This year we stopped mowing our lawn, to re-wild our surroundings and welcome our essential pollinators. We have been reminded of their presence and their absence throughout the summer of 2020. John composed an article on The Therapeutic Power of Gardening, which appeared in the Fall 2020 issue of Connections from St. James United Church in Antigonish.
The article includes the image of Dorothy’s botanical Monarch Butterflies that she crafted entirely from marigold petals, Queen Anne’s Lace and false indigo pods. Alas, not one Monarch appeared in our bee and butterfly garden even though Dorothy counted more than 20 milkweed plants (Asclepius species), on which Monarchs feed exclusively. We hear they arrived in great numbers in Ontario but they didn’t make it to our part of Nova Scotia. The orange milkweed in the image is Asclepius tuberosa—well-named because Asclepius is the Greek God of Medicine. Dorothy has been pressing botanicals since she was a child, and her first gift to John after they met in 2005 was a framed collage of Asclepius tuberosa.
This image also appears in the Gratitude section of the just-released HARP publication — Hmmm – M the Humdinger — which is Dorothy’s book about M, a child of Nature, who hums in harmony with her companion hummers (bees, dragonflies and hummingbirds). The hardcover version of Hmmm also includes a circle game for children called Humble Bumble, that follows the humming arc of one of our common bumblebee pollinators, bombus impatiens. Humble Bumble is crafted entirely from quaking grass, false indigo, and goldenrod for her pollen-laden legs.
Hummed to the Sun
Thrummed to the Moon
Humble Bumble Humdinger
Humble Bumble tumbled on a morning glory
Humdinger left Hmmm Hmmm
Humble Bumble rumbled on a honeysuckle
Humdinger right Hnnnn Hnnnn
Humble Bumble stumbled on a wild cucumber
Humdinger left three times
Hmmm Hmmm Hmmm
Humdinger right three times
Hmnn Hmnn Hmnn
Humble Bumble twined with the vine
Humble Bumble hummed to the Sun
Hmmm Hmnn Hmmm Hmnn
Humble Bumble thrummed to the Moon
Hmmm Hmnn Hmmm Hmnn
Then just this week a Royal Mail First Day Cover arrived in the mail for John, called Brilliant Bugs: Our Essential Pollinators. John has been collecting stamps since he joined the stamp club as a seven-year-old schoolboy at St. Peter’s all-boys school in Weston-Super-Mare in Southwest England. His collection of British first-day covers goes back almost fifty years. Of the six essential pollinators depicted on the stamps, only the Painted Lady graced our wilderness garden this year.