my industrious new friends are working hard to make this world a little greener!
my industrious new friends are working hard to make this world a little greener!


I have a few thousand new pets. A couple of weeks ago, two lovely girls dressed head to toe in fresh white jumpsuits with large brimmed hats swathed in clouds of netting came over to my garden and bestowed upon me two boxes of feisty, buzzing, glorious bees!

If you garden, if you care at all about plants (actually if you care at all about the planet), it is pretty impossible to not know that there is a very real and very serious crisis – and bees are at the center of it. Herbicides and pesticides are devastating our world, and the canaries in this coal mine are our fierce comrades in arms – the bees that, via their tireless and masterful pollination efforts, keep our food growing, keep our plants blooming and reproducing, which in turn underpins the oxygenation of our world. It isn’t just about food (although that is important enough), without bees our planet wouldn’t breathe.

Yet people still use poisons in their gardens just to make it easier to keep their lawns and flower borders weed-free. They don’t like bugs anywhere near their plants so they spray everything with pesticides that kill the bad and the good, rather than taking the time to apply the principles of Integrated Pest Management – that takes too long! Just get rid of all the bugs and we’ll sort it out later. Well, the sorting is happening now, and the bees are pointing right to us as being the ones accountable for the Colony Collapse Disorder that has the potential to become an Armageddon for out busy beneficial friends. And although they are now implicated as a major player in Colony Collapse, it isn’t just neonicotinoides that are the problem – this isn’t just about banning one class of pesticides and moving forward with business as usual – if we as a garden and farming culture don’t re-think our strategies for dealing with HOW we grow, we are in for big trouble. BIG TROUBLE.

Try googling neonicotinoides for a colorful screen full of earth destroying poison, all available at a nursery near you, Shameful.
Try googling neonicotinoides for a colorful screen full of earth destroying poison, all available at a nursery near you. Shameful.

But some people seem to not care. They go into their big box stores and buy their poisons and they use them on their pretty gardens and are puffed up with pride when they get compliments on their lovely flowers and glorious plants. I wish these people didn’t garden. They are doing serious harm. It would be better if their gardens full of synthetic fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides were to go fallow and grow over with whatever weeds appear in their corner of the world, so that our little struggling friends can start to collect pollen from whatever has survived the killer garden that previously held court. Yes – KILLER GARDEN. I am not being hyperbolic. Sometimes no gardening is better. REALLY.

So yes, I have bees now! I know when they collect pollen from my plants, they won’t be collecting pollen contaminated with fungicides and pesticides. I just hope that when they roam far for their pollen, that they don’t venture into the Killer Garden of some plant enthusiast who has jacked up their roses and tomatoes with Miracle-Gro, doused their lawns with Green Light to keep grubs at bay, and has a man spray broad spectrum insecticides around the foundation plantings to keep bugs out of the house. If they do, they will come back with a contaminated bounty that weakens the hive and leaves it open to mites and parasites. There may be neonicotinoide residue in that pollen, and that could create a disruption of the tiny bee version of neurological pathways, causing the bees to abandon the hive and die.

When someone says that what they do in their garden is their business, I am going to point to my bees to illustrate how interconnected we all are. THE BAD GARDENING PRACTICES OF OTHERS AFFECT US ALL.

So please cross your fingers for my new pets, my busy bees, that will be buzzing in a 2 mile radius – pollinating everything they can! There are some hardcore Killer Gardens out there.

HAPPY BEE WEEK!!!! Kiss a bee today!

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Fasten your seatbelts, Ranters, I hope you like riding rollercoasters! I’m Ivette Soler, a garden designer and writer who lives and works in Los Angeles, California. I have been designing since 1997, working primarily with the subtropical and succulent palette that thrives in my corner of the world. I started my blog, The Germinatrix, in 2004, and I have been enjoying a vibrant dialog with the online garden community ever sine. In 2011, Timber Press published my book “The Edible Front Yard“, in which I make the case for ridding ourselves of thirsty, dull front lawns in favor of beautiful, bountiful gardens that mix food with ornamentals. I am thrilled to be a part of this illustrious and opinionated group, and am looking forward to RANTING with all of you!

Let’s do a little speed-dating so you can get to know me better:

I am a Believer – I know that gardens and gardening can and will make this world a better place.

