In the Yard

Rhonda Hayes is a garden writer, photographer and blogger. She also volunteers as a Hennepin County Master Gardener. Rhonda chronicles her gardening adventures and advice at her award-winning blog, The Garden Buzz. She is a frequent contributor to Northern Gardener magazine and the Star Tribune Home + Garden section. At Your Voices, she writes about life around the city lakes, occasionally veering off the garden path with essays on the silly and serious issues of the day.

Three Things to Know for Next Week

Posted by: Rhonda Hayes Updated: August 2, 2014 - 5:37 AM

Pollinators are on lots of minds nowadays. Good thing if you like to eat. Or if you're just into watching butterflies flutter by and hope your grandchildren will too. Lots of things are going on locally with the push to protect pollinators.

Here are three things to check out.

1. Reason to Celebrate:

A new law, Nursery Label/Pollinator Statute, Minnesota 18H.14 has gone into effect. In short it says that,

A person may not label or advertise a plant as beneficial to pollinators if the annual plant, bedding plant, plant material, or nursery stock has been treated with and has a detectable level of systemic insecticide that:

(1) has a pollinator protection box on the label; or

(2) has a pollinator, bee, or honey bee precautionary statement in the environmental hazards section of the insecticide product label. 

You can find the details here.

2. More to learn:

Pollinators and Pesticides: A 360 Degree Perspective will take place August 5 from 8:30am-4pm at the Wilder Center, 451 Lexington Parkway North, St Paul MN

This event is put on by the Minnesota Nursery and Landscape Association to disseminate information from a number of experts and perspectives so that you can make informed choices around pollinators and pesticides.

Registration is open until 8/4/14. For more detail check here

3. Participate in #pollin8rchat: 

I'm hosting a weekly Twitter chat that hopes to help people celebrate and collaborate for pollinators. Whether you're a beekeeper, backyard naturalist or concerned gardener, we'd love to hear from you. This week's subject will be on Monarch butterflies. It's on Tuesday nights at 8PM CT. Search out the hashtag #pollin8rchat and follow along. Email me from my blog if you have questions.


Two Pollinator Events This Week

Posted by: Rhonda Hayes Updated: July 20, 2014 - 5:36 PM

Want to learn more about what you can do for pollinators? You're in luck this week with two events surrounding these tiny but oh, so important, creatures.

#pollin8rchat Tuesday at 8PM!

I'll be hosting the first ever #pollin8rchat on Twitter this Tuesday at 8PM. Twitter chats can't solve the world's problems in 140 characters, but they can bring together people with a common cause to learn and share tips, ideas and concerns, in this case about pollinators. Whether you're a gardener, beekeeper, farmer or simply someone who eats food, this is a topic that's trending but not trendy when you think about the fact that every third bite of food is brought to you by one of these tiny but important creatures.

If you haven't participated in a Tweet Chat before you'll need a Twitter account. It's easy to create one, follow the setup steps and then you're ready to tweet and chat. To follow along with the chat, search out #pollin8rchat  to follow the conversation from 8-9pm on Tuesday July 22.

If you decide to participate, and I hope you do, the more the merrier, always include the hashtag #pollin8rchat (I made it as short as possible to allow more chat) in every tweet so that your thoughts aren't lost in the twitter sphere and land where they can be appreciated. You can also see #pollin8rchat tweets on my blog, The Garden Buzz. If you have any questions about the technology or the topic ahead of time, leave your question in the comment section below. Or email me from The Garden Buzz.

Party for Pollinators

How many cities throw a party for pollinators? Another reason Minneapolis is a special place to live! it's July 24 from 5-8pm at Lyndale Park Gardens on the east side of Lake Harriet.

The event brings together scientists and beekeepers to educate the community about bees and their role in modern agriculture. There will be educational booths and lots of bee-related products, like honey ice cream, so that's another great reason to come and find out more about bees at this unique event. There's live music too. Buzz on over.

Top Ten Bee-Friendly Tips: #6 Leave Some Bare Soil and Debris

Posted by: Rhonda Hayes Updated: July 16, 2014 - 3:16 PM

Not all bee live and raise their young in hives. We tend to think in cartoon pictures when we think of where bees call home. We conjure up pictures of trees with honey holes a la Winnie the Pooh, or we think of the tidy boxes set on a meadow's edge.

Honeybee hives near linden trees and clover meadow

In fact not all bees are social and live in colonies like honeybees that have been domesticated to live in manmade hives. Native bees whether they are social or solitary species live in the ground, tree cavities or other hollow compartments found in nature. Some species live in separate cells within a colony while other live in their own cell by themselves. 

The tiny hole at center is a single cell bee nest.

No matter their lifestyle they need bare soil and a bit of mess in the garden. Neat as a pin gardens with every inch covered in turf and mulch leave those bees without the necessary material for nest making. Landscape fabric and impermeable plastic are even worse. 

Some bees live in colonies in tree cavities

Other bees need some debris in the form of hollow stems, tree cavities, clumps of grass and other plant material where they can find shelter and reproduce. You can supplement this with manmade "insect houses" like the one in the picture that provide the nooks and crannies that form "condo" like crevices for insect habitat. In addition they are kind of decorative like birdhouses. You can even buy Mason bee houses, or make them by drilling holes in wooden blocks. Place these around the garden, the bees will find them, and appreciate them.

Manmade insect habitat

Don't Miss it! Master Gardener "Learning Garden Tour" This Saturday!

Posted by: Rhonda Hayes Updated: July 10, 2014 - 1:55 PM

The weather promises to be beautiful so there's no excuses. Make sure to attend the Hennepin County Master Gardener "Learning Garden Tour" this Saturday from 9am to 4pm. There's something for everyone who wants a successful, sustainable garden. This year's tour is located throughout the northeast, southeast and historic Prospect Park. For tickets and more information:

Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer all of your gardening questions. Education Stations will present in-depth information on the latest trends and techniques. Shop for books and unique garden art at the Garden Shed. And as always the ever popular Raptor Program. 

Hope to see you there!

FREE EVENT...Garden: A Language We Speak (Saturday, July 12)

Posted by: Rhonda Hayes Updated: July 2, 2014 - 12:59 PM

You'll usually find me on the pages of the Star Tribune writing about pruning shrubs or starting seeds, the everyday bread and butter stories of the horticultural world. But we garden writers do dig deeper on occasion. Seeking meaning in all the weeding and watering we reflect upon this passion, often inherited through generations, to find firmly-rooted truths. 

I'll be one of ten writers participating in this free garden/literary event created by Rosemary Davis. Please join us if you can. 


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