Come walk with the bees this weekend

As I left for work this morning, I took a pause to look over the hill. Standing in the rain, I took in a deep breath. It was beautiful.

Looking at the lavender fields, I thought, “It’s too bad that no one gets to share this with me.” Well, we’ve done something about that, very quickly.

High-Hand Nursery presents Lavender Picking at Maple Rock this weekend. Yes, in three days. It’s lavender. It’s not going to wait around long and it’s starting to peak. We talked about doing pop-up events throughout the year. Well, as I stood at the wall, I thought, “Well, why not now.”

This Saturday and Sunday, June 3rd and 4th, from 9am to 2pm, you can come to Maple Rock and pick lavender. As always, parking is free. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased by clicking here, at High-Hand Nursery, or be purchased at the gate.

I realize this is last minute, but it is two days so you have your choice of Saturday or Sunday. I warned you we were going to start doing Maple Rock pop-up events. So, here’s how this will work.

You can bring a picnic lunch and a blanket and pick a spot in the shade under the apple trees. Bring your clippers. We will provide a holder for your lavender and you can pick as many bouquets as you want because we have boatloads of lavender flowers. You can take a self-guided tour through the garden and the piano concert hall will be playing music at the top while you enjoy your lunch. We will not be serving food, so bring your lunch if you wish to enjoy a picnic at Maple Rock.

So, let’s get into the nitty gritty of walking with the bees. After all, bees are the caretakers and the sound of the garden. As you can see, you’ll be standing in a field of lavender, washed with its color and fragrance. You will also be there with approximately 400,000 other airborne workers. So, let me make a few suggestions for all of you who are unsure about picking lavender with the bees.

First of all, understand the bees really don’t care about you. They are not flying around looking for somebody to sting. They’re busy. They’re working. For a bee to make a pound of honey it has to make approximately two million visits to a flower, so trust me, they’re very focused.

To help the bee stay focused on its job of collecting pollen, when you come to Maple Rock this weekend, you can do the following things:

  • Wear light colored clothes.
  • Avoid fragrances, scented soaps and hairsprays, lotions and oils.
  • Bees navigate through odor so avoiding fragrances is a good thing.
  • Don’t wear floral patterned clothes. Duh. Don’t look like a flower patch.
  • Bees see ultraviolet light. If you light up under a black light, you’ll be interesting to the bee.
  • Walk calmly. Don’t run.
  • Don’t swat, wave your hands or hit at a bee. You will probably get hit back.
  • The bee has the right of way. There are plenty of flowers to pick.
  • Smile. Bees don’t like sad people.
  • Bee relaxed.
  • Enjoy
  • Have fun

Understand that our friend, Bee, is not looking to sting and they don’t sting generally when they are gathering pollen. They are punch drunk. Last year I laid down in the lavender and was amazed at how many bees simply ran into me. FWI – Flying While Intoxicated.

They can get drunk from fermented nectars in the flowers and you can imagine how many flying accidents there are. Believe it or not, they can forget how to get back to their hives. I was actually shocked to learn that if they do get back to their hives and they are completely buzzed out of their minds (pardon the pun), they have been known to be rounded up and punished by having their legs chewed off. I know this sounds gruesome and I wasn’t going to go there, I just wanted you to know that even in the bee world there is a severe punishment for FWI.

The hum of the bees is the voice of the garden. Bees can literally shake pollen out of the flower by humming very loudly at them. This humming, created by rapid muscle contractions, can produce a force up to 30G – about 3 times the force of a fighter jet making a tight turn. The vibrations dislodge pollen grains from the flower. Pretty cool. I’m always amazed about the POWER of nature about which us mere humans have no clue.

Let’s recap.

THIS SATURDAY AND SUNDAY
Come to Maple Rock Gardens and pick lavender with the bees. Don’t worry about them because they don’t care about you. They only care about their job. I can’t say that a bee sting won’t happen, but I will say in all the times I’ve laid down and walked among the lavender, I have never been stung. So, enjoy and relax and join us for our first pop-up Maple Rock event of the season.

More information can be found by clicking here.

Trains, Trains and Trains
September 9th, join us at Maple Rock. Live steam engines, BBQ and live music. Come see the trains and steam engines presented by Sacramento Valley Railroad Society. Tickets are $10 and parking is free. Click here to purchase your tickets.

VOTE, VOTE, VOTE, PRETTY PLEASE
We are also trying to win the Best of the Best contest. So, if you feel compelled please click here to learn more. You’ll find the links at the bottom of our page for the categories for which we’ve been nominated. Vote for High-Hand Nursery and vote for High-Hand Cafe. We will love you for it.