I am a Maximalist – I believe that more is more and more is better than less!

I am against Horticultural Xenophobia – If you believe that we must eliminate well-chosen exotics from our landscapes in favor of a natives-only palette, we might have words.

I am a Talker – I love to get into it! If you have anything you want to challenge me about, or if you want to dialog about anything I post, please comment away! My love of blogging is rooted in dialoging with a large number of passionate gardeners with diverse opinions. I will rant, and I expect you to RANT BACK

I cast a wide net – This is a big world, and I believe our gardens are more interesting when we open ourselves up to ideas other than those that come to us from the established gardening world. I am inspired by fine art, literature, product design, theatre, fashion … you get the picture. I will often bring in ideas from other areas of culture to our conversations about gardens and the way we garden.

I like exclamation points and sometimes … yes … ALL CAPS – I really talk like this!!!! I can’t help it!!!

I am eager to move the conversation about gardening and the place it has in our lives forward, so hop on, make sure you are strapped in tightly, and LET’S GO!


  1. My neighbor was outside just the other day spraying something. We were sitting on the screened in front porch and I suddenly got a horrible chemical/death cloud smell. We quickly shut the windows and retreated inside, but I was horrified to see their two small children out with them playing in the yard AS they were spraying pesticides/fertilizer. Some people will just never get it. Like, ever. Sad.

    • Ugh – John, isn’t it AWFUL. My aunt had a toxic exposure from a lawn spraying in Texas (I think it was a really big lawn) and she suffered for YEARS before she was clear of the neurological side effects. I don’t get it – these things are MADE TO KILL living things, of course they would be bad for us and the general ecology! Sigh – we are all intertwined, we walk on the same earth and we breathe the same air and what we do affects those around us. It is really simple, but the idea of “My home is my castle” is deeply instilled. NO. All of us are temporary squatters on this planet, so we should keep that in mind and not ruin everything for everybody. Thanks for your comment!

      • Thanks Ivette. It sure would help the situation if people started making the connections that you have – toxic exposure = long term side effects. I try to gently ask people why they continue to use the lawn service to spray their lawn with weed killer/fertilizer when their only rationale is “because everyone else does it”.

        I’ve often wondered about my logic of being an organic gardener when everyone else around me is using pesticides and fertilizers AND the city comes around every week or so during the summer and fogs everything with the mosquito pesticide that they assure everyone is completely safe! I have momentary bouts of despair, but usually end up back on course in the hope that there are others out there “fighting the good fight”.

        • John, I know – it can seem like an uphill battle sometimes. The connections are there for all of us to make, and it would be a shame and I daresay a crime for us to wait until we have reached an environmental tipping point from which we can’t return. We can each do what we can, even in the face of toxicity. We can’t let the people who hold to toxic methods wear us down, even though they are in the majority, and one blast of mosquito fog can ruin everything we’ve done. It IS disheartening, but I think we just have to put on a smile and keep working at it. Thank you for being part of the Organic Army! Best wishes to you!

    • I know Susan, me too. I used to be someone who believed that all gardeners were helping the world, no matter what, because making things grow was better than not. But I have really changed my views on that – many gardeners are actively helping to totally mess up everything for everyone, in the face of evidence that their old-school practices are detrimental! That makes me SO MAD! It is lazy and unforgivable, and I don’t care how old someone is and that they have been doing it that way forever – that behavior HAS TO CHANGE and we need to hold all gardeners to a higher standard.
      Gosh I am really ranting today! My dander is way up!!!

  2. Ivette–congrats on the new hive. And thanks for getting the word out about all those terrible poisons that are all too easy to buy.

    On a side note I’ll say that I have many more avocados and fruit thanks to the pollination services of two healthy beehives in my backyard. Those pollination services extend to the neighbors, of course. Sort of the reverse of spraying poisons.

    • Erik you and Kelly are SUCH an inspiration to me I can’t even begin to express it. I am always trying to reconcile my love of garden design with my love of this planet, and I find that you two are an example of exactly where I want to be in life. Thanks ever so for your generosity of spirit!
      And YES to how awesome bees are! I had a wild hive up in a sycamore tree right above my garden for about 15 years, and they haven’t returned for the last 2 years, so I thought it was time to set up a hive of my own. I am so happy to have them in my garden! It is a real thrill, and I’m happy to have the buzzing back in my ears as I putter around my plants.
      Bees are COMPLETELY the reverse of spraying poisons – the antidote, in fact! More neighborhood hives in the face of the outdated spraying of chemicals can be how we fight back – neighborhood pollination squadrons! YEAH!!!!

  3. AMEN! I could never have a bee hive since several of my neighbors use “lawn care services” that routinely spray and post those little signs saying “do not walk here!” If I can’t WALK on the lawn, what’s the point of it? And if it’s dangerous to walk on why do people think it won’t end up hurting them in the long run?

    I do what I can to provide good plants and habitats for my native pollinators but I wonder if I’m making enough of a difference to counter the poison on the grass across the street… Fortunately I have noticed an increase in the number and diversity of insects in my garden in the five years I’ve gardened here – I hope that’s a good sign.

    I am pro-pollinator!

  4. How about an article on IPM practices with an eye toward reducing mosquitoes, flies, ticks, or whatever it is that leads folks to grab the pesticides ?

    • That is a great idea, Kathleen – today I rant, perhaps tomorrow, the rest of it! IPM is so simple and very rewarding. Most people expect it to work as well as pesticides, which it isn’t supposed to – we encourage a balance between beneficials and pests. I’ll get to work on that!

  5. Congratulations on your new hive, Ivette! Have fun watching them! Let me say that adding some or many native plants to a garden will promote the health of thousands of other pollinating insects and birds which need the natives in order to survive. Check out:

    • Thank you Jonathan! Yes, adding natives is a great thing to do, but all pollinators are adaptable species – I do not hold to the myth that pollinators only survive off of native plants. That is a piece of propaganda given to us by people who want ONLY NATIVES in gardens, and although I love natives, I also love well-adapted non-invasive plants from appropriate climates around the world. Ornamental gardening is not about re-creating nature, it is an artifice. The reason I point this out is that just because it is an artifice doesn’t mean ornamental gardening will harm our world like the use of poison in our landscapes does. This is often an argument natives-only gardeners want to put forward, but it is simply not the case. Bees will thrive and pollinate exotic species just as well as they will native ones, as long as those plants aren’t contaminated by pesticides and fungicides.

      • Ivette,

        Thank you for an important article about a serious concern, pollinator decline. I come at this from a slightly different prism though, as a biologist specializing in ecological restoration, and a gardener. There are indeed many native solitary bee species that specialize in a narrow niche of plant species, and unfortunately they cannot rapidly adapt to non native plant species. That being said, a mixture of natives and non invasive climate appropriate ornamentals is fine. Diversity, an IPM and permaculture approach, is key. Thanks again.

        • Thank you SO MUCH for commenting! I appreciate you pointing out the specialization of some species of bees. I advocate a vibrant mix of natives and non-invasive exotics – thank you for chiming in from an authoritative position. This is such an important issue and it helps so much when the scientific community adds its voice in support. All the best to you!

  6. I have neighbors who keep bees. I am often gardening with the little guys buzzing around me, along with some wasps, bumblebees and mason bees. No one with a fear of bees should come to my garden.

    Dear hubby has just made me some cedar planting boxes, and now I am off to get some copper strips to keep the slugs out, which will cost a bit but save angst against having the seedlings I have nurtured since March being munched on! Which made this cartoon quite appropriate today:

    I am hoping it rains today as promised by the weather report. I need the soil softened up so I can do some weed therapy with my weapons of choice: a hori hori and hand fork/rake.

  7. Oh good grief! There are entire orders and classes of plants constituting thousands of species that do not require bees or other insects for pollination and reproduction. Even huge numbers of insect pollinated plants multiply themselves non-sexually in a host of ways. We do not need your bees for the planet to breathe.

    Michele, please I’m begging you. Come Back.

    • Good GRIEF, Cranky Dude! Were bees to die off tomorrow within a very short time you and ALL OF US would find ourselves in a very bad way, and I am NOT THE ONLY one connect the pollination of bees to the oxygenation of many of the plants on this planet SO SIMMER DOWN NOW and if MICHELE wants to talk to you, she will email you

      But I wouldn’t hold my breath… hahaha … see what I did there, “I wouldn’t hold my breath” Hahahahahahaha! Cuz of the bees and oxygenation and what you said … hahahahahahahaha!!!

      • Please site one legitimate scientific source that connects CCD to a loss of oxygen from plant photosynthesis.

        Some other yahoo who uses Hahahahahahaha! and Bwahahabwahahaha! and resorts to ALL CAPS as a regular form of communication will not do.

        ” the oxygenation of many of the plants on this planet”???????

        • CHRISTOPHER C NC – Why should I waste my time needing to legitimize something for you? You can use google, you can read books, if you want to tell people that bees don’t help to create more plantlife on this planet – the plants who take in CO2 and offgas OXYGEN which we then BREATHE – well then go for it!!!!
          I am not going to waste my time on a BEE HATER who for whatever reason likes to use up his time arguing with some “yahoo”. I am responding to you because I write for this awesome blog, it is part of my job. Otherwise, you are a gnat in my ear. There is a word for people who just like to argue for argument’s sake on internet forums – TROLL!
          So I will be here using ALL CAPS as much as I want and if it bothers you, oh well!!!!! Write back, let’s FIGHT ABOUT THE BEES!!!!!

        • OOOOHHH you REALLY hurt my FEELINGS!!!!
          Yes, Garden Ranters, this man has resorted to name-calling in his frustration, all because I am excited about my bees and am eager to have them glean from a pesticide-free environment. I called him a BEE HATER (which I surmise from his venom towards me and this post), but he has called me a “Yahoo” and a “Nitwit”
          Great rhetorical technique, there! Keep it up!!!

          • Cranky Dude
            BEE HATER
            a gnat in my ear

            Name calling you know. It is one of your specialties. Backing up your unsubstantiated, hyperbolic assumption that you pulled out of your okole about losing atmospheric oxygen from the potential loss of bees is not something you can or are willing to do.

          • May I?

            Importance of Pollinators in Changing Landscapes for World Crops, Alexander Maria Klein, 7 Feb 2007, The Royal Society.

            The Potential Consequences of Pollinator Declines on the Conservation of Biodiversity and Stability of Food Crop Yields, Conservation Biology Magazine, July 18, 2008

            Those are a good start for some peer reviewed scientific documentation kind sir. All my best.

  8. Thanks for this intelligent and much overdue plea for the honeybees! And congratulations on your new colony. When a species is in collapse, a species we use to help pollinate our food supply, it is high time to do something about it. You are.

    I worked at a lawn care company (briefly) years ago. We were told to tell homeowners to cover outdoor pet bowls as there had been a few instances of pets dying from contaminated water. Not only did I feel sick for the men that worked with these toxins daily, but I thought – why in the world would you want your animals, children, and yourself exposed to something like that? But I guess if you’re told – by corporations – that a dandelion-graced lawn is not the fashion you’ll do about anything to fit in with the crowd.

    The thing that gets me is that when you really look at it it boils down to laziness – not wanting to take the time, and the effort – to find better solutions.

    • ABSOLUTELY, Sandra! You echo my feelings exactly. It is a sickening feeling, considering all we know, to see poisons being spread so liberally in our neighborhoods, especially on lawns where children play. And the men who spray them are doing their job – jobs that pay little and will make them sick. Until there are laws in place that make these chemical compounds illegal, we have to take matters into our own hands and do what we can!
      These poisons were also used as weapons of war (pesticides and nerve agents are basically the same thing), so the very thought of using them in our homes in any way should be repellent, and I don’t get why so many people just gloss this over. Thank you so much for your thoughtful comment!

  9. Fabulous! I have been keeping bees, more off than, for 2 years. Sourcing the bees has been problematic. Who did you get to deliver bees to you?

    • Amy, I have a friend who lives in my neighborhood who has been keeping bees, and when her hive needed to be split I jumped up and down and hooted and hollered until she gave me part of her “mother hive”. The honey from her hive was so delicious – and I love love love the idea that when I eat the honey from MY hive, I will be tasting not only my garden, but my neighborhood! I’m so excited! It is thrilling to see them buzzing around my vegetables …

  10. I had a truck stop in front of my house the other day. The man asked me who takes care of my lawn, “well, I do”, I replied. Then he asked me if I wanted someone to take care of all of the clover in it. Wrong house, I told him that I actually seeded it. He got the look on his face that said “treehugger” and left.

