I used to be afraid of the bumble bee.
Now I am afraid for the bumble bee.
~ Nib Loblolly ~
I love rusty metal and galvanized tin. There is a fair amount of both in our landscaping and on our property. (There is a dear husband of a certain dear friend of mine who may wince and shake his head if his wife reveals that I have announced my love of such metals on the world wide web. But that’s ok – he and I can agree on other “loves”, such as animals, pets, my friend, etc. 😊)
My admiration of galvanized and oxidized can be seen in my unconventional choices in garden containers. For example, I have a galvanized metal trash can that I’ve re-purposed into a large planting container. Normally I plant some purple fountain grass and a couple of other heat-tolerant annuals in it. But not this year. Other forces have been at work! It has become my Can of Surprises.
First surprise: Early in April, an industrious pair of Carolina Wrens built a lovely little camouflaged nest amongst the dried foliage of last year’s fountain grass. I was in “hands-off and observe-only” mode for several weeks while eggs were kept warm, chicks were hatched and fed, and then finally graduated to the great big world outside of the nest in the can. Wow. Graduation Day was nerve-wracking, as 5 little wrens came popping out of that tiny nest and scattered into bushes, onto windowsills, and into other flower pots. Mom & Dad Wren were a bit beside themselves, and so were our two dogs!
Surprise #2 & #3: While the wren family was occupying the can, some little wisps of green began to peek up and grow in the spot that the asparagus fern had occupied last summer. Yep, it was asparagus fern alright. Hmmmm……I thought asparagus fern was an annual in any zone that receives below-freezing temps in winter? Then, another seedling began to grow quickly and bigley! As the stalk grew and grew, I guessed that it might have been sowed by one of our furry or feathered friends. Yep! It’s the sunflower in the photo above – now with an inch-plus diameter stalk and eleven flowers! Most likely sprouted from a stray black oil sunflower seed that was carried off from the bird/squirrel feeders. The bees and the goldfinches are loving it!
Surprise #4: Another volunteer seedling has appeared. Alongside one of the morning glory seeds I poked down into the soil at the base of the sunflower stalk. After a couple of weeks of watering it, I see that it is a pokeweed plant. No doubt from a seed deposited by a feathered friend. The battle of the dark purple poke berries is not one I want to fight. So, alas, it has to go. I think the bright coral geranium our neighbor gave me will look nice in its place.
I’ll be keeping my eye on my Can of Surprises – as the morning glories twine their way up the teepee I made for them – who knows what other mysteries may unfold?
My Can of Surprises feels like another gentle nudge from Nature.
A “look what we can do” statement.
An invitation to open up to new ways of planting and co-existing and experiencing the miraculous wonder of life and the natural world.
Acres and acres of land and expensive plantings not required.
All of this within the confines of a simple metal garbage can filled with potting mix.
If you want to be inspired and forever-changed in regards to one particular miracle – the life of a bee – please feel free to listen to Colette O’Neill, co-creator of The Bealtaine Cottage Project in the west of Ireland, as she so eloquently relays a very important message.