See you at Maple Rock this weekend. Walk in the lavender and talk with bees.

Scott

P.S. Stop by High Hand Nursery on your way home. We’d love to see you.

The Water Bank

During the financial crisis, most of which I still don’t understand completely because I don’t think we got the whole story, the banks didn’t have enough cash to pay all those loans they had out if all the loans went bad. That’s an abbreviated version of the crisis, but let’s just go with that for now. Think about it. If a bank has $10.00 in its account and its outstanding loans are $15.00, what would happen if $5.00 of those loans went bad? The bank would have to eat $5.00 in loans. Hah! But, what if the bank only had $2.00 of income coming in and $5.00 more of loans went bad? Now, for all you mathematicians and for all of you with a mathematical bent…

Let me think. I have $10.00 in the bank. I paid out $5.00 in bad loans, which left me with a balance of $5.00, but, crud, I had another $5.00 of loans go bad. Now I have no money in the bank, but that’s okay I had $2.00 come in. So I’m cool. I have $2.00 in my bank, and only $5.00 in outstanding loans to cover. So, as long as nothing else happens, I’m good. But if half of the outstanding loans went bad against my $2.00 account, then I’m .50 in the hole and screwed.

“Scott, what’s this have to do with a High-Hand Nursery email? Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” Well, I have an answer for that. Let me explain it the best I can so stop for a minute, go get a glass of wine or a glass of water and when you come back, try to follow my thinking. Let me say this about my thinking. I would like to think my brain is a genius. Wouldn’t we all? But, it’s not. So, sometimes when I speak I can be a bit confusing because my brain runs ahead of my mouth. But, when you come back reread my math problem above, and get that segment reinstalled into your brain. All right. I will wait.

Jeopardy theme music playing over and over again.

Here we go. Winter has given you a water bank. The water bank is the amount of water stored in the ground after Winter has deposited it in your water bank account. Call it the water table if that helps. As Spring gives way to Summer, the water bank (water table) naturally goes down through evaporation and/or tree roots that can draw water out of the account.

So, what happens if you do not make water deposits into your account? You will deplete your account of water and there will be no more evaporation and no more tree. However, we have an irrigation system that has been depositing water back into the ground or around the tree. Are you ready for some heavy numbers again?

In my mind right now I’m thinking that this email is getting a bit heavy and complicated, but I’m going to forge forward. As Winter ends and Spring begins, we must start watering. At first, we start off conservatively. Once a week, every third day, every other day. This progression usually happens with a rise in temperature. Here’s where everybody usually screws up. We have a tendency not start to depositing water into our water banks soon enough.

As evaporation in early Spring starts taking water from our bank and the trees start making their withdrawals, the water bank goes down. We generally wait until the last minute to start applying water. Here come the numbers.

My water bank has 10 gallons of water. Evaporation and my tree are taking 1 gallon per day. After five days I decide to turn on the water, depositing 1 gallon per day. At this point I am running a deficit of five gallons of water. As the heat increases, evaporation and my tree are removing 3 gallons per day. Yet, I think that a gallon a day is plenty of water for my tree. So, is it safe to say I’m about to run out of water in my water bank? It’s really not about how much time you have on your timer. One hour is one gallon of water on your timer. Fifteen minutes is a quart of water. Do you remember the old oil cans in the gas stations in the ’70’s? I do, even though I was a kid. That’s a quart.

Let me sum it up like this. So, do you see how the banking crisis and watering your yard are one and the same? This is a very long way of getting to a couple of simple sentences. I don’t water plants. I water the evaporation rates. As long as I keep my water table in my yard at a certain level the plants can withdraw from it. So, as it evaporates, I simply replenish that portion of water. By starting early in the year and not later, you will not fall into a water deficit which will lead to a financial deficit if the tree dies.

How to measure evaporation rates in your soil? Way over my pay grade. We would have to bring in a lysineter to measure. Thank Google for that.

Here’s what I know.

Clay based soils hold water like a sponge. They’re more dense, thus more evaporation.

Sandy or rocky soils evaporate rather fast. Not only does water fall away faster, but there is more air in these soils, thus more evaporation.

Loamy soils that have compost and organic matter retain water much longer and because there is space for air, they release water more evenly.

Our friends at Kellogg’s (yes, that’s a plug for you, Kellogg’s), have mastered water retention with their great compost and soil additives that, yes, we sell at High Hand Nursery.

