I admit that sometimes I get yard-envy. Yesterday, when I took Tetley on the long route around the neighborhood – the 30 minute vs the 10 minute walk – I did admire the beautifully mulched flower beds, plantings spaced apart, manicured, lush lawns of my neighbors. Some gardens had tasteful garden ornaments, charming benches and looked magazine cover ready. Yikes, I thought, what must they think when passing our little corner plot full of wood piled for the winter, patchy grass and weeds? Luckily, we have a (currently pruned) hedge hiding most of our mess from nosey dog walkers like me.
We can’t blame the weather for our lack of yard maintenance – days have been cool and rain-free – perfect conditions to pull weeds. Nope. Nor can I blame our resident groundhog. Since I surrendered to him, the big vegetable garden is one less demand. Mint and pokeweed now run wild where I once planted tomatoes, peppers and other delectable treats enjoyed mostly by groundhog. We plan to clear and reclaim that sunny spot from bastard and plant some peach and apple trees but for now, it’s a wild mess. The bees love it.
Bees are buzzing all over the place. Poor Tetley discovered a hive when exploring a corner of our front porch, dashing off with his tail between his legs. Our noses pressed against the screen door, we watched them swarm around defensively for the next 5 minutes or so. We had no idea they were there until now and we will leave them be, not wanting to add to the world’s bee crisis in any way. I’m sure you’ve heard how bees are disappearing at an alarming rate? And without bees to pollinate the plants we eat, well, we’re screwed.
A few months ago I was lucky enough to join a Red Bee Honey tasting with bee expert and author of the Honey Connoisseur, Marina Marchese in her own charmingly overgrown garden with apiary. We spent a perfect afternoon sampling distinctive, exquisite honey, paired with savory and sweet bites. Not surprisingly, the tasting lingo mirrors that used to describe wines — another nectar we would not have without bees. Marina’s hives are surrounded by invasive weeds the rest of us hack away. My delicious afternoon certainly inspired this year’s laissez-fare attitude to the garden. I have tasted the riches my weeds can produce.
Marina got me hooked on her honey and only buying it from local producers. Last week, Molly and I sought out a jar with honey-comb, harvested close to her college in the hopes of easing her allergies. Though she is not a fan (!?) of the taste, after swallowing a spoonful every morning and chewing the waxy comb, she reports she is suffering much less. Better than Zyrtec!
This summer, while many of my neighbors were weeding, and (gasp!) putting chemicals on their lawns, I blissfully read surrounded by weeds, birds and bees. Today, I may mow our patchy lawn and pick a few Sunflowers but that’s about it. If you walk by my messy yard, please don’t judge – the bees love us and you should too.