Shutterbee

I enjoyed a moment in the Shutterbee spotlight in the latest issue of the group's bulletin. They're talking about the plug I gave to the bee research program in that national Wild Ones magazine article on the garden. I was only too happy to do it, as Shutterbee has enabled me to connect in meaningful ways with the life our garden supports, and it's also been a valuable source of lifelong learning for me. While my school days are long in the past, my mind continues to stay curious and crave new information. Shutterbee really fits the bill; some days I happily fall asleep with images of bees in my mind. Read more →


I'm so full of enthusiasm for the two beautiful herbs above that I hardly know how to start talking about them. They tick just about every box on the list! What are they?  American mountain mint, or Pycnanthemum pilosum (above left) Anise hyssop, or Agastache foeniculum (above right) Regular readers of this blog know I've talked previously about "stacked functions," which is a permaculture term for a plant with multiple (or stacked) uses, ranging from replenishing your garden soil to serving as your next meal. Both mint and hyssop excel in this area. But even if you're not into that permie stuff, you should know that these plants are the gifts that keep on giving... and giving. Let me break it down for you. Read more →


You know that bittersweet feeling you have when you get to the end of your favorite novel, and you're reluctant to leave the beloved world of the novel behind as it ends, but you're satisfied for the experience? I felt the same way when I finished Paige Embry's Our Native Bees. Read more →


Here in St. Louis, folks often quote Mark Twain as having once opined:  If you don't like the weather in Missouri, just wait a few minutes. Read more →


I fell hard for the bees last year when I joined a citizen-science program called Shutterbee. So I signed up again this year, and... I think my crush has grown into a full-blown obsession! Read more →


Back in the fall of 2018, we signed up for the St. Louis Audubon Society's Bring Conservation Home (BCH) program. A couple of "habitat advisors" came out to survey our garden, and they provided us with a list of recommendations for making it more wildlife- and pollinator-friendly. It was a long list, too: Our one-quarter acre was comprised of nothing but invasive plant species run amok, a huge expanse of turf grass, and a smattering of exotic ornamentals that did little to feed native insects and critters. Everyone agreed there was much work to be done. Read more →


As the bees come out this spring, your thoughts might return again to how to help these crucial pollinators. And when I say help them, I really mean help ourselves, since we utterly depend on them to pollinate our food plants. Well, here are two ways you can do this right now: 1) by participating in a backyard bee survey called Shutterbee and/or 2) simply planting more pollinator-supporting plants this spring. Read more →


Our Garden, Featured in a Story on Shutterbee

Our garden was featured recently in a story about Shutterbee, the citizen science program to study bees and determine the effects of native plant conservation efforts on local populations. Lisa volunteered as a bee surveyor last summer, making eight observations rounds for a total of 73 bee sightings across 22 different species. You can read the full story on the Webster Journal website, including video footage of not just our bee-friendly garden but several other bee survey sites and the Shutterbee lab. The interview gave Lisa an opportunity to talk about the benefits of volunteering in such a study: Read more →


Last year was a lot of things that weren't good, but one silver lining for me was that it was also the year of the bee. Read more →


Anthony and I have spent a lot of time and consideration on how much of the garden we want to allocate to native plants that aren't a direct food source for ourselves vs. traditional orchard and vegetable plants that do feed us. So far we've tried to learn as much as we can about native edibles and have designed the garden to include them. But it was exciting to learn through the Shutterbee program (read more about that here) that native bees can make great use of traditional vegetable and herb flowers as a pollen source. That's right: As part of our training as citizen scientists conducting bee studies in our own yards, we were instructed to include the flowers in our vegetable patches and herb gardens.  Read more →