There you have it. You might have to reread it more than once. How much do you water your yard? It’s a tough question to answer. Soil conditions, exposure to the elements, plant choices and the basic personality of your yard all dictate different needs. Once you’ve figured that out, it’s really a snap.

I’ll sum it up in one sentence. Start watering early and don’t fall behind in your water bank.

Here’s what going on at High-Hand these days:

June 3rd, Saturday from 10 to 2 pm, twenty artists will converge on High-Hand Nursery. “Into Thin Air” — watch masterpieces unfold in front of your eyes as talented painters create right in front of you. It will be fun. Dare to do something different and come in and watch. I dare you.

June 24th — Mike and Molly at Maple Rock. We are planning a Farm to Fork meal at Maple Rock Gardens brought to you by Mike & Molly of Hawks Restaurant in Granite Bay and High-Hand Nursery & Cafe. I would like to tell you more, but we are wrapping up the menu as we speak. It will be a beautiful evening at Maple Rock. Live music, appetizers, a three course meal, dessert and beer and wine are included. The cost is $295.00 per couple, plus tax. It will be a time to remember beneath the beautiful sky and beautiful view. To reserve your seats, call High-Hand Cafe (916) 652-2064, Extension 2.

September 9th — join us at Maple Rock for Train Day. Live steam engines, BBQ and live music. Come see the trains and steam engines presented by Sacramento Valley Railroad Society. Tickets are $10 and parking is free. Click here to purchase your tickets.

FYI: We are also trying to win the Best of the Best contest. So, if you feel compelled click here to learn more about how to vote. You’ll find links at the bottom of our page for the categories we’ve been nominated for. Vote for High-Hand Nursery and vote for High-Hand Cafe. We will love you for it.

Keep an eye out on our website as we are planning small pop up events at Maple Rock over the coming weeks and months. These small, intimate events will be something you will not want to miss.

We are currently in the process of dreaming and massaging all the possibilities so stay tuned.

Happy water banking.

See you at High-Hand Nursery.

Scott

Do You Know Your Rebel Type?

Have you ever considered yourself to be a rebel? There are many types of rebels. Rebels who go with the flow. Rebels who go against the grain. Are you the type of rebel with the confidence to walk down a dark alley? Or, perhaps you’re a rebel in your field of work, an expert perhaps.

I thought about what kind of rebel I am. For those of you who know me, I am a rebel who has walked on a few different sides of the road, sometimes against the traffic.

What kind of rebel are you? When a board game comes out at a party, are you the one who wants to enforce the rules, play to win? When you must complete a dreaded chore, do you get a thrill from checking it off your list? Do you have a hard time respecting an authority figure who is critical? Or, perhaps, maybe there is an indication of what kind of rebel you are from a childhood photo. Are you smiling, sitting up straight or complaining, “Are you done taking pictures yet?”.

You could say that I would consider myself a garden rebel. In my early days as a garden rebel, I was the one who stood out as a child. I remember one day in kindergarten there was a wild sunflower growing along the fence line. Probably a bird sat on the fence and left a seed at some point. Janet walked up to it and admired it. Gazing at it adoringly, she proclaimed, “Isn’t that so pretty?”. I stood there, looking at the flower, just waiting for her to be done admiring it. Then I picked up a stick and beat it to the ground and squashed it under my foot. At last, a garden rebel I had become.

Simple fact of the matter is that boys and girls are complete opposites. Girls will admire and smell a flower, taking all its beauty in. A boy just wants to squash it with a stick, proud of his accomplishment of power. Could you say both the girl and boy in this scenario are garden rebels? I would.

What kind of garden rebel are you? Hopefully, you’re not like I was in kindergarten. The good news is that I’ve grown out of my old garden rebel ways.

Do you tend to buy a new plant before you buy a new pair of shoes? I do. Is a day of bliss spent puttering in the yard? It is for me. Is a visit to High-Hand Nursery part of your personal stress release? Ladies, would you give up a manicure to dig in the dirt? If that’s the case, then you are a garden rebel.

So, here’s the story of this plant. I first saw it at a nursery in Buellton. It’s a geranium. I was amazed. I went into garden rebel mode and said, “I’ve got to have it. I don’t care.” This geranium is an example of evolution in action. The seeds of this plant originated on the island of Madeira, where Darwin took over and evolved it into its present state, a geranium widely different than the ones we’re familiar with. It thrives mainly in the coastal areas and is cold hardy down to about 25 degrees. It can bloom for 6-9 months if deadheaded correctly and planted just precisely in a nice woodland area of a garden. It’s not too fussy about pH, but does like well drained soil. Here’s what puzzles me.

