557Bee Lawn Mix Thought
- Feb 4, 2009
From what I have seen of the urban pollination/pollinator world, the concentration of research, advice, and management has focused on flowering plants, both in remnant parkland and in garden plots. All good. Bees are found in surprising places and easily surpass butterflies in abundance and kinds. But. Places that are gardenable and convertible are limited, particularly compared to paved areas and lawns. Paved areas are of limited use for pollinators, of course, but lawns, while ignored by the average bee urbanite, are not. We have sampled lawns on the National Mall and elsewhere and found bees in abundance. What are they doing there? I think it has a lot to do with prostrate flowers such as clover, purslane, and spurge plus the quick bloomers such as dandelions and plantains.
What if someone would develop a bee lawn seed mix?
Wouldn't that potentially have a higher impact on the number and kinds of bees in urban areas than the high effort, high cost, high maintenance (but, yes, very pretty) pollinator garden? Particularly if most people don't want to go to the effort?
What if highway departments seeded with a bee roadside mix that didn't require them to NOT mow or to treat any different than they do now....wouldn't that be an even greater impact than the few places where people tolerate weedy looking native plant plots and can afford the planting and upkeep?
Sam Droege sdroege@...
w 301-497-5840 h 301-390-7759 fax 301-497-5624
USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
BARC-EAST, BLDG 308, RM 124 10300 Balt. Ave., Beltsville, MD 20705
Watching hands transplanting,
Turning and tamping,
Lifting the young plants with two fingers,
Sifting in a palm-full of fresh loam,--
One swift movement,--
Then plumping in the bunched roots,
A single twist of the thumbs, a tamping and turning,
All in one,
Quick on the wooden bench,
A shaking down, while the stem stays straight,
Once, twice, and a faint third thump,--
Into the flat-box it goes,
Ready for the long days under the sloped glass:
The sun warming the fine loam,
The young horns winding and unwinding,
Creaking their thin spines,
The underleaves, the smallest buds
Breaking into nakedness,
The blossoms extending
Out into the sweet air,
The whole flower extending outward,
Stretching and reaching.
- Theodore Roethke
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