Now if you are wondering why I am referring to a book which has no connection to gardening, it is because I am feeling like our human civilization can seriously get wiped out not because of plague but because of the way we treat nature. Every time I go to Home Depot or Lowes (for those outside of the US, these are gigantic chain stores that deal with anything one needs to build houses, offices, yards and gardens, from tiniest nut&bolts to bulky wood-planks), I see people buying big cans of all sorts of pesticides, chemicals and Roundup. When all the world is proposing to ban or limit toxic chemicals and pesticides like glyphosate, EPA (Environmental Protection Agency of the US) is proposing to raise allowable concentrations of it in the food-crop (a pesticide which has been proved to cause every sorts of ailments in humans); then there is the Monsanto Protection Act that got passed by the government; senate is proposing to introduce an Ag-Gag bill through which it will become a criminal act to secretly tape abuse and torture of farm animals; anybody caught video-taping such acts will be prosecuted and their names will be entered in the terrorist-list (how much more ridiculous it can become??)!!!
All these are perhaps resulting is an acute scarcity of bees and butterflies in my garden this year. My garden could be an isolated incident, so I went to many of the nearby woodland preserve, park, nature trails, and everywhere I noticed their absences. Weather has been warm for quite a while now; though it is raining now and then, but there are many days of heat and bright sunshine. My garden is waiting with all sorts of blooms, and many more to come, but the buzzing-bees and the elegant-butterflies are not here. This is the first time that I have to pollinate my squash and pumpkin plants. The flowers of any squash and pumpkin plants are bee-magnets. Other years I would be scared to go near such plants to pick up the vegetables as so many bees will be buzzing around them. This year - NADA!!
The valley of silly-lily; lamb's ear and coreopsis; yarrow
Sedum-flowers; a potato flower. The color of the flower is telling us that we will have white potatoes. The pumpkin flower
A squash flower; a gourd-flower; a small bush of roses
White Astilbe flower; lavender-flower going to bloom soon; sweet-clover flower (people consider these as weeds in their lawns; but bees love them)
Some kind of wild flower, but grows in our yards; the flower grows on long stalks, and the plant is quite lanky, about 1.5 to 2 feet; close-up of some lily flowers
I was watching the Vanishing Bee documentary yesterday. According to the documentary: 1 out of every 3 food that we eat are pollinated by bees; bees are responsible for producing food-crops that are worth more than some billions of dollars; bee population is rapidly declining in the US with more than 60% of all its native and non-native bee population gone; THAT'S WHY THE USA HAS TO BRING IN BEES ALL THE WAY FROM AUSTRALIA (JUST THINK ABOUT THE CARBON FOOT-PRINT), POLLINATE THE FRUITS, NUTS AND VEGETABLE PLANTS, AND THEN AGAIN SEND THEM BACK TO AUSTRALIA (DO YOU NOW UNDERSTAND WHY FOOD-PRICES ARE SKY-ROCKETING HERE?)!!!! 35% of all the food that the US consumes are brought from outside the US; it is predicted that within the next 10 years, 90% OF ALL THE FOOD THAT WE WILL CONSUME WILL BE BROUGHT FROM OUTSIDE THE US (talk about out-sourcing!!!); more than 80% of all the food that are grown in the US are sprayed with various chemicals resulting in more than 1 BILLION TONS OF CHEMICALS BEING DUMPED IN THE US SOIL AND AIR EVERY YEAR!!! (am I using too much exclamations?? Well, this whole post should have been written with exclamations) -- this is just what the farmers are spraying. Now think about all the chemicals that are dumped in the soil, water and air by all the home-owners in the country!!!scientists and bee-keepers are noticing that bee-colonies collapse whenever the bees are borrowed and used by farmers who spray toxic chemicals.
Among all these tragedies lies the cheerful one -- ten years back France noticed that all the bee colonies are collapsing. Research lead to the cause of using gauchy and other insecticides produced by Bayer. French people being French people (love them, especially their language; need to learn it), they at once took out protests in the streets, resulting in government banning the use of any such insecticides. Within one year of the ban, bee-population revived and became healthy again. So, even if our government is not doing anything, we can take small steps to ensure that bees stay here. Without them we will not be able to produce any food; everything needs to be imported; food will become a scarce commodity, people will die of hunger and perhaps the book Earth Abides will become a reality. Here are the small steps, according to Honey Bee Conservancy: 1. Plant native flowers. 2. Reduce lawn-area and create gardens. 3. Stop the use of any chemicals around your house. 4. Skip the hybridized plants and select single flower-tops so that the bees have easy access to the pollen. 4. Bees love and easily find flowers of bright white, yellow, blue and UV colors. 5. Create bee-baths and build bee-houses. 6. Plant for blooms season-round. Happy Pollinator Week Everybody.