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Return of the Pollinators

I didn't realize when I chose this photo at the top that last month's top photo was also of the calendula. That calendula has been blooming its head off for the last six weeks or so and doesn't look like it will be stopping any time soon. Today (at the time I'm writing this) at lunch I watched several native bees seemingly rolling around in the pollen, drunk on how lovely it all was. The first I've determined was some kind of sweat bee. Once I process the photos from my camera I'll take it to iNaturalist and see if I can identify it or have someone else identify it. The other bee was a different kind of native bee but I am not even sure where to begin with identifying it. For Christmas I bought my husband The Bees In Your Backyard but we (I) haven't cracked it open yet amid all of the other items I'm in the middle of reading. 

Thank goodness for Daylight Savings time. I know this is such a contentious topic for people but I would much rather have evening light than morning light. Ideally I'd like it to be Summer Solstice year-round in regards to light (and temperature, too, but I can't be too picky). Early morning light and late evening light just sounds heavenly to me. I know, I'm dreaming!

On the local NPR station today the announcer mentioned that the greater Houston area is about 3.25" below average rainfall for the year. We've had a few showers move around the area recently but nothing has produced much in the way of precipitation. The wet fall and winter has meant an extraordinary year for wildflowers, particularly out in the Big Bend area of Texas (which you should click through some of those links below regarding that) but also around other parts of the state. In late February we got out to the Hill Country to camp and hike and saw some of those early flowers. What I really need to do is take a drive through some back roads and just pull over whenever I see something interesting. 

Monarchs began arriving back here several weeks ago. I had two females find my milkweed and lay about 40 eggs. I decided not to raise any in the tent this spring and am instead letting them do their thing outside. Several of the caterpillars are now around the second instar. Butterflies and other lepidopterans are extremely active now. It's just a pleasure to see them out and about. 

That's about it for this newsletter. I'll be wrapping up this season of the podcast sometime in May and will re-air some episodes from seasons 1-3 during the summer. I've gotten a lot more interest in the podcast over the last year but some of those earlier episodes don't get downloaded a frequently and some of them are really good! 

In the meantime, if you enjoy the podcast do tell your gardening friends about it! 

Happy Spring!

Garden Reads & Listens:
A few posts I've written recently:
+First Luna Moth of the Season
+Early Spring Edible Garden Happenings

+A Rare Plant Census via Florida Native Plant Society
+A Vertical Gardening Guide via Freckled Californian
+Hidden Denizens of the Columbia Bottomlands via A Naturalist's Journey
+Tales of an Aging Green Thumb via Nitty Gritty Dirt Man
+Florida Anise disjunct population found in Putnam County by FNPS via Florida Native Plant Society
+Lead in Backyard Eggs: Don't freak out by don't ignore the issue via Root Simple
+Mabel Matthews via A Plant Geek's Garden (a fun read about some daylilies with history)
+We're Overthinking This Gardening Thing via The Impatient Gardener
+An Iris with Multiple Parents via In Defense of Plants
+Spring in the Desert Part 2: The Super Bloom via A Naturalist's Journey --be sure to see Part 1, too!

For your ears...
+The Whole Okra with Chris Smith via the Gardenerd Podcast
+Leave No Stone and Hunting the Night Parrot episodes via Outside/In podcast (an excellent show from NH Public Radio)
Previously on the Podcast
+Ep. 4-14: Urban Flower Farming & Regenerative Agriculture | Cassiopeia Farm
Ep. 4-15: Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Education and Advocacy | Texas Butterfly Ranch & Monika Maeckle

Coming Up on the Podcast - Working Titles
+Ep. 4-16: Botanizing at Huntsville State Park
+Ep. 4-17: Large Scale Composting | Compost Queens
+Ep. 4-18: Nature & Art | Blue Aster Studio
I haven't been videoing lately!
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