Over the last 25 years I have been busy with raising my three sons who are all now in college. Last Summer, to fight the "empty nest syndrome", I started to try and find things that I am interested in and enjoy. I always loved photography but never really had the time to explore my interests. One nice Summer day morning I stepped outside to enjoy a cup of coffee on my back deck and brought my camera to take pictures of my two basset hounds, Clyde & Opie. As I was sitting there, as I did many times, I was admiring my three Rose of Sharon bushes with all their amazing flowers when for the very first time, I took notice of the enormous amount of bumblebees flying in and out of the flowers. I never really paid much attention to them or gave them much thought. For the heck of it I grabbed my camera and began to take pictures of them. That was where it all started - the obsession and appreciation of these little hard working creatures that go so unnoticed unless they buzz past you. I had never thought about how I had them to thank for the abundance of flowers that were produced this year. The more I took pictures up close and personal the more I was amazed by them. Even on cooler, wet and windy days these little guys would not give up. Pollen would stick to them like glue and they would keep going. If they got too heavy they would fly (like a drunken pilot) to the nearest branch and rub the pollen off by rolling on the branch rubbing as much pollen off as they could and back to the flowers they would go. I started "googling" all I could to find out more about their lives and was surprised I had never heard of the Honey Bees crisis and how the bumblebees were also dying off. It may seem small in the scheme of things with everything else in life to worry about but really it is a red flag about the condition of our environment. This Spring I ask that you plant some bee loving flowers and bushes in your yard. I had no idea when we planted the Rose of Sharon bushes along my walkway to the side entrance to my house that they would attact so many bees. We walked right past them (and through them) all Summer and they were too busy to bother with us but I recommend you plant them away from a main traffic area.
Rose of Sharon
Rubbing off the pollen: