My favorite thing about Oakland lately is my garden, so I'm just going to tell you all about it. Wild America is happening just outside my backdoor! There's a visiting oriole who likes to gulp from the hummingbird feeder. He is so very orange and a real exotic compared to the usual visitors. The male house finches think they're special but this guy shows up in a flash of orange that hits you like the sun. He's elusive and plans his visits for when my camera is elsewhere.
The bees are out in full force. I see so few of them outside of the summer months, it's worrisome. The Borage is the first flower they show up for in any real numbers. Now that the Bee Balm is blooming they are all over it and seem happy. I'm going to say any bee that isn't on a stinging rampage is probably pretty happy...
Monarda (Bee Balm)
I like to stay organic in my yard. IPM (Integrated Pest Management) seems to work for me...I don't mind squishing a cucumber beetle between my fingers and tossing it to the chickens. Aphids are easily removed with a blast from the hose and if a plant doesn't do well or attracts pests, I toss it out. Insecticides just don't feel like the right option. Not because of any moral code or strong beliefs; just that they bring imbalance, they're not necessary and there's already too much of it being tossed around. I grow my veggies mixed in with my cut flowers; why would I apply poison?. Part of gardening for me is creating a full ecosystem...I want all the bugs and birds at the party; just as long as there's a balance. The wasps never bother me and I enjoy watching them hunt in the sunflowers and zinnias. I don't mind sharing some of my fruit with the bugs and squirrels and sometimes they do take more than their share. But for the most part, there is balance and place for all things. Even weeds...some produce seeds that draw Goldfinches so I let them grow in a wild corner of the yard. I feel like I'm drifting off point...but what is the point really? To share my happy Oakland experience with you, dear reader! (who is likely friend or family and can hear this prattle from me any time) Thanks for listening.