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Pollinator Friendly Native Wildflower Seeds

Instructions for the Wildflower Seed Packs gifted to our Appointments for the Earth Participants

For optimal success we suggest:

  • Planting the native plant seeds in the top 1/4 to 1/8 inch of soil
  • Keep them moist for good germination
  • It is important to have the soil "firm"so they don't go too deep
  • This mix would grow best in a sunny site.

All of the wildflower seeds in this packet are all perennials. As with any new perennial, they will not bloom in the first year. Don't despair though as this could be your bee friendly garden next summer! 

wildflowers

The mix may contain Anemone (long fruited and cut-leaved), Gaillardia, Smooth Fleabane, Wild Blue Flax, Liatris (Blazing Star), Aster (smooth and low creeping), Oxytropis (early yellow, late yellow and showy), Alumroot, Golden Bean, Wild Blue Lupine, and Yellow Penstemon.

Bee Inspired

photo 1Bees and a hair salon. Who would have thought that that the two had anything in common? Well as it turns out, they have a lot in common, especially when you are an environmentally conscious SalonSpa.  Our journey begins with a trip to AVEDA Congress in Minneapolis in October 2013. This is a biannual pilgrimage to what many of us refer to as the Motherland.

As many of our guests know, we have been an AVEDA partner since 1991. At this particular AVEDA Congress, AVEDA educated us about to the plight of bees. We learned that one out of every three bites of food we eat every day is due to honeybees and their pollination process. AVEDA products are produced using plants and flowers as the main ingredient, and we learned that many of those ingredients for the products owe their propagation to the bees.  We also found out that large swaths of honeybees are disappearing at exponentially increasing rates. There are many theories for this which we will touch on in future blog posts.

AVEDA decided that as beneficiaries of these powerful pollinators, they had to do their part to save the honey bees. They approached the University of Minnesota to help them establish their own colonies at the manufacturing facilities in Blaine Minnesota. This story inspired our team to start looking for a way that SwizzleSticks could help back home in some way. Have a look at Aveda's story: Honey... They're Home

The next part of our journey started with the all encompassing search engine we call Google. We happened upon an organization called Apiaries and Bees for Communities (ABC). This organization was founded by an amazing and passionate beekeeper and educator named Eliese Watson. 

photo 2

We had a great conversation with her and found out that we can do more than just donate money to her organization, we can actually own beehives! We were elated that this was a possibility. We wanted to get started right away but were informed that the die-off of the bees the previous winter was so great that all of their reserves were going towards the repopulation of their current beehives. We took an interest in ABC’s education program, which provides tours to beehives around Calgary to help raise awareness of just how useful and non-threatening these bees are in our community. We found out that ABC was in desperate need of new beekeeper suits for their education program. We immediately decided to purchase 20 suits as well as two tour bikes to aid them in their Field Day educational trips.

As donors to this program it allowed us to have all of our team take a Field Day tour of several beehives and learn all about bee husbandry. What our team came away with was an excitement and passion for our new venture. The following year we became the proud parents of two beehives. And so the journey begins..

Cassandra King Q&A: Beekeeping at SwizzleSticks

Fact: 30% of every bite of food you eat has been pollinated by bees.
Fact: More honey bees die off every year due to poor nutrition.

At SwizzleSticks we are so excited and proud to announce that through our ongoing partnership with Apiaries and Bees for Communities ( aka: ABC BEES) we have two of our very own bee hives this year! Our hives reside Heritage Park Historical Village and we have the privilege of having one of our very own Massage Therapists working hard to become our Bee Mentor and Ambassador.

Cassandra WebHow long have you worked for SwizzleSticks and how do you feel about your time with the company?

When I applied to SwizzleSticks in summer of 2013, I was blown away after my interview, just learning more about the company and the people there. It was an easy and right decision for me to accept my current position.

I find that there are a lot of businesses out there that don’t seem to care about their employees or their clients, and here there’s a great balance of really genuinely caring about the SwizzleSticks client, as well as the team. We have a wonderful balance here that’s refreshing.

How did you get involved with this new initiative and what is it all about?

Last summer Eliese Watson, Founder and Bee Keeper at ABC Bees came by to make a presentation to all of us at SwizzleSticks about all of their initiatives, which was really interesting. SwizzleSticks just got two of our own hives as well. After Eliese’s presentation last summer, we were offered a couple of Field Days, where we had the opportunity to go and check out the bee hives for ourselves.

We didn’t know what to expect [at the Field Days], but we were so amazed and blown away. We got to learn more about the hives and play with the bees, and taste the honey, while having the opportunity to be educated about different bees and honey production, and pollination.

How long are you personally involved in this program? Is anyone able to sign up?

I’ll be taking classes May through to September, one afternoon a month for about three hours. All of their educational information is on their website - they want more people to be educated and eventually have more people owning their own beehives.

There’s been so much curiosity from all of the Team at the salon and spa about Bee keeping, especially after our participation in last summer’s Field Days, and now that we have our own beehives, I was chosen to be able to do this mentorship program and represent the Team as the ambassador.

Why were you personally interested in taking on the role of the Bee Ambassador?

I enjoy learning about something new and the thing that blew my mind is just how friendly [the bees] were and I just wanted to learn more about it. Eventually down the road if I ever own my own place with a yard, I would like to have the opportunity to have my own hive.

Why do you think it’s important not only for SwizzleSticks to be a part of this, but to also share the knowledge with your guests and the general public?

I think with the bees, my biggest thing I want to share about my experience, is just how friendly the bees are - a lot of people are afraid of bees and assume killing them before they sting is a good idea. You’re hearing more and more in the news these days about bees dying off, while they are huge pollinators and they are so important for our food sources. I’m learning so much through this experience already.

What have you learned that was a surprise for you to find out?

Like I said, how friendly they are and how they work together. They move throughout the hive in a cluster and they feed off the honey throughout the winter to stay warm. Little tid-bits like that have been interesting to find out.

For this experience, we were given a suit which is just a jacket and head protection, but your hands are bare. I was a bit surprised at first, especially since when you see this in movies, it’s a full suit with gloves.

I had bees crawling on my bare hands and I was able to pick one up, and they don’t do anything. They really don’t want to harm you.

The two hives that SwizzleSticks owns are at Heritage Park. Is this where the classes take place?

 The classes are at different hives throughout the city, so we’ll be moving around and will visit our location later this summer, so I’ll get to see our hives then. At our first class we got to see baby bees being born, the queen laying eggs and we found the queen bee in most of the hives that we went into.

Why would you personally recommend that people take advantage of the education that ABC has on offer?

Again, the education is so important. People might not be so quick to kill off dandelions and what we consider weeds since they’re actually important pollinators. Not being so scared too, is important to know. Planting more bee friendly flowers. It’s bee swarming season right now, so a lot of people will call exterminators, but you can just have ABC to remove the swarm for you.

There are certain things in nature that we end up taking for granted, so it’s really cool to see how they work together - it blows my mind to see this up close.

In case you missed it recently on our social media, here is a great must-see video: An Extraordinary Glimpse into the First 21 Days of a Bee’s Life in 60 Seconds - http://bit.ly/1EkIuXx

Want to get involved? Visit http://www.backyardbees.ca