bee forage pollination wild bees and native bees

Plant a garden and they will come

I spent a few days last week visiting my daughter who lives in Issaquah, a bustling suburb of Seattle. Ironically, she was never much of a gardener until she moved into a condo. Now, however, every square inch of her limited outdoor space is filled with vegetables and herbs. And she even has a worm bin to provide fresh compost from her kitchen scraps.

On a small balcony and in a few square feet of ground near the front door she has managed to plant three types of tomatoes, green and yellow beans, zucchini squash, yellow squash, Swiss chard, loose-leaf lettuce, chives, basil, and thyme. A few of the plants are in the ground, the rest are in pots and planters set wherever they can catch a few hours of sun.

The results are amazing. While I visited we had a constant supply of fresh veggies—and I mean fresh. You only need take about ten steps between picking and cooking. The plants are all organically grown, with only the compost added as a supplement.

As always, I was curious about the bees. Although my daughter is not a beekeeper, there is obviously one nearby. A constant stream of honey bees visits the plantings, accompanied by other pollinators as well. In addition to honey bees, I saw some small native black bees, hover flies, and skippers while I snapped photos of the flowering oregano.

Her garden made me realize that nearly anyone can grow some fresh vegetables of their own if they put their mind to it. And besides providing food, beauty, and happiness for humans, they provide much-needed forage for the bees.

By the way, if you are interested in food and agriculture—and the many problems associated with modern farming—you can find her blog at


City bee on oregano. Photo by the author.

Native black bee on oregano. Photo by the author.

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