I know I have been writing a lot about gardening, but I DO love gardening. I also love the insects and birds a beautiful garden invite into the neighborhood. I am more likely to spend more time trying to discover things in my own landscape than going to a public garden for no reason other than it is right outside my door - and for me, closer is almost always better.
Last summer I tried to identify all the different types of bees living in my yard and gave up once I realized just how many different species of bee was hanging out on my flowers. I think I found at least 10 different species all of whom look almost identical. One cool thing in that inquiry I learned was that bees actually leave a scent on the flowers they have been on letting other bees know someone's already drank the nectar of life from it. How cool is that?
Encouraging beneficial insects reduces the amount of even herbal pesticides you have to use in the garden AND some plants even confuse the pests that create problems - like basil planted with tomatoes. Oh, I could talk all day about garden guilds, companion planting, and the benefits of inter-planting flower species with vegetable species, all that is edible and useful int he garden, but the truth is I most enjoy the abundance of diversity that comes to my garden every summer without a lot of loss to pests and the dirt under my fingernails after a full day of connecting with the life that lives right outside my front door.
This is a short video and article from Mother Earth News to help you get started - if you are a gardener and have interest in companion planting. And, the next time you are standing in your garden center looking at what to get having a little knowledge ahead of time certainly helps. We should encourage all the butterflies and bees we can to come into our safer spaces as their numbers continue to decline..