Grow zinnias! Save the Western honey bee!
Did I ever mention that I worship zinnias the way some people worship deities? This may be because zinnias were the very first flowers I grew from seed, in my very first garden, when I was just in the second grade. Mom gave me a tiny little spit of land, maybe 4 by 4 feet, and said I could grow whatever I wanted there. I chose zinnias and sunflowers. Zinnias, a native of Mexico, are colorful and easy to grow. Butterflies LOVE zinnias, and I LOVE butterflies. Bees also love zinnias, and I love bees. And we must, must, must work to reverse colony collapse disorder. Most of us know by now that the Western honey bee has been vanishing in North America in alarming numbers since 2006. Why does this matter? Because most agricultural crops (our food!) depend on bees for pollination! So plant as many zinnias and bee-friendly flowers as you possibly can. Honeybees don’t sting, so no worries.
I started zinnias from seeds about 5 weeks ago under grow lights in the indoor garden room. They are about 4 inches tall now, really healthy. This morning, I put them outside for the first time, in an effort to harden them up. I’ll do this for about a week before transplanting them into the flower garden. Last night, I sowed the purple and pink Cosmos seeds in the garden. They both make beautiful cut flowers too.
By the way, everyone has a theory to explain colony collapse disorder. Mites, viruses, insect diseases, etc. But I stand by the obvious reason: environmental change, urbanization and pesticides. I’m convinced we are the culprits for this catastrophe. And only we can remedy it!
Meanwhile, plant zinnias and celebrate summer. Thank you, Mother Earth!