    If I did want the clover gone, it would be a very good contract for him, because I wouldn’t have any grass either, and it won’t grow because of the city’s Norway maples on my lawn. He would have to keep spraying, and seeding and spraying. Oh my goodness.

    What drives me nuts are people who start screaming the second a bee comes near. Or call wasps bees. Ugh. They are very different.

    • Eeewww, Lisa – how gross that that man called you a “treehugger” like it was something BAD! Hell yes I am a Treehugger and proud!!!! And a clover lawn is beautiful! Give me dandelions and clovers and purslane in an organic lawn and I am a very happy woman – then we have a lawn that actually can work! Thank you for knowing this, and for being one of the people making a difference! And thank you for being a BEE LOVER!

    • Yes, skr – you are correct. Classic IPM is a tiered structure where the least environmentally damaging methods are used first, and the EVIL CHEMICAL POIZONZ (nice one! I might have to use this! 😉 are used in the lower tiers as a last resort. I daresay that most of us who garden organically in our homes try and use nothing, or food grade products that we make ourselves, but I know people who reach for the BT when the bites on their tender greens are too disconcerting. Yes, the system, as taught, is one that allows for POIZONZ, but the way I practice it is without. It would be great to formalize a new type of IPM that bans the use of all synthetics and poisons, in my opinion!

        • Yes I know, it really is. The problem with making fun of ME is that I really like to laugh, and I generally end up enjoying the whole process of being made fun of when it is done with style and wit – so BRAVO and seriously, I am using that spelling of POIZONZ from now on!

  11. Dear Ivette, thank for spread this information. Serously and thrust info ;))
    Is usefull to tell all people the important about care and management gardens. Because, all poeple knowing this topic, they will know that to best practices will be good and healthy with us, and all being living, like the bees or the bugs or microorganisms, and planet Earth ;))

    • Thanks for that link, Marcia – lots of food for thought. In our zeal to do what we perceive as what is right, we often overshoot the mark, and it is very important not to create a situation that ends up handing us another problem (history is FULL of best intentions gone awry!)
      That said, I tend to think a bit less xenophobically about natives / non-natives, unless it is proven that the non-native species is especially aggressive. What I do know is that in my city, the bee populations have been plummeting, so it will be a long time until we have the problem in my area that they have in Brussels. But it is definitely something to consider and keep researching, so thank you very much for adding to the conversation. Very thought provoking!

  12. I would love a hive, but the spouse and his siblings have an pronounced bug phobia and he freaks out at the thought of a hive. My favas this year nearly failed. I had big beautiful plants with weeks of flowers, but the girls didn’t swing by to pollinate them for me. I’ve never had that happen and I keep a very welcoming yard. Right now there is an entire flock of goldfinches cleaning the seed off V. bonariensis and by some magic at least a pair of frogs has found my pond (someone asked me how I knew that I had a girl frog and a boy frog), but this year I hardly see plain old honeybees.

    • Oh Stella you are describing a magical kingdom! Verbena bonariensis is one of my alltime favorite plants. Okay here’s an idea – why don’t you see if someone in your neighborhood will put up a hive? Someone who isn’t afraid of bees? You’d be getting the benefits of the pollination, since bees range pretty far, and they’d be getting honey! I know here in LA there are beekeepers who will set up hives and “work” them too – they will split the honey with the property owner and the whole community gets the benefits of pollination. Maybe something like that exists where you live? It could be worth looking into.
      Many of us have been noticing a declining bee population. If more people will host hives, we might be able to bolster the fading bee population until this culture gets wise to what the use of pesticides is doing to our planet. Thanks for stopping by!

  13. Why it matters.

    There are very serious and legitimate reasons to be concerned about the use and overuse of pesticides in home gardens and agriculture. If those concerned about it care to make any educational or legislative progress towards further limiting or eliminating their use, it is critical that you get your facts right and not just make stuff up.

