The Buzz

WindowBeesComfreyIt’s all about the comfrey, which has been intruding its bold head into my kitchen via a crank-out window over the flowerbed. (There’s a screen – we live in the North after all, and although this has not been a year of huge insect influxes where I am, they happen.)

So every morning since the comfrey got tall enough, I’ve had visitors in my kitchen. We feed hummingbirds, and they perch on this nearby vantage point, the better to dash off and intimidate other hummers who might intrude on their turf. A variety of insects, from beetles to butterflies, like the spot as well. It’s warmer there and in the rising sun.


Now we have blossoms, and though comfrey isn’t one of the showy flowers you write home about or feature on the cover, insects love them. The bees have arrived to revel in each tiny lavender bell. I hear them arrive – they have motorcycle engines onboard somewhere – and then they hit the flower. Their sound muffles, fluctuating in a way that reminds me of a weed whacker or other small engine noise rising and falling. Then they’re back out and looking for the next blossom.

They love the roses, too, and so do I. I first noticed bees this year on the white old-fashioned rugosas as I was picking rhubarb. There, I watched the big clumsy insects roll and rub themselves in the centers like dogs after a bath. Orgy-ating.

HoveringBeeComfrey 9

I’m glad they can. My garden is unsprayed (this is about doing things naturally and inexpensively where possible) and offers an abundance of such opportunities throughout the season. I allow yarrow and some of the milkweed to embellish my plots. Lovage grows tall in the front window flowerbed. Last year we had a mullein plant that was taller than the semi-dwarf apple tree next to it.

These combinations and juxtapositions create a work in progress. My garden is an exploration of how things work best, so I can over time work with the land and climate to encourage the best possibilities for year-round food and a happy meadow.

If you think of it, plant some things for the insects who pollinate apples, squash, strawberries. My comfrey has been growing for 40 years, and I occasionally pull weeds around it or just admire its resilience. Yarrow, milkweed, primrose and honeysuckle are perennials that will flourish once they get a toehold and may require annual editing from you to keep in place.

Pollinator friendly plants pay back by giving you better yields, and demonstrating the value of the occasional orgy.



Filed under Gardens, Home, Michigan, Nature, Uncategorized

2 responses to “The Buzz

  1. Weeds in the garden. . . And she knows them all by name. . . What a Celebration of you! Wonderful writing. . .submit to gardener’s Companion !


  2. Janine Adams

    Just beautiful prose, Kathryn. I admire your connection to your natural abode! (Motor cycle engines of the bees, love it!)


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