Bumblebee resting on buckwheat. It's interesting how pale her head is. She actually blends in quite well with this plant because the buckwheat seeds are quite dark in contrast with the blossoms.
Hey, it's time to celebrate Madame Beespeaker's 1ooth post for this blog! Woot! I am so happy to have this seasonal diary as a template for future adventures in beespeaking and urban beekeeping. Using this diary, I'll be able to write a more in-depth blog in the next couple of years. I am planning to continue working as Madame Beespeaker, creating some more community art projects and art education projects while expanding my use of materials and performance methods. At the same time I will branch off into a who new shoot of work involving moths. I've turned into such an insect nerd! (My child hood was all about rocks, but that's another story.)
An unidentified smaller bee covered in pollen on the corepsis. The blanket flower head was in the way of my camera lens!
Creating this bee garden at MOP with my helpers has been such as incredible privilege. I just picked up a lovely book by Jim Nollman called Why We Garden: Cultivating a Sense of Place. (Yes, it's the guy who talks to whales--we must be kindred spirits.) Why garden? This about sums it up: "With a lot of tender loving care, good landscaping design, and savvy plant knowledge, most everything a human being needs in this world--including food, comfort, museum, university, social clubhouse--will be there for foraging." (pg. 58) It's this sense of self-containment that I find so satisfying. I enjoy the garden as gesamtkunstwerk. I like the semi-privacy of my back yard garden, but also the social nature of the MOP as a community garden. As a transplant from the prairies, gardening in both private and shared spaces helps me feel anchored and rooted, and gives me the sense of belonging I pine for.
In some ways this blog is just the tip of the ice berg--just me jotting down some basic thoughts and impressions so I can go in and create something new from this diary. I will use the photographs and my experience with growing to help create an artist book or a set of cards on how to create your own bee garden. Even though I don't get many written comments. (Ahem.) People do chat with me about what they read on the blog, which is another reason for its existence.
In the meantime, I am losing myself in the experience of summer while it lasts.
It's not over yet, but I want to thank my colleagues in the art collective MOPARRC (Means of Production Artists' Raw Resource Collective): Sharon Kallis, Lois Klassen, and Jody Macdonald. I also want to thank the staff at the Environmental Youth Alliance, especially Samantha and Rhianna, whose feedback and advice has been an integral part of the project. A big thanks to bee garden designer Jean Kindratsky and bee consultant Brian Campbell. Thanks to the volunteers and to all the people who invited me into their gardens, for those little glimpses into their visions of paradise.