Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Bee B & B now open for "beesiness"

Shortly after I first heard about insect hotels, one of my favorite bloggers built one in her "Middle Tennessee" garden.  See Clay and Limestone's Pollinator Condo here.  Inspired by her design, I did what all of us do these days - a Google search - only to find out that those garden crazy Europeans have been wild about insect hotels for years.  There are even national contests in the UK to see who builds the most clever design.  It was clearly time to catch up.

Closer to home, my friend Sheryl who blogs at Yard Fanatic has constructed the most amazing tower of insect friendliness.  Her Austin garden is already awe inspiring, but I just had to keep going back to admire her well-researched and beautifully designed insect hotel.  Hers was completed in time to welcome the spring bees, and served as another nudge for me to get my "bee-hind" in gear.  Recently she and Ed spent four sunny Saturday hours helping me cut branches and drill bee sized holes in materials for my bee house.  They could've been gardening, or resting from gardening, or drinking on the porch and planning to garden, but nooooo - they generously helped me instead.  Wow.  How do you adequately thank friends like that?

My constant local inspiration in all things related to native plants and habitat gardening is Meredith at Great Stems blog.  Just this morning she posted about her Hotel Insecta.  With detailed instructions on every step of the construction, she guides you through the how AND why.  So, guess it's time to unveil mine.

Starting with the idea that I wanted to do something creative and slightly weird, I decided to repurpose a vintage metal rack for empty soda bottles.  Turned upside down, the base provided a support for a small roof and the square bottle spaces gave structure to the branches, twigs, and other materials used to provide bee and insect friendly housing.  With ample nectar and pollen plants in the garden, and some uncovered soil nearby for the "mason" bees, it's shaping up to be a fairly inviting Bee B and B, don't you think?


Since it started out as a bottle rack, it seemed natural to incorporate some empty bottles.   Hopefully that will also satisfy my craving for a bottle tree as my husband doesn't really "get" their appeal.     

All three of my friends' insect hotels are easily broken down and replenished - an important idea to keep in mind as you plan yours.  And I know you will.  Why not provide something to attract and protect the beneficial pollinators in your garden?  If you already have an insect hotel and have blogged about it, please leave a comment and provide a link.  

The more ideas we share, the more interest we can stir up.  No reason we can't be just as hospitable to pollinators as to those European insect hoteliers, right?


All material © 2013 by Vicki Blachman for Playin' Outside
Unauthorized reproduction prohibited.

11 comments:

Meredith/Great Stems said...

I love it! Such a creative use of an antique bottle rack. I'm sure the bees will "bee happy" in their new Bee B&B. I'm still laughing at the phrase " get my "bee-hind" in gear"!

Cristy said...

I love this idea! I want native pollinators in my yard, and I love bugs. They are so SO cool.
Thanks.

Laura said...

The insect hotel looks awesome, especially the bottle border. I hope this trend keeps going, since we could all use the bees.

Gail said...

I love it Vicki...very clever structure! Thank you for including me in the post and now I have even more ideas for condos and insect hotels! Must get more materials together
xogail

vbdb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
vbdb said...

Thanks everyone! My neighbors are all certain I've gone completely bonkers (long suspected and now confirmed) with this latest critter attractant. Your support reminds me I'm on the right track, crazy or not.

Lancashire rose said...

I'll say something. Austin bees are some lucky insects. I made a small one a couple of years ago and was amazed when they moved in within days. Hope they get to work in your garden.

vbdb said...

You're right Jenny! I had leafcutter bees moving in within 2 days (my next post will be about them) and hope to see "mason" bees and other solitaries moving in at some point.

Bonnie said...

That is amazing. Alex needs to come and see it as she's such an insect lover lately.

Jason said...

That does look very cool.

katina said...

I don't know that I ever posted about it, but while we were in Paris, I got inordinately excited about an insect hotel on the grounds of Notre Dame.