In the springtime, joyous spring-
When the birds begin to sing,
And we hear the murmuring brook-
Then the bees are on the wing.
When the long, cold days are over
Bees are out to sip the dew
And the nectar from the clover,
Buttercups and daisies blue
__Nettie Squire Sutton.
Photos by Debbie Roos
Debbie Roos reminds us of how honey bees and native bees are critical to our food supply and are responsible for pollinating about one-third of the foods we enjoy. She is a Chatham County Cooperative Extension Agriculture Agent who has created a Pollinator Paradise Demonstration Garden in Pittsboro in front of Chatham Mills. This public garden is maintained organically by Roos and a small crew of volunteers and includes over 140 different species and cultivars, 85% which are native to the Piedmont of North Carolina! Her goal is to teach local residents how to increase biodiversity in their landscapes to attract the greatest diversity and number of pollinators. The garden has become an important part of the community and has inspired many residents to create their own pollinator havens. Debbie conducts monthly pollinator garden tours at Chatham Mills and there is one taking place on Wednesday, June 6 at 5:30 p.m.
Bees and other pollinators are essential components of the habitats and ecosystems that many wild animals rely on for food and shelter. As natural areas are cleared for development, pollinator habitat is destroyed or fragmented, resulting in the loss of foraging, nesting, and/or egg-laying sites. This can lead to a decline in pollinator populations. Pollinator gardens provide valuable forage and nesting habitat throughout the year, particularly from early spring-late fall, with overlapping bloom periods. The garden has its own website that includes a plant list, photos of what’s blooming every week, a garden tour schedule, web resources for continuing education, and much more. For more information go to www.protectpollinators.org and click on the Chatham Mills Garden link.
Debbie Roos is an Agriculture Agent for the Chatham County Center of North Carolina Cooperative Extension where she is responsible for programming in the areas of commercial vegetable production, organic production, alternative agricultural enterprises, and beekeeping. Debbie worked for three years as an agroforestry Extension agent and technical trainer for the Peace Corps in Senegal, West Africa, and later completed graduate degrees in applied anthropology and horticulture at the University of Florida. Debbie delivers educational programming to growers through regular workshops and her award-winning Growing Small Farms website (www.growingsmallfarms.org). She also works with area farmers’ markets and is involved in statewide efforts to strengthen local food systems. Debbie is passionate about pollinator conservation and has planted demonstration habitats and developed resources to teach others about the importance of bees and other pollinators to our agriculture ecosystem.
Check out more photos of the pollinator garden:
Click on the Bloom List – each week has photos:
Check out more photos at: