Cleveland County Conservation District
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Helping People Reconnect To Our Environment


The Quiet Garden

Posted on July 9, 2013 at 3:45 PM

  I am a big fan of finding some peace and quiet, that is one of the reasons why I love my garden.  I go into the garden to calm my nerves, relieve my stress, find some inner peace and focus my energy.  WHAT?  Ok, gardening could give me all those things, but so far they have never happened at the same time, but it gives fruit, so I'm happy.  Plus, I have had several epiphanies while holding a hand rake, funny how all my moments of budding genius involve garden tools.

Several weeks ago, I was enjoying a fantasy of being the next Joel Salatin when something struck me as odd; it was quiet.....too quiet, spooky quiet.  The kind of quiet that freaked me out as a young mother with a two year hell bent on destruction, more mine than hers as it turned out.  Anyway, for me quiet isn't about total silence or lack of movement.  It is the sound that a gentle breeze makes moving through my willow tree, the muffled tinkle of wind chimes, the gurgle of my stream, birds chirping and bees buzzing.....AND that was it!!  I hadn't heard or seen any bees.

Isn't it strange how you never notice the, "behind the scene" things?  You don't think about them, they're just there.  They exist and function without your interference or attention, things like; water pressure, electricity, postal service, the internet and our pollinators.  If any of the other systems were to break down, I would like to think that I would notice immediately, but the bees took a while longer.  My first clue....?  I didn't have any tomatoes develop on the best looking plants I have ever grown.  My second clue should have been the obvious absence of my daughter's annual performance of her version of Swan Lake while simultaneously screeching out a German Opera every time a bee flew anywhere near her.  I didn't notice because I was enjoying the peace and quiet. 

What happened?  I know that I have been discussing the bee problem here and on our Facebook page, but those were occurrences in other states happening to other people.  What could have happened recently that would affect the bee population here?  I live in the middle of Suburban Nirvana; quiet streets filled with lovely law abiding citizens, a beautiful neighborhood surrounded by the damage path of the most destructive tornado in our state's history.  Could it be?  Could the tornado and subsequent storms have caused a bee decline?  Was it our wet spring and late freezes?  Did someone spray the open field behind my house?  I didn't know the answers; I just knew that my backyard could be compared to a Las Vegas for bees, the cool Vegas of Elvis and Rat Pack days, not today's Amusement Park Vegas.  I have multiple bee friendly native perennials, shrubs and trees.  I have water, sand and enough housing to accommodate the largest bee convention.  It's a 24-hour buffet out there for goodness sake!  But my Bee Vegas resembles Norman during the OU/Texas weekend.......deserted.

In recent weeks, I have witnessed the return of some of the bees, not as many as in the past, but it's a start although I still don't have any tomatoes. My perspective had been changed for me, I had to pull back the curtain and expose the Wizard.  He isn't the magical being I expected and OZ is just a town like any other.  Tomatoes don't just appear out of thin air, the water pressure fairy that sprinkles happy dust over my faucets doesn't exist, and it turns out that mail service can be interrupted.  Those behind the scene things usually have the biggest impact on our lives when they are not working, because that is when we notice them.  This time we have had an advanced warning, we can't leave it for someone else to deal with for us.  The usual outcome of situations where each person assumes someone else it taking the responsibility, commonly results in the electricity being shut off because no one paid the bill!  We are in this together, the bees won't wait forever for us to decide to take action and paying the bill is going to take more than individual action.  We need to do something soon, because a garden without bees is not peaceful, but it is all too quiet!  And the peace and quiet thing.....?  I'm over it already....Let's make some noise!!

-Chris Ward

Categories: Earth Friendly, Local Foods - Local Producers, Agriculture

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1 Comment

Reply Melissa
5:22 PM on July 9, 2013 
Wonderful message! The girls ran in the other day screaming they saw a bee, and I shouted for joy....we talked again about the importance of them and how we can replant our yard with plants that attract our pollinators!