    Rest assured the chemical industries lobbyists and PR people are on Google Alert when topics that concern them waft about the internet. To come upon a jewel of a theory that the dying bees will lead to the loss of oxygen in the atmosphere is a gift from heaven to them. What utter nonsense. That is so easily refuted with a basic understanding of how ecosystems and nature works. They will dive on this and spread it further. The next thing you know a main talking point on Faux News will be “Those crazy liberal environmentalists are now saying that if you kill the ants, fleas and ticks around your house we will lose all the oxygen in the atmosphere. What a bunch of morons.”

    The lobbyists in congress who buy our politicians will be saying the same thing to divert attention from the real facts and prevent any action that will cut into their profits

    Debra Lee Baldwin said it before. I’ll say it again. Ivette this is a widely read platform. Take care with what you post. Do more research. Let a post sit after its finished for 24 hours and read it over. Get an editor. Get a fact checker. Just think twice before you click that post button.

    Adding unsubstantiated rubbish to a plea for pesticide free gardens has the real potential to do more harm than good for the thing you say you care about.

    • You don’t HAVE to read my posts – you can write your own! If you have a problem with my opinion (which is what I am writing here, editorial content – opinion pieces taken from my daily life and my experience as a landscape designer for 15 plus years, and as a widely published garden writer). It isn’t my aim to write for politicians, nor to watch what I say lest it be used against the gardening industry as a whole. I am a woman with a voice, and I shall use it as I se fit, and I won’t be told how to write or what to write, and you chastising me is actually pretty silly, in my opinion.
      Debra Lee Baldwin had her own issues – and frankly, in that post, I was writing about people TELLING me that succulents were “over” and how I thought that was funny and interesting. That times and styles change. Debra, whom I respect and admire greatly, felt she had to set the record straight – and I am very happy she added her voice to the mix! I think she is right! Debra made very clear, lucid, and concise points in her rebuttal to my post, which I welcome.
      So why don’t YOU write a rebuttal to what I said here – the thing that you take issue with. You have a problem with my lack of facts, then please – you are very welcome to bring it. We have guest rants all the time. Submit your counter to this post to Garden Rant – if it is found be interesting and to have merit, I am sure it will be published.
      I don’t really know WHAT your gripe is, but maybe if you put it into the form of a rebuttal, you will make yourself clear.

      • At least you admitted that you lack any facts.

        Yes please write a post explaining how bees are an important part of the large mechanism whereby CO2 is converted Oxygen. I could use a good laugh.

      • The problem Ivette is that you are making both fact statements and opinion statements. Saying that the planet wouldn’t be able to breathe without bees is a statement of fact and a very erroneous one at that. When you make obviously wrong fact statements it completely undermines your opinion statements because why would anyone listen to the opinion of someone that can’t even get their facts straight.

        So stick to opinion and leave the science to someone more knowledgeable.

        • skr – I don’t see a problem with it, actually – if you and others have a problem with my assertions, you have a way to voice your concerns and you have. My opinions, my understanding of science and the extrapolations I make are something I have absolutely no problem with. If you and others want to take a hyperbolic moment – a few words for literary effect – and freak out about it, well, that’s your roll.
          I persist in my belief that bees (and other pollinators, of course) are a part of the mechanism by which our planet breathes, and if they were gone – by our continues use of pesticides and fungicides, the impact would be severe. Sure, things would go on – the planet has its redundancies, and back up systems, like any good machine, but a swift and sudden extinction of bees is agreed upon (by scientists, not just loud mouthed writers for Garden Rant) as a VERY BAD THING.
          I am really sad that you miss the point of my post by going nuts over one sentence, but oh well! Have a great day!

    • But you ARE being cranky, you SEEM to hate bees, you ARE buzzing around like a gnat that I need to shoo away, and you ARE engaging in TROLL behavior (look it up)
      I am fairly sure I am not a YAHOO, I am a Puerto Rican – and as for being a NITWIT – my wits are quite sharp, thank you.
      I don’t know why you think I need to jump to your command. Hmmm… I need to write a post explaining how bees are an important part of the large mechanism whereby CO2 is converted Oxygen. Yea. Maybe while I’m at it, I should write a post on how photosynthesis works …
      You sir, are simply not the boss of me.

    • I’m with you on this Christopher C NC. Ignorant hyperbole doesn’t do the cause of decreasing indiscriminate pesticide use any favors. I just gives opponents something to latch onto in order to indict and ignore legitimate concerns.

