Learning how to understand scientific names of plants mean learning the language of botany. And it’s not hard – really. Once you get the hang of it, it’s fun!
Have you ever heard the organic gardening tip about digging a few banana peels (or bananas) into the ground near your roses for gorgeous flowers and healthy plants? How about adding rinsed-out eggshells to the compost pile? Or using wood ashes and coffee grounds in the garden? Each of these items adds valuable nutrients to your organic garden. If you’re into organic vegetable gardening, enhancing your compost pile or using these organic gardening tips builds up the soil, adds nutrients, and costs nothing. Best of all, it reduces household waste, too.
I made this pretty little bee and butterfly watering station for my butterfly garden using recycled items and dollar store finds. I spent a total of $5 on the items, not including the wine (which was yum) and the rebar (which was left from another home remodeling project). This project takes just under an hour and adds an attractive focal point for your garden.
Why Bother Adding Water for Bees in Your Garden?
Bees find water everywhere. They’ll pick up water from garden pots, saucers, and other sources and carry it back to the hives. In the winter, this is essential to dissolve crystallized honey for nourishment.
Foragers are the bees you see flying around the gardening. These busy little bees seek pollen and water. They fill the sacs on their legs and transfer it to house bees at the hive. Once the house bees refuse to accept any more, they know the hive has enough water, and return to foraging for pollen for food.
Bees find water by scent rather than by sight. That’s why they like slimy water in pots or saucers. But unfortunately, it also means that sharp scents of chlorine and sodium near swimming pools attract bees to pools, spas, and hot tubs. Not only is this water unhealthy but bees can drown in it.
Adding a little bee watering station like this one and letting it get a little moss in it will help bees find it and use it.
How to Make a Bee Water Station with Dollar Store Finds
This project requires only glue and a hammer to pound the stake or rebar into the ground. That’s it! How easy is that?
You’ll need to visit your favorite dollar store for these items:
- 2 bags of glass pebbles, one with flat bottoms and one round, like marbles.
- 1 bag of large flat glass pebbles
- 1 large glass plate
- 1 large glass bowl
You will also need:
- A round dowel or piece of rebar approximately 12-18 inches long
- A hammer to hammer in the rebar or dowel
- Glue. I recommend E6000 glue. It is an industrial strength glass glue and holds well in outdoor conditions.
The wine bottle is a large port bottle we recycled. If you do not drink wine, use another bottle purchased from the dollar store. Our dollar store has decorative kitchen bottles like oil and vinegar bottles in various colors that would look so pretty in the garden.
I had a piece of rebar in the garage, probably from when our house was built, but you don’t need to use rebar. A sturdy wooden stake that fits into the neck of the bottle, a dowel, or recycled pole would work just as well. You may need to cut it to size.
That’s it. Now let’s get crafting!
Before assembling the base, test to make sure the dowel or rebar fits inside the bottle. If it does, proceed, if not, find another one that fits.
Assemble the Base
- First, remove the label from the wine bottle and the glass bowls. I just used hot water and a paint scraper to get the labels off.
- Next, dry thoroughly.
- Place the bowl open-side down on a table. Spread glue liberally on the base, following directions.
- Center the plate over the glue and bowl and push down.
- Let dry about one hour.
- Next, spread glue on the bottom of the plate.
- Put the bottom of the wine bottle on the plate. Push down gently. Let dry for several hours.
- While the glue dries, head out into the garden. Use a mallet or hammer to drive the stake or rebar into the ground.
- When the bottle base is dry, bring it to the garden. Flip the bottle so that the neck slides onto the rebar or dowl. No glue needed – it stays in place nicely!
- You can glue decorative flat glass rocks onto the plate if you like as I did or leave them off. Fill the bowl with flat bottom glass pebbles first, then the round pebbles. Add water and a bit of moss to make it attractive to bees.
I hope you enjoy your little bee watering station! Here’s to gardening with dollar store finds.
The Big Bug Hunt is here!
Pests are an inevitable part of gardening. But what if you could predict when they were going to appear? You could set up defenses or be on alert for early infestations, ready to act promptly before they escalated.
This is the vision of a major citizen science project that is collecting observations of bugs to identify patterns in their behavior. The data is being used to develop a pest prediction service that will notify gardeners when pests are headed their way.
The Big Bug Hunt
The Big Bug Hunt invites gardeners across the country to report sightings of bugs as they see them. More than 20,000 individuals have already taken part, reporting bugs of all kinds – from pests such as squash bugs and aphids to beneficial bugs like bees – in what is believed to be the biggest project of its kind
Observations shared through the website BigBugHunt.com inform researchers what bug was seen, when it was seen and any plant it was on or near. The anonymously shared location of the sighting pinpoints it on a map. With thousands of reports like this, patterns begin to emerge, building up a picture of when and how bugs first appear and spread, and what influences this behavior.
The ambitious project is lead by garden app developer Growing Interactive, having worked in collaboration with specialists in data analysis to apply the very latest developments in machine learning to the collected data.
Now in its fifth year, researchers have made excellent progress predicting common garden pests like Japanese beetle. Accuracy is expected to improve still further as many more join The Big Bug Hunt over the coming months to share their observations.
Our increasingly hard-to-forecast weather doesn’t make predicting pests easy, as Project Coordinator Jeremy Dore explains: “Huge variations in the severity of winter and spring’s arrival leave gardeners second-guessing what pests to expect when.
“The Big Bug Hunt uses real-world observations across often contrasting seasons and years to identify the patterns behind the weather that predict when a pest will strike. The more reports we get the better. Reports received across multiple seasons help to refine the results so we can make predictions to an even higher degree of confidence.”
How to Get Involved in the Bug Hunt
Getting involved in The Big Bug Hunt is easy. Head to BigBugHunt.com to report a bug, which takes just seconds. The website includes detailed pest identification guides – with effective treatment and prevention ideas – and you have the option to sign up for updates, bug-busting emails and free downloadable charts.
Development of a pest prediction service is now at an advanced stage. The first emailed pest alerts are expected to go out to gardeners later this year. Anyone who contributed a report to The Big Bug Hunt over the past year will be first to benefit from the service, while participants making an accurate report in 2019 will be offered email alerts next year. The service will also become an integral part of the online Garden Planners available from GrowVeg.com, The Old Farmer’s Almanac, Mother Earth News magazine and many gardening suppliers’ websites.