away, clearly alarmed. When I approached, he moved down to the pile of sticks and climbed to the top. He returned the nest soon after that.
Walmart had bee balm plants and fernleaf dill. I had two barrels of rainwater, a wheelbarrow full of rainwater (from the last storm - only five inches of rain), and a mopbucket of rainwater.
Dill is a member of the carrot family and has tiny flowers loved by beneficial insects. Bee balm is a perennial that will welcome bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds.
Scores of studies have examined which plant families are most attractive to natural enemies, and I used information gleaned from these studies to compile the list of plants profiled in the next chapter. For example, beginning in 2003, researchers at Michigan State University compared different native plant species to determine which appealed to the largest diversity of beneficial insects. They collected and identified every predator, parasitoid, and pollinator they found and discovered which plants were the most attractive. This type of information is meant to steer us toward the best plants for our insectary borders. We know that having these food sources available increases the longevity and reproductive capability of these insects. We also know without a doubt that the presence of flowering plants increases the rates of parasitism and predation. Knowing which plants attract which predators and parasitoids enables gardeners to increase the diversity of natural enemies in their gardens...
Open nectaries, such as those present in members of the carrot family (Apiaceae), are among the most user friendly to the largest diversity of beneficial insects.
Walliser, Jessica (2014-02-26). Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control (Kindle Locations 1511-1518). Timber Press. Kindle Edition.
Horse Mint or Bee Balm
The small flowers of horsemint are arranged in clusters around the flowering stem. Beneath each cluster of flowers is a whorl of showy pink to purple bracts. The flower whorls occur in tiers down the stem with a section of bare stem separating each flower cluster. The leaves of horsemint are fragrant and were—and still are—used to make a tea to treat all sorts of bodily ailments. Horsemint is a native of the eastern and southern United States, parts of the southwestern United States and California, as well as parts of Canada and is listed as endangered in several regions. It self-sows quite readily and can be started from cuttings, root divisions, and fall-planted seeds. With the exception of full shade, it thrives in nearly every garden setting.
Walliser, Jessica (2014-02-26). Attracting Beneficial Bugs to Your Garden: A Natural Approach to Pest Control (Kindle Locations 2479-2485). Timber Press. Kindle Edition.
There are many types of bee balm. The short version is - look for tiny flowered plants - and sunflowers - to attract beneficial insects.