Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made
and forgot to put a soul into.
-Henry Ward Beecher
We had to chase the Master Gardeners out of my beekeeper's association meeting last night so we could begin on time. The Masters (as I call them)- revered, wise, and weathered- are a motley crew of wrinkled old ladies, sun-beaten old men, and the odd, fresh-faced hipster. I'm in awe of them. They know Latin names for everything and there's nothing they haven't seen.
The Masters line up their latest obsessions in our shared gardening/beekeeping room. (The Masters and the Keepers- as beekeepers are called- are graciously respectful of each other.) The Masters also keep wild-looking, experimental plants under sagging, beaming grow lights in the corner of our room. There are new specimens every month: in January and February there are yellow and white bulbs nodding in test tubes and expertly labeled. March through May ushers in seedlings of all kinds: tomatoes, peppers, squash, and melons. Along June until October, herbs and grasses and so.many.flowers and every vegetable God gave a seed sprawl into the room. November and December roll around and they've vased up Henbit or Camellias or Red Maples. I'm fascinated, always.
Even if you've never given a solitary thought to flowers and bees, both are necessary for your life as you know it. Truly. Buds and blooms provide carbohydrates (nectar) and protein (pollen) for the bees. With it, they make food (honey) to sustain their colony. In doing so, they pollinate roughly one out of every three foods you'll eat today... and many of the wild plants you'll never give a thought to today. The bud-bee-you-me relationship is beautifully symbiotic. God may not have put a soul in flowers or bees, but He did intersect them with ours.
It occurred to me last night, while looking carefully around the room of Masters and Keepers, that these people are the unsung heroes of life as we've come to know it. Forget the athletes and crooners and celebrities. These people, with their borage and bent backs and bee suits, these people are changing the world. While the Masters plant and prune and pull nourishing plants, the Keepers breed and box and bolster the languishing bee. Together, they are fighting a tidal wave of chemicals and disease and urbanization and every dreaded and terrible thing man is doing to kill-off nature and wellness.
God help and bless the Masters and Keepers....
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Yesterday's bee meeting and this morning's Floret Flowers announcement prompted the writing of this intro to a manifesto. (Forgive me.) Want to support or join the Masters/Keepers? Start by planting some bee-friendly seeds this year- in a pot, in a bed or garden, or in a vacant lot. Floret's now selling their beautiful seeds, and, of course, I'm an occasional visitor and longtime fan of Wildseed Farms. Their regional wildflower mixes are perfection. I beg you: plant something, feed a bee, and do what you can this year to support our unsung heroes.