I took this picture last week during Bloomtastic. It’s a picture of the waterfall outside the front door of the house. For those of you who visited us last weekend, surely you recognize the waterfall. Did you notice something special? Look closer. Focus in on the one thing that doesn’t belong in that picture. Do you see our friend, geranium madarense, growing out the side of a rock. I did and I was amazed. My wish had come true. I finally had my geranium. The funny thing is this plant has never made it’s way to Maple Rock, ever.

Growing out of the side of a rock on the side of the waterfall, thousands of miles from the island from which it originated is the geranium I always wanted.

With my garden rebel in overdrive, the plot of the story thickens even deeper into mystery. You see the only way this plant will grow from year to year is if you harvest the seeds from the flowers and start all over again in perfect conditions. How did it get there? Obviously, it came by seed. Obviously, it came by two ways only; wind or by bird. We will never know, but I can guarantee you this. I have no intention of picking up a stick and beating it to death. My only intention is to admire it, wonder how it got there and be blessed by its presence.

Are you a garden rebel? We are calling all gardeners.

Join us for our Thursday email on tips and tricks and advice on how to take your garden to a new level. Click here to sign up for the Garden Rebel newsletter.

Wow! Bloomtastic was a great day and for all of you who came, we thank you very much. Mother Nature smiled upon us with beautiful weather, beautiful flowers and, yes, you, the beautiful people.

Well, what’s next at Maple Rock? We are thinking and noodling it over. Here’s what we’re noodling:

  • In June, Farm to Fork dinners at Maple Rock
  • September Train Days
  • Harvest Festival
  • Pop-up concerts

So, keep an eye on us. Check our website because these events are going to pop up quick and sell out quick. Information will be available on our website within the coming week.

Thank you for making Bloomtastic a successful time. We hope you enjoyed the gardens at Maple Rock and we hope you will join us for some of our upcoming events. Keep rebelling in the garden.

See you at High-Hand Nursery.

Scott

Maple Rock This Weekend

I was at a hamburger joint this week and I did something I normally don’t do. I decided to eat my hamburger there. I’ve always been a grab and go guy, but it was a nice evening and I decided to simply sit, have my burger, sip my milkshake and casually dip my fries in ketchup.

While waiting for my hamburger I decided to check out the newspapers. There were two papers there and they both had stories on their front pages I wanted to read.  I walked to my truck and grabbed a fistful of quarters and headed over, excited about taking just a moment to pause, eat a burger and catch up on current events the old fashioned way. I was going to read about the news actually made of paper and not scrolling my cell phone.

I dropped a bunch of quarters in the first paper machine, reached to open the drawer, and nothing. The door remained locked. Pushing the coin return, all my coins came out, half of them spilling on the ground. I repeated this two or three times, getting increasingly frustrated and each time the coins spilled out onto the ground. But I really wanted to read the story, so I inserted the coins one more time. Rejected once again, I pushed the coin return button and to my surprise an additional .75 poured out. I just made .75 cents on my investment in time inserting quarters into a newspaper machine.

Content with the outcome, I now focused my energy on the second machine. Surely, this wasn’t going to happen twice and surely I would get a newspaper. But no, after several attempts and coins pouring onto the ground, rejection and frustration mounting, I heard my number called and my burger was ready.  Without the stories in hand, I thrust the quarters into the machine one more time.  I pleaded to the gods, “please, I just want to catch up on current events the old fashioned way.” The gods weren’t listening and I pushed the coin return button for the last time. Out poured the coins and, guess what, two additional quarters. I kind of chuckled as I thought to myself I made over 50% return on my investment of time standing at newspaper vending machines.

Don’t you wish that when you purchase a plant and you plant it in your yard, having invested your time, energy and passion into the project, that they will give you a return on your investment?

There are several ways a plant can return your investment:

  • You get a smile (happiness);
  • You get a return in satisfaction;
  • You get a return in nourishment if its an edible;
  • You get a monetary return if you can sell the edibles you’re producing;
  • You get beauty;
  • You get life (butterflies, birds, slugs and snails);
  • You get to meet nature everyday;
  • You get peace and comfort;
  • You get remembrance;

You get my point.  We can go on, and on and on. Let me show you a few of my favorite plants that have given me a return on my investment. Some you’ve heard me talk about before.

