At Last! A Happy Bee and the Wandering Squirrels

Hello Bee Friends,

August has sure been an interesting month. We had two wicked hail storms two days in a row, followed by a hard frost that just about decimated all of my plants. Despite the havoc it created elsewhere in the city with flooded roads and downed trees, I got lucky. It only ripped a few leaves off some trees, shredded my squash, and severely damaged the Golden Elder.

Despite the storm, the first thing the House Sparrows did the minute it was over was check out the bird feeder to make sure there was still food for them. This is the first year I’ve put out a bird feeder – it is quite fun watching all the little birds come daily to eat. The babies are still fluffing themselves up and fluttering their wings to get Mom and Pop to feed them. They are so cute.

DSC_0708 DSC_0717

One baby Robin also visits the yard occasionally. Here he is waiting for the sprinkler to go off so he can get a little drink of water.


I put out a bird bath and was delighted to discover that not only do the birds love it, but it also provides much needed water during the hot dry weather for other insects and bees. I put rocks in it so they can easily get a drink without falling in.


The other day, a Downy Woodpecker showed up, pecking away at the stick trellis by my Clematis.


One day I put out some plump blueberries in the bird feeder, but the Sparrows just looked at them strangely and tossed them over the side.  DSC_0435

That attracted the little vole that was mysteriously living somewhere in my yard. He made a sneaky visit to collect some scattered berries and seeds.


and Finally!

Another happy surprise yesterday – the two Wandering Squirrels that live in my neighbourhood discovered that I put out sunflowers for the birds and stopped by for a snack.

DSCN0056  DSC_0723


My patch of clover is going to seed, but I’m still holding out that the few flowers will feed the one bee that visits it daily. The other few bees are enjoying the late summer flowering Flea Banes, and Lobelias.


As summer draws to a close, the bees are yet again drunk on my Purple Flowering Echinaceas. Maybe, like us, they celebrate the harvest with a little bee party. Sometimes they lay there for hours, stoned on the necter’s ethanol. IMG_3485

Which reminds me, I’ve been meaning to make some Mead one day. Perhaps this rainy day that has a hint of fall in it would be the perfect day to make one of humankind’s oldest drink – honey wine.

Here’s to the Bees, and the Birds, and the Mice and the Squirrels that keep us entertained all summer!

Bee Nice to Bees! 😀



Big Bee is Dead

Thank you City of Calgary Councillors, and thank you 70.71% of Calgarians. You have single-handedly managed to decimate the bee population in my yard from about 20 bees down to 4. Way to Go! You must be so proud of yourself, standing before the world and watching those nasty weeds wither away, along with those dead bees. Congratulations.

I’ve been wondering what happened to Big Bee! He hasn’t been around my Delphiniums for a few days. Coincidentally, the green space behind my yard, the nearby soccer field, and surrounding beds near the children’s playground were sprayed with Trillion, 2-4-D, and Vantage.

You know what those pesticides do to bees?




Dead Big Bee – July 28, 2015

Fact Sheet on Trillion:

To save you the trouble of reading the whole article on this, Calgary people, let me summarize some of it for you here:

“Humans are much more heavily contaminated with 2,4-DCP than with 2,4-D. 2,4-DCP is considered a possible carcinogen by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).”

“A study in the peer-reviewed journal “Environmental Health Perspectives”, noted that the commercial, off-the-shelf mixture of 2,4-D, Dicamba and Mecoprop may pose serious reproductive risks.”

“2,4-D, was recently found to be persuasively linked to cancers, neurological diseases and reproductive problems (Sears et al., Paediatrics and Child Health, April 2006). Since then, very recent research greatly strengthened the scientific links between non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and 2,4-D.”

See you in the Cancer Ward, you idiots.

Not a Happy Bee today.


Sunny Stonecrops for Sumptious Suppers

Hello Bee Friends,

How is your garden? Mine is full of Stonecrops blooming profusely and brightening up my whole yard. Stonecrops are wonderful plants because they love hot and dry, and that’s exactly what I have in my backyard. They are so pretty, bloom all summer, and are exceptionally easy to grow. This plant has grown everywhere I’ve planted it – in rich moist soil, in dry hot baked clay, in cracks between slate stepping stones, under other plants and in full sun.

And, most wonderful of all, this plant is loved not just by me, but by almost any living creature that visits my yard.


Yesterday I counted one white moth,  one orange moth, three mid-size bees, one big bee, one wasp, several flying insects too quick and small to know what they were, and several ants all enjoying the yellow Stonecrop (Sedum Kamtschaticum) in the warm sunset – and all at the same time. 

Bee enjoying Stonecrop (Sedum) July 10, 2015

Even the furry cat I am currently kitty-sitting this week loves to sit beside it, listening to the buzz of the bees. 😀


Everybody loves Stonecrop

I have four different Stonecrops, but this particular variety of Stonecrop is the favourite of all. It propagates easily from cuttings just by plucking off a shoot and sticking it directly in the ground. It can also be grown from the seed it produces after flowering. It grows everywhere it is planted. It blooms from late spring to autumn, changing colour from this bright sunny yellow to a bronzy-orange, and finally to red. The leaves change colour too in the autumn. It contains itself well in a showy clump with the height ranging between 4-10 inches.

If you can only afford to plant one or two plants, I would highly recommend this one. Especially for a starting gardener as it is so easy to grow and looks beautiful all spring, summer and autumn. Bees love it, butterflies love it – Everybody loves Stonecrop! 😀

Do you have any Stonecrops growing in your garden?

