We hear so much about the balance of nature, about “habitat” and how, if we plan correctly, things work in harmony in the garden. How many of us get a thrill when we see creatures that have made our garden their home? One of my favorites is having a toad. They will appreciate a partially broken flowerpot laid on its side and buried half way. This gives them a cool spot to rest during the day and provides some protection from predators. They will thank you by eating some of your least favorite bugs.
From reading my past articles, you know how much I love hummingbirds. Their favorite color is red and they love trumpet-shaped flowers. A really hardy, long blooming flower they love is Fuchsia, gartenmeister bonstedt. It’s a rich red-orange and ads a lot of dazzle to your yard. Other winners are the Salvias, especially pineapple sage, hot lips and black and blue salvias. Other blooms they find irresistible are Monarda, (bee balm), Phlox, Verbena and Columbine. I prefer the giant verbena; it seems tougher and, if deadheaded, can go all summer.
In future, I’ll devote a whole article to bees, but for now, I have a story to tell you. My sister, Martha Chatelain, a well-known artist specializing in handmade paper sculpture, is also a master gardener. After many years in La Jolla and San Diego, CA, she and her husband, Don, a master gardener too, recently relocated to Portland, OR.
One of their criteria in moving was to find a house with a nice garden. They hit the jackpot with a darling Tudor style home in the Mt. Tabor neighborhood, just a few doors down from their daughter and her family. In the backyard is a huge, very old Bartlett pear tree. The first year they were there they had about 20 pears, a big disappointment. They set up a mason bee operation and the second year they had 2,000! Their neighbors were all talking about what a bountiful crop they were gathering from their fruit trees, unaware of the boost they had received from Martha and Don’s bees.
Next year I plan to do the same. When outside in the garden, one of my joys is to hear the humming of the bees. It’s so companionable and it makes me feel like I’m part of a team.
Ah, yes, the TEAM! We are all part of God’s team, working from soul to soul, spreading the life-giving pollen of the Holy Spirit to those who need to hear of Jesus Christ and by doing so, we hope to bear more fruit for the Kingdom. With time in the Word and regular communication through prayer, let’s try to make our lives a habitat that is ideal for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.