My solitary play-day!
Due to a rare set of circumstances, I have my house to myself for today. My husband is driving to Iowa and all of my teenagers have found somewhere else to lay there heads for the first weekend of spring break. So, I'm spoiling myself with spring/gardening activities.
I transplanted my 20 Tropical milkweed seedlings into larger containers. I wintersowed 8 milk jugs of Zinnias. I picked up fallen branches and twigs, and peeked at the tiny green sprouts at the base of a few early perennials. Now I'm going to make a "Mason Bee House" out of rolled brown paper bag. Mason Bees are one of many solitary, native North American bees which have been pollinating native plants and crops since before the honeybee was introduced from Europe. But, they are threatened, as so many insects are, from loss of habitat and nesting sites. They nest in holes left by woodpeckers, rodents, or beetles, or in hollow reeds. So, we can help by providing drilled blocks of wood or piles of hollow tubes hung in protected but sunny spots near blossoming plants. Because these bees are solitary, they are not aggressive and many cannot sting, and they are more efficient pollinators than honeybees because they gather pollen, not just nectar. They also fly in colder weather and less sunshine than honeybees, so are working longer hours.
Anyone interested in learning more can search "Mason Bees" or "The Xerces Society." I think I spelled that correctly. Have a beautiful spring day!