  14. As I generally support your position, Ivette, I don’t understand why you cannot furnish Christopher C with evidence to back up your contention. All science must be based on fact or research. I think he makes a valid point which needs an answer.Best of luck with the bees, btw.

    • Thanks Vincent! I am so super thrilled about the bees – I go out with my coffee first thing every morning and them fly in and out of their little airport. It is mesmerizing to see how precise they are in their flight patterns.
      To answer your question concerning Christopher C NC – it would be easy for me to call up articles on basic photosynthesis and the pollination of plants, but to be frank, I know the way internet trolls work. You can see it on various forums all over. For whatever reason, usually because they have an issue with the author of a post, they will find a small issue that is usually a side note, or a thought or assertion that infuriates them, and they demand that empirical evidence be provided. When that evidence is provided, they argue with THAT, saying the journal it was written in is sub-standard, or that the experiment by which the conclusions were reached was faulty. In a nutshell, it becomes a huge waste of time because the person really doesn’t want to dialog, he wants to shame the author. I won’t be a part of that. I am here to write opinion pieces and to hopefully create thought, and maybe action. I am here to write what I want to write and hopefully that resonates with the Garden Ranters. I won’t be told how to write or what to write nor will I run around trying to prove myself to someone who is just really wanting to win an argument or prove his own point. I get Christopher’s behavior. Hell, I’ve been there and done it! So for me, I choose to play those games as just what they are – schoolyard taunting. It is the principle of the matter for me. I hope you understand, it isn’t what he is asking – the assertion I made was, while exaggerated for literary effect, not wrong. It is the spirit in which he engages with me on this forum that I am not willing to honor. I hope that clears this up!

      • The short version of this being, no I can not site any study or evidence that the decline of pollinators will lead to a loss of plant cover resulting in reduced atmospheric oxygen levels.

        Some plant species could go extinct and diversity could suffer from the loss of pollinators, but I know one thing for sure, nature abhors a vacuum. We may end up with more conifers, grasses and ferns, etc. as plant cover, but we won’t be short on oxygen. Her little hyperbole doesn’t even take into account the oxygen producing phytoplankton that fill the world’s oceans.

        Instead Ivette will stick by her statement of utter horse shit and use every diversionary tactic available to side step the issue because she has a right to have an opinion and write whatever she wants no matter the harm it could cause to an issue of great importance.

        • I have addressed your issue – no diversions here other than your own. We all have different ways of getting at the meat of the matter, C NC – again I ask you to write a post stating your problems with what I wrote. You seem to just want me to say that YOU ARE RIGHT – but I think there is quite a bit wrong with this exchange. No matter – I am happy to keep having up the pageviews on my post. I have said what I need to say numerous times, and I have gotten into these exchanges with you in the past (as have others) and I know that you really don’t want anything other than to be right. I know your type. I am an ignorant fool, yet you linger here.
          Strange behavior for one who has all the answers.

  15. Vincent,

    Actually Vincent, if you read the beginning of this thread, Christopher’s initial comment was to downplay the importance of bees as a pollinator. It was only later he latched onto extrapolating a more extreme view. This particular blog was about bee decline, and that there are MANY reasons this is bad. Please seer response for several citations which should assist in knowing how bad this bee loss can be. Not that Ivette needs me to speak for her, but this topic is too important to let it go soo far off topic.

    • No Paul. My initial comment was not about down playing the critical role of pollinators. I quite specifically addressed the nonsense that they are needed to produce atmospheric oxygen, for the planet to breathe.

      I’m sure the articles you cite are full of great info about the serious consequences of the loss of all pollinators. They are not easily accessible as links or even a google search. I tried. I doubt either of them suggest the planet’s oxygen supply will plummet from the decline of pollinators. No serious scientist would even hypothesize such nonsense.

