Thanks to Bertie Foltz and her talent in making objects with hypertufa, a special lightweight concrete mix, we have a birdbath for the Permaculture Garden bed at the Fairgrounds. It is filled regularly with special dripper in the irrigation system. The advantage to having it on the ground is that frogs and toads and other small creatures will have access to it. The disadvantage – if you have a cat is that they will have access to those creatures as well as the birds.
In early June Mike Nelson completed and installed an Insect Hotel in the Bees and Pollinators bed at the Firewise Gardens project at the Fairgrounds! As you can see from the picture it’s truly a work of art! Each section is created as habitat for a different sort of pollinator insect.
These “Insect Hotels” are extremely popular in Europe where the natural habitats have been decimated by human populations, and so farmers, homeowners, parks and schools have taken to creating sometimes very large and elaborate “insect hotels” in order to compensate. They can be as small and simple as a coffee can filled with bamboo tubes to the type of thing Mike created and much much larger. Do a Google Image search for “Insect hotel” and you will see dozens of examples.
This bed also includes a “watering tray” since bees and other pollinators need water, too. It’s a small clay tray filled with sand and pebbles allowing safe and easy access to the water without drowning. Next to this tray is a bare sandy “bank” surrounded by grasses that can act as a nesting site for the many types of ground nesting bees native to Oregon.
The garden is also filled with a variety of plants that will bloom from late winter through the summer, offering ongoing food (nectar).
The signage for the beds will come soon – but in the meantime you won’t have any trouble finding Mike’s wonderful Insect Hotel. Go to the Josephine County Fairgrounds and check it out – second bed on the left!