I was cutting roses for the altar yesterday when I approached a Queen Elizabeth flower that was ready to be trimmed. I had to peel the petals back. Inside was a "bee" tearing around having a good time with the pollen.
Wait a minute. That "bee" has a metallic green head. He must be a Flower Fly (Hoverfly, Syrphid).
The Flower Fly dines on pollen as an adult, and the adults lay eggs on or near pests to feed their young and do us a second favor.
Flower Flies are pollinators and pest destroyers. I do my part by providing pollen 24/7 and pests galore. Water and shelter are also important. Whenever I look at ways to improve the environment for beneficial creatures, having a trashy or wild area of the yard is high on the list.
God creatures the various insects, birds, and toads, engineers them to do their jobs efficiently, and manages them so their timing is perfect. When harmful insects begin their work on roses, the abundance of food attracts birds, praying mantids, and beneficial insects.
One cause is the abundance of food. When I lived in Sturgis, it was known that one ne'er do well would show up for any potluck dinner and serve himself. His name was Ralph Waldo Emerson, an appliance heir rather than a philosopher. He came to our potlucks. The town had a motto - feed them and Ralph will come.
The science writers tie themselves in knots explaining purpose, because plants and insects simply do not think these matters through. For instance, plants produce nectar and that attracts creatures. But they also produce EFN - extra-floral nectar, which is a way of being especially attractive to the nectar-feeding garden-helpers.
The timing is another example of God's management. The KnockOut roses have just finished their first blooming cycle, all around us. Whether they belong to me or another person, the KnockOut bushes are maturing the blooms and turning them into seed pods - on their schedule. I was pruning them almost daily, but my blooms are still done for the moment. I will cut them back quite a bit to spur them into the next cycle, which is not determined by me or the roses, but by God - through the DNA library. Pruning will give them fresh growth to produce blooms, and deeper roots.
|White clover fixes nitrogen - makes usable nitrogen fertilizer - in the lawn.|
Of course, gardeners can kill off the white clover and spread their own
short-lived fertilizer - a double-sale for the gardening center:
lose/lose for the gardener.
|Clover spreads on its own and produces seed.|
The beneficial insects enjoy a wide variety of tiny flowers, so I have plenty around the yard, with masses of white clover, thanks to the heavy rains from last summer. The difficulty in mowing allowed the blooms to go to seed and spread their influence, which is definitely favored over crabgrass.
Four-leafed clovers are easier to find in tall clover, so have some fun looking in a patch that is left to grow tall. One plant makes an island of them. I am disinclined to mow much this year.
Breaking News - More Rain
I anticipated rain and emptied the four rain-barrels again. Favorite plants got their extra dose of rain from the barrels yesterday, rain from the sky today, and more stored for the future.
We are not getting the several storms of last year - so far.
Some people were completely unaware that rain is pure, gentle, liquid fertilizer. And it is free. I went over the details with one innocent - "Water all month in July, the grass is still the color of straw. Then it finally rains for an hour and the grass is green. That is from nitrogen made useful (fixed) by lightning in the storm."
As determined by God, rain and snow must have consequences, which teaches us daily about the efficacy of the Word.