I knew that Bachelors Buttons get straggly, and that there was no obvious place that they would fit in my new garden, but I was drawn in by these phrases in the nursery description:
…well loved …. quite edible and delightful to sprinkle on cakes, in salads, and in herb infused waters …. range from deep clear blue to violet, deep burgundy, pale pink, fuchsia, and white…. grow to 3½ feet tall and flower continuously throughout the summer.
…so I bought a six-pack. I stuck them behind the playhouse where they grew leggily much higher that expected and are leaning on the hopbush. They are pretty if you focus on the colors of the flowers.
I went out this morning to take a picture before the sun broke all the way through the fog, and soon realized that a bee was enjoying them at the same time, surely even more than I. She is on a pale pink bloom in the upper left of this top photo. I began to focus on the fauna on my flora.
Now I can add her to my collection of bees on flowers. She was the easiest one I’ve ever tried to catch in the middle of her work, and she makes me glad I planted these buttons.
Suddenly it occurs to me to post Naomi Shihab Nye’s poem “Girls, Girls” in its entirety. It is about these insects, and is what made me realize that I want to use the female pronoun when talking about them.
When the boys are alone,
they wash the dishes with facecloths.
When a honeybee is alone — rare, very rare —
it tastes the sweetness
it lives inside all the time.
What pollen are we gathering, anyway?
Bees take naps, too.
Maybe honeybees taste pollen side by side
pretending they’re alone.
Maybe the concept of “alone” means nothing
in a hive.
A bumblebee is not a honeybee.
It only pretends to be.
The cell phone in your pocket
buzzes against your leg.
It’s not a honeybee, though. It’s just a
mining bee, or leaf-cutter, or
You’re stung by messages from people far away.
You can’t make anyone well.
You can’t stop a war.
What good are you?
Bees drink from thousands of flowers,
spitting up nectar
so you may have honey
in your tea.
Maybe you don’t want to think about it
Pass the honey please.
During winter, bees lock legs
and beat wings fast to stay warm.
Fifty thousand bees can live in
a single hive.
Clover honey is most popular
and clover is a weed.
All the worker bees are female.
Why is that no surprise?
-Naomi Shihab Nye, from Honeybee
Above, a bee decoration made in Ireland,
which I bought when Pippin and I were in Scotland.