The Blessings of the Garden

If you grow flowers and or food it's pretty clear what the return on investment is. You get beautiful flowers and yummy food. But more often, before there is anything to harvest, before the flowers bloom, there is amazing beauty and gracious gifts the garden gives us. 

I was hanging some sheets to dry this morning and heard buzzing. But this wasn't just honey bee buzzing, this was BUMBLE BEE buzzing. My favorite kind! I love bumbles because they are the chunk-a-monks of the bee world. They are a little less agile and graceful in their flight, they buzz loudly and they are, in my opinion, absolutely adorable.

The humble Bumble.

The humble Bumble.

I turned towards the buzzing and there, in one of the squash blossoms was a lovely little guy or gal. Maybe it slipped or maybe it was intentional but the bee was literally rolling on it's back in the pollen around the stamen. My heart just melted. It was possibly one of the sweetest things I've ever seen. Then my bumble friend buzzed over to another blossom and did the same thing. So no wonder my squash is exploding with newbie squash fruits!

I have spent a lot more time this spring just observing in the garden. I love watching all the insects busily doing their thing, helping to produce a great harvest this summer and fall. I love that it makes me feel like a very small part of the garden. It thrives, less because of me and more because of the precious ecosystem that's developed back there. That brings me so much joy.

As we all know, honey bee populations are endangered which endangers us all. But did you know that Bumble Bee populations are endangered as well and they are just as valuable as honey bees for pollination. 

Nearly 200 years ago Charles Darwin, in his On the Origin of Species (1859) wrote the following about bumble bees. He called them Humble Bees.

"...plants and animals, most remote in the scale of nature, are bound together by a web of complex relations. [...] I have [...] reason to believe that humble-bees are indispensable to the fertilisation of the heartsease (Viola tricolor), for other bees do not visit this flower. From experiments which I have tried, I have found that the visits of bees, if not indispensable, are at least highly beneficial to the fertilisation of our clovers; but humble-bees alone visit the common red clover (Trifolium pratense), as other bees cannot reach the nectar. Hence I have very little doubt, that if the whole genus of humble-bees became extinct or very rare in England, the heartsease and red clover would become very rare, or wholly disappear. "

My eldest son is currently experiencing a major phobia of bugs. He used to just be arachnophobic but now he is terrified of anything with 6 or more legs. I'm sincerely hoping the garden will help him heal and overcome his fears. 

Now it's your turn. What are the blessings you receive from being out in nature, whether that's the garden, the farm, the forest, the beach?