Grandchildren and Bumblebees

On a recent walk my grandchildren explained to me that the rows of lavender along the sidewalk were “bobbing with bumblebees.”  They chuckled as they ran the alliteration around their mouths. At seven and five they are alive to the wonders of the world, so we took some cautious moments watching the creatures ‘bob’ while talking about the pollinating going on.

            Perhaps, because of the sweet grandmother moment, an article in the New York Times about bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) of London caught my eye that same day. The bottom line of the report about a research project is surprising. While the city would not spring to mind as an appropriate location for bumblebees, the colonies in town were considerably more robust than those in the country. The authors speculated that modern farm life with fewer flowers than the city, and likely more pesticides, was too stressful for the bees, foreclosing on their ability to grow big colonies and produce babies.

            Bumblebees are important, of course, because they are ace pollinators. However, their future is threatened to the point some need help. The rusty-patched bumblebee, Bombus affinis, officially became the first bumblebee listed for protection under the Endangered Species Act on March 21, 2018. 

            When you consider that over 4,000 vegetables depend on pollinators for their existence, the decline of bumblebees becomes alarming. (To digress, that particular argument does not impress my grandchildren since vegetables are not high on their list of edible foods.) Still, this sliver of good news from London about the ability of bumblebees to thrive in a city is a clarion call to urban dwellers. The charge is apparent: plant more flowers and native plants that bloom continuously during the season.

            Dunn can lay claim to these virtues.  We have flowers bursting across the spring and summer. Check out our recently rejunvenated trail in The Gully, complete with a footbridge built by Andrew Gladnick as part of his Eagle Scout project. There you will find a lot of natives. It is fair to claim that as an urban green space of nearly seven acres, Dunn Gardens is doing its bit to set up a hospitable space for bees.  Since bumblebees are very seldom aggressive, humans can be comfortable sharing the same space.  

            July 19, guests at Dinner in the Garden will be doing just that – sharing some space but a whole lot more as well. They will be enjoying the bounty the bees provide.  Dunn Gardens is offering an elegant meal prepared by Bacchus and Arianna Catering.  Included with the grilled entrees is a tantalizing selection of salads and locally sourced veggies, along with a selection of wines. Amen and thank you bees.

            The event is both a fun raiser and a fundraiser. In part, the money realized will help keep the bees happy.  Another part is to preserve the garden so that in time, when my grandchildren are able to appreciate vegetables fully, they can also enjoy such a dinner themselves. 

If you are interested in the full Times article …
If you are interested in tickets…





Vegetables copy