Thursday, March 6, 2008

No Cows Allowed !

Have you ever tried to describe a cow? That’s what I was doing a few Saturdays ago when I discovered two cows in my garden. Apparently someone had locked the cows behind our gate trying to prevent anyone from hitting the cows, since the cows had been out on the highway. I spent that morning trying to locate the owner. Each person I called asked me to describe the cows - I couldn’t get close enough to see if they had a brand - just that they had green tags in their ears. I finally located the owner and he came and got them. All I could think of when I saw the cows was all the damage they were going to do, stepping on all the plants and eating whatever lay in their path. I might put up a sign on the gate saying, “No Cows Allowed !”

But what a minute, now that I think about it, animals seem to like the garden. Take for instance the wild turkeys, they come by regularly and browse around in the flower beds eating insects, oftentimes resting on the bench under the rose arbor. Then there are the great blue heron who land in the deodar tree trying to spy gophers popping up, hoping for a meal. Yes, it’s true I have actually seen two heron catch gophers here. One heron swallowed the gopher whole and another carried the gopher off, presumably to feed its young. The heron are actually making a dent in the gopher population. Then there are the sly visitors to the garden. The ones I know have been here by the evidence they leave behind. The deer who eat the roses and the skunks who help themselves to low hanging oranges, leaving the peels behind. If I could just get some of these visitors to do some weeding, things would be almost perfect around here.

The rosemary is blooming and the bold yellow of the Euryops "Tali' are making a wonderful show in the herb garden this week. The flowering plum trees are in full bloom. I notice there are very few honey bees this year. I would have
thought the pungent blossoms of the plum would draw the bees in droves, but not so. In recent years, bees numbers have dwindled for a number of reasons. To help our bee populations, plant flowers that are attractive to bees, such as zinnias. And try not to use any pesticides or herbicides in the garden. In this way you can help our bees stay healthy. Well, I am off now to check with my beekeeper neighbor to see why there are so few bees right now.