These are peonies in my garden at Maple Rock. Year after year, with literally little to no fuss, they pop out a thousand smiles. Peonies are like snakes. You don’t have to touch them if you don’t want to.

If planted in a spot where it doesn’t get wet feet, then this is what you get. It’s a cat. It really doesn’t require much petting, maybe twice a year as far as trimming goes. Pretty simple.

These particular roses are anything but normal. I’ve found them to be one of the most forgiving varieties I’ve come across, as well as an amazing performer. It’s called ‘Paint the Town’. It’s a snake. I feed and trim it once a year. Doesn’t require much more than that.

Sedums and succulents. Some are like dogs. They do require a pat on the head occasionally. But, most are like snakes from the high desert.

This one is like a dog. Loyal, forgiving and dependable. Just a little fertilizer in the beginning and a little snail bait to keep our friend the slug away and voila!

This one’s called Tropicanna. This festive, dependable canna is very reliable. It’s like a guide dog. You can keep your eyes closed and it will keep coming back, doing it’s job time and time again. It’s a great problem solver for wet areas and is very dependable in other areas of the garden.

They’re like a skunk. You forget that it’s there until you see it or smell it in this case. Other than that, you wouldn’t know it’s there. You tend to forget about it in the garden when it’s not in bloom. The companion plant underneath it is Japanese Forest Grass. It’s also like a skunk. You’ll forget it’s there in the wintertime until it pops out at you in the Spring.

I’m not a rose fan and I can’t tell you why, but if used properly they make a beautiful landscape shrub that’s virtually impossible to kill like a Jerusalem cricket. Look up this little cricket. It’s been known to survive a nuclear blast and it is ugly.

You might not have noticed, but you’ve just completed a tour of Maple Rock Gardens which is open this Saturday, May 13th. Go to www.highhand.com for details.

Driving by Folsom today, it was good to see the sky, the land and the water as one. (Don’t mind the cyclone fence. I was driving and wasn’t going to pull over.) I know you can’t text while driving, but can you take a photo? I don’t think they’ve addressed that issue yet, so I’m going to be a shutterbug until they do.

This is the picture of Shasta I had in last week’s email. It’s good to see these lakes full.

This picture taken today I haven’t seen in years. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions from these pictures. My conclusion is that water is a valuable commodity that should never be squandered or taken for granted. But these pictures also tell me that I can plant my yard and have some confidence for now that I will get a return on my investment of smiles, calmness and peace.

Happy gardening. See you at High-Hand Nursery.

Scott

Maple Rock Opens May 13th

Without further ado, Maple Rock Gardens opens Saturday, May 13th.  

Wow!  What a crazy winter. I wondered if we were ever going to be able to open Maple Rock again. But we are. We are working hard to prepare the garden. It’s kind of a funny process and, for me, it’s about recalibrating my emotions. A garden is a personal, living, breathing space. With all the rain we’ve had this year, and the fact that we have not opened the gardens for a year and a half, I will tell you I am nervous. I’m less nervous now that the rain has subsided and I can get out and get gardening. My nervousness is being replaced with a childlike giddiness. I hope you will be able to join us at Maple Rock Gardens this year.  

The train is being tested and put through its paces. The cafe is preparing fresh food for lunch and mimosas to enjoy during your stroll.  

The garden will be open from 9am to 3pm for a self-guided walking tour. Tickets can be purchased at www.highhand.com.  They are $10. Parking is free. And boy, are they selling fast. 

I hope to see you at Maple Rock Gardens May 13th.  Leave your cell phone and your watch at home. Stroll the garden and breathe.

 The evidence is in and the results are refreshing. Last week I got to go to Seattle and bring my daughter home. Yay! Tara’s home. She’ll be with me for the summer before she goes off to study for her Master’s degree in Glasgow. So exciting.

 But, here’s a couple of pictures and observations.  On my way home in our rented SUV, chock full of her college dorm furnishings and belongings, we noticed a lot of snow in places I have not noticed it before.  I’ve seen snow on Mt. Shasta, but in recent years I’ve never seen it like this. “Good for you, Mt. Shasta”.  

 

As we crossed the bridge over Lake Shasta, it was good to see that the sky and the land and the water met as one.  Lake Shasta was empty a year and a half ago. What a difference a year makes in the world of Mother Nature.

