Not Quite One with Nature in the GardenMay 09, 2013
As I worked in my garden yesterday, various encounters with resident fauna left me feeling a bit unbalanced. But, as I reflect on it today, I realize it was just nature doing its thing and me being in the midst of it. Here’s what happened as I weeded, planted, pruned and watered…
It began with the distant sounds of crows arguing. Loud squawks and wing flapping from the neighbor’s large trees. Then, suddenly the crows were upon me. No, not diving at me directly, but rather doing something I can only describe as fly-fighting. Four big, flapping, angry birds skimmed the air just a few feet beyond my head. Three were hot on the tail of another, chasing it hard, and they almost dove their prey right into my head. A murderous Murder?
I survived as they passed on to other territory.
It was a rather warm afternoon, and our honeybees were very active. They’ve thoroughly enjoying all of the water offerings in our garden. Most, from both hives, make their way to our small potted spigot fountain filled with Glass Gardens Northwest’s new line of Bee Preserver floats. Although the path by the fountain gets busy with bees, they pretty much leave me alone. No biggie.
But, one gripe with the honeybees: they also love to harvest water from freshly moistened potting soil. So, my potting bench is often inaccessible to me if I’ve prepared trays of containers to pot up. Usually, I can carefully move a tray and do my potting up on another table, but yesterday a lone honeybee was having none of my crazy gardener antics. That bitch was out to get me!
Yes, I know. Honeybees are not aggressive. But…
Well, I’m here to tell you that sometimes one goes rogue. And, she will defend territory. This girl had clearly staked out the potting table as well as every tray of soil on it as her own. And, it was only one bee. The others had no interest in the potting table; they were all content to drink from the water features. This cranky buzzer would go so far as to chase me into the house or the greenhouse — whether I went near the potting table or not. Even when I watched for her to leave the table for the hive and then took a tray of containers elsewhere to pot up, she would come find me.
I gotta be honest, I hope she was on her last legs and died overnight. I’ve got a lot of potting up still to do, and she’s cramping my style.
Then, toward the end of my gardening day, after being chased by the defender of the potting table for hours, I found myself training a thornless blackberry along our wire fence, and the buzzing started up again.
Could she really be chasing me that far from the potting table?
Nope. This time I was being buzzed by a bald faced hornet! And, I was right outside my greenhouse door.
I immediately ran inside the greenhouse and slammed the door in the hornet’s face. Shit! Hornets?
Okay, I love bees. Nobody will contest that. But, hornets? In my greenhouse? No way could I stand for that!
Carefully, I took another route out of the greenhouse (past the crabby honeybee on the potting table), and spied the hornet situation from afar.
Turns out she wasn’t building on the greenhouse or even in the tree near it. Rather, she was harvesting warm wood from the framing — chewing up our greenhouse door in tiny bites — to take back to wherever she is building her papery home. And, I have to hope she is building far from our garden, so both she and I can co-exist peacefully and as one with nature.
Oh, and so far, no new sightings of the hornet, the fighting crows, the cranky potting table defender honeybee. My hope is she got back in sync with nature and either found another job or her life cycle ended so she can be at peace. I’d really like my potting bench back!
Updated 3/17/2017: Glass Gardens NW was sold to new owners in 2016. We have received a number of complaints following this sale, so we are no longer linking out to their website.