Places to Go


Visit the growth of the Pollinator Patch in our archive files


2013 & 2014


Planting for Bees

More About bees



2011 and 2012


Visit the links at the left for more information. 2010 is about the very beginning of the Patch while 2013 is about the first year the Patch was on its own.


Fall -- A Last Look Before Winter
Early November -- 2012

Took some chopped leaves to the patch to help with the soil condition. The patch looks good. The grasses are truly lovely. Sideoats grama gives a lovely airy display. Noticed some thistles are inching their way into the garden -- will catch some of them in the spring.

The fescue around the garden is encroaching. I wonder how the patch will survive!! We will pick up the stones that we edged the patch with so that we can weed-whack closer.

Mid-Summer-- A Quick Check
Early July -- 2012

Another check. Planted some Culver's Root to add to the summer display. The garden is working well into the landscape. Weeded some but the clay was so hard, I could hardly get my trowel into it.

We didn't water this year. The Patch is truly on its own.

Season Three -- The Weaning Season
Early spring -- 2012

We visited the garden in April just to be sure eveything was all right. Pulled a couple of weeds and noted that every one of our plants was showing growth. The suprising one was the 2nd chokecherry. We were sure that it would never survive but it did.

Last Look of the Season

Bee count: 0

A visit just to say, "Sleep well." The patch looked good. The fescue has not crept into the garden yet. There is a bit of Canada Thistle in two patches that I will dig at next spring.

Most astonishing is that there has been no vandalism except for someone tearing the tin roof off the mason bee house. The sign is still intact and free from gang markers -- must be the only place in Barrie like that!!

I will not be visiting the patch again until next spring.

Just a look

Bee count: 4 in 5 minutes

We just stopped by to see the patch and to do a count. The goldenrod is out and the asters are about to bloom. The cupflower is glorious but strangely enough there were no bees on it.

There are some thistles to get out before winter but all in all the patch is in good shape. Amazing is the fact that the strawberry has become quite a good ground cover. See the last 4 pictures in Gallery 2 to see the garden at this visit.

Weeds, weeds, weeds

Bee count: 2 in 5 minutes -- but just before a rain

The Patch needed weeding today. Grasses are invading along the edge and black medick has really invaded.

We have put chopped leaves down in the plant area twice: once last fall and then again this spring. Already there is a difference in the structure of the soil. It was much easier to dig and take the weeds out of the areas that had received mulch. That's amazing: two thin applications of chopped leaves made a big difference.

The rudbeckia is just about finished but the asters and goldenrod are ready to bloom. The veronicastrum is blooming -- that's where I saw the two bumblebees today.

I think we've managed to have continuous bloom this season.

Water Helps

Bee count: 10 in a walk-around (maybe 2 minutes)

The water yesterday revived the Veronicastrum and to some extent the little new rudbeckias. We put more water on today. That should hold the garden until the rain comes at the beginning of the next week.

Every time we go, there are bees with their pollen baskets full. This time there were more mid-sized bees than tiny bees. Quite scientific, aren't I? There is a picture of one of the bees in Gallery 2.

The most exciting item today was the excavation and hole that we found in the backbone. I hope it is a bee. We waited but no one came to the hole.

The asters and the goldenrods will be blooming soon.

Drought Continues

Bee count: 14 in 4 minutes

The bees have definitely found the patch. Even with the heat and the dryness, the bees are gathering pollen from the rudbeckia, the echinacea and the cup plant.

The cup plant is about 5 feet tall now. I guess it's not going to reach its full height this summer. Some of the rudbeckias that are self-seeded are looking a little rough because of the drought, as is the veronicastrum. We gave the plot its usual 15 gallons of water and are hoping for rain this weekend.

The Joe-Pye is also blooming and the New Jersey Tea is just finished. All of the asters look healthy.


Bee count: 11 in 5 minutes

We went to the Patch today to water and applied our usual 3 bladders - 15 gallons. There has been no rain for over a week and the Patch was very dry. Everything we planted last year looks great. The only sign of wilting was on the Veronicastrum we planted this spring. In future, we will remember to water new plantings as for Year One.

We saw several bees, about half were tiny, the rest were mid-sized or larger, including one bumble bee. Most of the bees were attracted by the Rudbeckia blooms. The smaller bees were on the New Jersey Tea which is blooming now.

There was one large, mean-looking fly dressed in a bee costume that confused me for a minute.

Visit Four

Bee count: 12 in 15 minutes

Wow! What a change. The rudbeckia are blooming and all the plants look really healthy in spite of our dry, hot spell. It was soooo dry and hot that I couldn't really dig to get the weeds out. Our patch is almost solid clay. I'll wait until after a rain and weed then.

The most surprising was the cup plants -- they are almost 3 feet tall. The helenium we planted this spring is blooming and so is the Ceanothus -- New Jersey Tea. I had expected bigger blooms but that might come as the bushes mature. Right now the little bushes are covered with 2-inch bottle brushes.

Visit Three

We bought an electric weed-whacker this week and used it to trim the grass around the bed and a bit of a path out of the area. The Patch is situated in a large and never-cut grass and shrub area. The surrounding grass would like to take over the patch! Weed-whacking around the edges may keep some of the grass from invading and it provides us with walking space while weeding the Patch.

We lost very few plants over the winter. The little chokecherry that I thought had died last fall is the better of the two chokecherries now. The Zizia is blooming, but Joe Pye is pouting a bit. The native grasses (Panicum virgatum, Side-oats Grama and Little Bluestem) are up and growing. I was quite pleased to note that some of the Rudbeckia hirta were ready to bloom.

We had many strawberries this spring. I guess the birds haven't found the patch yet. The wild strawberry plants travelled all over the bed. They were a good purchase for a ground cover and for a spring source of pollen.

First Weeding

Weeding has begun. The Patch is in the middle of a large, grassy area and most of the grass seems to be twitch grass. Our aim is to keep the grass out of the planted area and to maintain an edge around the garden. Easier said than done! Wow, does that grass ever set roots.

At this visit, we could see growth. Both the chokecherry saplings are growing. Last fall it appeared as if we had lost one but there it was, strong and healthy this spring.

At the last visit it looked as if two of the three New Jersey Tea bushes were also gone but today we saw signs of growth on all three -- hurrah!

We planted some Veronicastrum and some Helenium from my home garden to give more colour as the season progresses.

The cup plants looked healthy and the wild strawberries are in bloom and there are signs of the grasses and the asters coming back. There has been no vandalism other than someone walking through the end of the patch while it was wet.

First Visit

We visited the site to see how it had lived through the winter. Other than some big footprints through one side, it looked good. I think I saw a bit of the chokecherry bush budding and the strawberries were on their way.