 

So, this is a true story. The day before yesterday I was walking to the Post Office in downtown Loomis. As I was strolling along, soaking in some rays, I felt a moist splat on my left forearm. Looking overhead with clear skies and nothing around, I was afraid to look down on my arm.  Was I just pooped on by a bird?  That has never happened to me before.  I was afraid to look down as I had no way of cleaning my arm off in the middle of downtown if that was the case. With trembling fear and bracing for the worst, I looked down at the possible poop that was laying on my arm. To my surprise it was not poop from a bird. It was half of an earthworm. I looked around again.  How did a worm fall on me from the sky? Must have been a bird flying along going back to its nest to feed its babies and dropped a worm. I double checked and yes, it was a half of an earthworm.

Now understand, as I thought about it I was not surprised this happened to me. I have been in a forest when a tree fell. Twice, actually. And then now, as I had then, I thought of the numerical possibilities and timing of the decision to go to the Post Office.  Probably mathematically impossible to put an equation to starting your day out and keeping on pace to meet up with a worm falling from the sky.  

Furthermore, as I thought about the bird’s loss, having worked so hard to secure food, it made me think of the services of nature and what they provide. We take for granted nature and the services it provides to humans. I hear all the time, “I hate bees”, “I hate snakes”, “I hate rodents”, “I hate snails”. 

Yes, those are humans in the apple trees hand pollinating the flowers. So, check this out.  In China there is a region where apples are grown and for years bees pollinated the trees. The government in their infinite wisdom started spraying chemicals in the area for reasons I don’t know. Well, guess what the results were?  No more bees. No more pollination.  No more apples. No more apple juice. No more apple pie. And no teachers getting an apple from their students.

No problem. The solution?  Hand pollination. Now hand pollination went on for seasons and the results were something they did not predict. It turns out that putting humans in fruit trees with little tiny brushes is more efficient than the bees. Yay for humans! We solved another problem.  Who needs bees?  The results were astounding. The apple trees produced 30% more apples with human pollination. Let’s face it.  Bees are lazy, kind of laissez faire as they jaunt from flower to flower.  There’s no real rhythm to the pollination.  They just prance around. They don’t fly when it’s windy. They don’t fly when it’s cold. They don’t fly when it’s foggy or rainy.  Not very dependable when you think about it, huh? But paid workers hand pollinating trees? Very dependable and efficient, as crazy as that may sound.

Here’s the rub. As the Chinese economy improved, wages increased. Now, all of a sudden the farmers could not afford to hand pollinate their flowers. That 30% gain in apple production was swallowed up by an improving economy and increased wages. So, the bees’ economic benefits were greatly undervalued. What was the financial value of the service of the bees? Considering there are no more apples in that region, priceless.

 

Still not convinced about the value of the services of nature? So, I did a little further digging. Let’s get into the math. In Texas there is a cotton farmer. He farms about 500 acres of cotton. Cotton is a crop that is susceptible to a lot of pests. Also, in Texas there are a lot of bats. A bat eats 2/3 of its body weight per night in insects. So, here’s the question to ask. How much would it cost the farmer to spray and maintain his crop if the bats disappeared? Well, there’s an answer. A university approached him and asked if they could do a survey of the bats flying above his cotton fields. So, for many nights students counted, correlated, and came up with mathematical best guesses as to the value of the bats’ services to the farmer. They actually came up with a value of $708,000.00 in services the bats provided in pest management. 

The farmer made approximately 4-5 million dollars a year on his cotton farm. Now, once you put a value to the bats’ services, all of a sudden bats aren’t that scary.

 So, ask yourself:

 How much would it cost you to rid your garden of aphids if you did not have ladybugs helping you? 

 How much would it cost you to clean up all the debris that snails eat in your garden?

 How much money and time would it cost you to self-pollinate your orchard with no bees?

 How much would it cost you to manually hunt down harmful rodents if there were no snakes?

 Imagine life without mosquitoes. Besides the fact they can be damaging by spreading diseases, a positive impact on our ecosystem is that the larvae of the mosquito provides food for fish and other wildlife, including dragonflies, birds and bats. They also help pollinate flowers when they consume nectar. But, who cares? Kill them all because I think their value to nature is costing and causing more damage than its worth. I’m going to feed my fish by hand and not rely on mosquitoes to do it for me.

 Thanks for allowing me to be a busy bee, bouncing around from topic to topic. 

 Come to High Hand Nursery’s greenhouse and look around for the values of nature within it and remember before you go “Euww’, “Yuck”, “Gross”, or freak out about a garden critter, pause and do the math and think about the value of services those critters create and learn to work with them.

 See you at Maple Rock Gardens on May 13th. Tickets are selling fast.

 See you at High Hand Nursery and Cafe.

 Give a slug a break.

 Scott