Have a nice week, and Bee Nice to Bees! 😀


Raindrops on Roses, and so are the Bees

Hello Bee Friends,

I’ve been spending a lot of time in my yard watching the flowers bloom in our incredibly hot weather. Usually June brings the “June Monsoons” (as I fondly call them) but this year is dry, dry, dry. We finally got rain late last night and it was so wonderful to hear the patter of raindrops all night.

Today, the bees are busy because my rose is emitting the most wonderful fragrance with its profusion of blooms.


Bee on Rose (Jun 30 2015)


The Bachelor Buttons are flowering too, and they love them.


Bee on Bachelor Buttons


I mentioned before that I’m letting a patch of clover grow in my back yard. This is what it looks like right now. There are always about five or seven bees flitting from flower to flower.


Patch of Clover in the middle of my lawn

Bee on Clover (Jun 2015)


Between my rose in the front yard and the pretty patch of clover in the back, they are very happy bees.

And that makes me very happy too. Do you have happy bees in your yard?

Have a nice week, and as always,

Bee Nice to Bees!






Pesticide Use Poll has Disastrous Results

Hello Bee Friends,

Recently, on June 11th Calgary’s Global News conducted a poll asking its citizens if pesticide use should be increased to control weeds, specifically dandelions. The results were disastrous – for bees, birds, and other wildlife (not to mention people).  Here is the result of the poll. [1]


This is a complete flip from the similar poll conducted in May 2007. “In a Global CTV poll 71% of respondents voted no to the question “Should the City of Calgary increase its pesticides use to control our dandelion explosion?” 29% voted in favour.” [2]

So, what happened in the eight years since the last vote? Especially when the decline of Bees (and other important and essential wildlife) are so much in the news?

I can only imagine that the majority of people in Calgary have become so self-centered that a green sterile mono-culture grass lawn is more important than bees, their pet dogs and cats, their own children, and their own health. Green weed-free grass is more important than the fish that swim in the world-renowned Bow River, or the effects of run-off for every creature that depends on this source of water downstream. Grass weed-free boulevards and parks are more important than getting cancer [3]; more important than getting Parkinson’s [4]; and more important than potentially causing ADHD in children, and endocrine disorders in pregnant women, and brain cancer in children [5].

Pesticides are poisonous!!! That’s why they work!!! says:

Warning on the Use of Chemicals

Pesticides are poisonous. Always read and carefully follow all precautions and safety recommendations given on the container label. Store all chemicals in the original labeled containers in a locked cabinet or shed, away from food or feeds, and out of the reach of children, unauthorized persons, pets, and livestock. Consult the pesticide label to determine active ingredients and signal words.

Pesticides applied in your home and landscape can move and contaminate creeks, lakes, and rivers.Confine chemicals to the property being treated and never allow them to get into drains or creeks. Avoid drift onto neighboring properties, especially gardens containing fruits or vegetables ready to be picked.

Do not place containers containing pesticide in the trash or pour pesticides down sink, toilet, or outside drains. Either use the pesticide according to the label until the container is empty, or take unwanted pesticides to a Household Hazardous Waste Collection site. Contact your county agricultural commissioner for additional information on safe container disposal and for the location of the Hazardous Waste Collection site nearest you. Dispose of empty containers by following label directions. Never reuse or burn the containers or dispose of them in such a manner that they may contaminate water supplies or natural waterways.”

When most other cities and provinces in Canada are implementing pesticide bans, Calgary takes two steps back (or ten?).

  • Even though twenty-two million Canadians (65% of all Canadians) are protected from exposure to cosmetic pesticides under comprehensive bans in Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec (based on Statistics Canada’s 2011 census data) [6]. Ontarios’ ban covers “more than 250 previously sold chemical pesticide products” [7].
  • Even though Physicians [8] are very concerned about adverse health effects.
  • Even though The Canadian Cancer Society [9] warns against pesticides effect on health.

Bees cannot read warning signs!! Neither can birds. “Contact pesticides are usually sprayed on plants and can kill bees when they crawl over sprayed surfaces of plants or other media. Systemic pesticides, on the other hand, are usually incorporated into the soil or onto seeds and move up into the stem, leaves, nectar, and pollen of plants.” [10]

There are other, more friendly ways to control weeds: like… let them grow, or mow the grass more often.

I’m very sad today, my friends. 😦

Can we every really Save the Bees (or even humankind?)

Source: ot-dead-bees-070330.jpg [11]

Bee (as) Nice to Bees (as you can, because others just don’t care)


[1] Source:


[3] Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and Specific Pesticide Exposures in Men: Cross-Canada Study of Pesticides and Health Source:

[4] If there is strong evidence that exposure to a pesticide causes Parkinson’s disease, cancer, other serious illness or negative environmental effects then regulatory action will be taken. Source:




[8] The Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment,a non-profitable organization dedicated to environmental issues especially as they relate to human health, have campaigned on the hazards of lawn pesticides. Source:

[9] On April 3, 2008, the Canadian Cancer Society released opinion poll results conducted by Ipsos Reid, which established that a clear majority of residents in the provinces of British Columbia and Saskatchewan want province-wide cosmetic lawn pesticide bans, and that the majority of respondents believe that cosmetic pesticides are a threat to their health. Source:



How to Make a Baby Bee

Hello Bee Friends,

Last week, I shared a video on baby bees emerging from their larval stage. This week, we take a step back. This amazing video shows how solitary bees make baby bees, how the mom bee carefully makes the nests and patiently fills it with lots of essential food (pollen) for the babies.

Please share this incredible video with your friends (and watch “The Solitary Bees” again on Vimeo here).

Have a great week!

Bee Nice to Bees! 😀