      • Yea, while I’m at it I should also write an article with scientific citations on how earthworms improve the tilth and ratio of organic matter in the soil. Geez. What bugs me about your comment is that you seem to miss the point entirely – the spirit of this post is lost on you because you hone in one one sentence that enrages you and you stamp around demanding evidence for a process that every third grader learns. Bees, via their pollination efforts, are part of keeping plants healthy and growing. Plants are the “lungs” of the planet – they transform, via photosynthesis, carbon dioxide into oxygen. Bees, along with other pollinators, are part of the amazing process by which are planet BREATHES. YES. Why don’t YOU find an article that refutes that.
        I truly don’t know what your point is – seriously, I don’t know if you are anti-bee. But I suspect you are someone who has a problem with hyperbole – and sure, that is your right. But Hyperbole is a tool of rhetoric, and I reserve the right to use it as I see fit.
        I love that you keep on fighting about this! And I have given you enough time. If you have anything else to say, please write a rebuttal post and send it to Garden Rant. Please make another comment, so you can have the “last word” (I know how this works) – but realize that all of your bellyaching about one sentence in my post about my bees tells us where your head is. You missed the point. You didn’t see the forest because you got really mad at one tree.

    • Thank you Paul C, I appreciate you chiming in very much. This conversation is for all of us, and I am especially happy when cross-talk among Ranters happens, as this is when we are really engaging with each other as an online community. I am happy for your voice!

  16. Christopher,
    I most humbly disagree. Your first comment, ‘…thousands of species that do not require bees or other insects for pollinationorreproduction…’. That may be factual. but is used in the context of downplaying. Also, any scientist would also tell you the loss of the multitude of species that would die off from loss of bee pollinators would have repercussions on other species as well, in ways we do not understand. It would be best for all of we never have to find out. Thanks.

    • Well said, Paul C – thank you. I’m not sure why this gentleman has a problem with bees, but I am heartened that his voice is pretty well drowned out by the chorus who are alarmed by the fact that bees are threatened, and who want to do something about it.

    • Sorry Paul for being so terse in my initial comment. I left out the qualifier you seem to be craving. Perhaps this will help your comprehension.

      Bees and other pollinators provide many essential ecosystem services, playing a significant first hand role in the planet’s oxygen cycle is not one of them.

    • No one is saying that there won’t be repercussions all the pollinators disappeared, which is itself a hyperbolic scenario. However, if all the pollinators did dissappear, the earth would still have plenty of oxygen. Over half of the atmospheric oxygen comes from phytoplankton which don’t need pollinators. Historically, the geological period during which the Earth’s atmosphere had the greatest concentration of oxygen (35%) was the late Paleozoic, millions of years before flowering plants even existed.

    • Yes Christian – agreed. There is no silver bullet. The planet is indeed a complex mechanism, but that mechanism has a balance, and if one part of it falters, we see impacts that can cascade in many ways, some seen, and some unexpected. I maintain that it is best for us to step in where we can and do something about it. Hopefully, my organic gardening practices and my having a box of bees can help things in my community without throwing the entire planet into disarray. And I really hope that this post hasn’t put the anti-pesticide movement back a decade or two, as some seem to think. That would SUCK.
      Thanks for commenting and thank you very much for taking the time to provide that link!

  17. Congrats on your bees! Nothing livens up a landscape like a chorus of tiny, busy pets.

    I would be worried too, their lives seem so fragile nowadays, and you can’t control what plants they will visit. Maybe your garden is so full of nectar and pollen that they will find it more efficient to stay closer to their hive.

  18. While researching my book on urban beekeepers, I met many who wished to find a place they could keep bees far away from chemicals. Ironically, those who keep their hives in the most run-down, forgotten and forlorn places often have super healthy bees. Those neighborhoods often lack people who have money to throw away on using pesticides, fungicides and herbicides in their yards. What I realized when I did my research and interviews was that every single backyard beekeeper out there has had their share of troubles. If people are seeing honey bees in their gardens, they should be grateful. It is getting harder and harder for anyone to keep a few simple hives going. I guarantee that if you are seeing a bee anywhere in the US, you can bet that bee’s keeper has experienced hive troubles that would not have existed just two decades ago. (If anyone would like to read more about urban beekeepers seeking a haven from pesticides they can check out Thanks, Ivette, for drawing attention to this important topic. If I could get people to understand one thing it would be that we need to stop using these horrible chemicals for purely cosmetic reasons! Clover will not kill us, nor will grubs. But the pesticides just might poison us or do us serious harm, and they will certainly kill and harm the bees and other beneficial pollinators, including butterflies and beetles! It simply isn’t worth it.


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