Flowers for Bees, Butterflies and Hummingbirds by Denise Devine

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Some of the flowers in my garden

As you probably know, bee and butterfly populations are in serious decline. This is not good news! Did you know that in 1997 there were more than 1 billion Monarch butterflies, but now there are only about 57 million? The rapid decline is due to pesticides, loss of habitat and milkweed, which is the main diet of caterpillars.

Bees are dying in record numbers—putting our food supply seriously at risk—and it’s mostly due to toxic pesticides called “neonicotinoids.” These nasty chemicals are used in nursery plants and they’re systemic, which means that the poison goes up through the plant into the pollen and nectar and kills the bees. PLEASE, only buy plants that aren’t chemically treated!

Make your yard an area where bees and butterflies can survive. Plant wildflowers native to your state, plant milkweed and don’t use chemicals!

A Monarch resting on pink Swamp Milkweed

A Monarch resting on pink Swamp Milkweed

Some bee-friendly flowers…

Spring Blooms – Crocus, hyacinth, borage, calendula and wild lilac

Summer – bee balm, cosmos, echinacea, snapdragons foxglove, and hosta

Fall – zinnias, sedum, asters, witch hazel and goldenrod

Some butterfly-friendly flowers…

Aster, bee balm, cornflower, daylily, hollyhock, lavender, lilac, milkweed, phlox, purple coneflower, snapdragon, zinnia

Ten top flowers for hummingbirds…

Bee balm, cardinal flower, zinnia, salvia, bleeding hearts, butterfly bush, trumpet flower, lupine, columbine, petunia

8.31.15bThe picture to the left is a cardinal flower. The hummingbirds in my yard are all over this flower and it grows really tall. It’s very beautiful, too!

All of the pictures in this post are from my own backyard. If you’d like more information on how you can do your part to help save the bees and butterflies by creating a friendly habitat for them, here are a few very good resources:

American Meadows for wildflower seeds

The Xerxes Society for information on bees, butterflies and dragonflies

The Honeybee Conservancy for information on planting a bee-friendly garden

 

No Birthday please, by Mona Risk

Schoolchildren anticipate their coming birthday with excitement and impatience. For a day, they are pampered, spoiled, and cherished to their little hearts’ content. I have often observed my grandchildren’s joy when preparing their special party, greeting their friends, grinning ear-to-ear while listening to their Happy Birthday song, and opening their presents. They can’t wait to start again next year. I probably acted the same way at their age.

Kids in their teens want to grow up fast, fly with their own wings and tackle the word, even if they carefully hide their inner fears and their hearts beat a little faster.

During our twenties, we still like to celebrate birthdays, but we prefer intimate celebrations with the man of our dreams. Even better, we fantasize about a very special birthday gift, a sparkling diamond on our finger. I know I did.

IMG_5196After that, things change. The day before my thirtieth birthday, I carefully examined my face for any suspicious line and my head for any silver thread. During the ten years that followed, I didn’t want any party for my birthday, but appreciated my husband’s vase of red roses, or box of chocolate, or tête-à- tête dinner in a fancy restaurant.

A week before my fortieth birthday, I noticed the crinkles and shadows under my eyes and avoided the mirrors. No birthday please. Not private because I would rather forget I have already reached that step of the ladder, and certainly not public. Instead, I gave myself a new type of presents: visit to a spa, beauty products, highlights at the beauty salon, and change of diet because my metabolism was suddenly too lazy.

A fiftieth birthday is a day any woman wants to ignore and erase from her calendar. She would rather hear her significant other tell her, “I love you. You sure look younger than your forty-one years,” rather than, “Happy Birthday, sweetheart. You sure look great for your age.” There is a subtle difference, but men are sometimes dense about some subjects.

Strange enough when you hit sixty, you suddenly turn wise, count your blessings, enjoy your achievements, spoil your grandchildren, and shower your kids with advice about what to avoid because you did it wrong. You take one day at a time and live it fully, ignore other people’s judgment and stop blaming yourself for everything.

Yesterday was my birthday, a happy one. I received a vase of red roses from my husband. My friends insisted on taking me out for dinner. My children called, and the grandchildren sang on the phone, “Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear grandma,…

In spite of me claiming, No birthday, please, I was so happy to feel loved by the people I love so much.

N Y T LG-lightred-ValentineBabies (2)VALENTINE BABIES: heartwarming story. From KY, FL. & GA to Iraq and Germany. romance, humor and babies!

Mona Risk
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author
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Flowers are like people – some stand out and others just hang around!

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I just love my Camellia bush. Every year it blooms so beautifully but with one anomaly. I’m sure you’ve already noticed it, haven’t you?

Yes! It has one gorgeous rose bloom amongst all the other pale comparisons. At first, I just thought it a bit weird and shrugged it off. Then the next year when the same thing happened, it made me pay attention. Now every year, I look for that surprising little flower and it never disappoints.

Of course, being an author, I just can’t put it down to some prosaic explanation like strange things happen, or that’s just one of Mother Nature’s foibles. Not me! I search for deeper meanings in these kinds of occurrences until I find one that pleases me.

So – I look at that one beautiful little flower and my imagination takes over.

Let’s think of the flowers on that bush as a large group of people. Some are formed a bit better, some have more depth in their coloring and others are clumped together as if they need the support. Yet others have their leaves more tightly wrapped around them and are hiding from the direct sun, seeking the safety of the shade.

But not our little pink flower! Being unique, it stands out, right in front, showing off its specialness. The fact that it lasts longer than its neighbors is another plus for our small friend.

I’m feeling pretty happy with my analogy now. You see, we all know individuals who are like our little rosy bloom. They overshadow their neighbors and friends. People who make a difference in their world and leave us happier for having known them.