The Next Thing.

If you live in a part of the U.S. experiencing drought and/or above average heat, you might be thinking, “The next thing? Pouring an icy drink and moving as little as possible so as to not sweat for just one minute.” That is a fine idea. Do that. Then come back and keep reading.

Mason jar mug filled with black raspberry juice and ice cubes

Welcome back. 

Last week you spent a little time outdoors in your shared place. You’ve noticed some things. Sun, shade, sounds, species. Ready for a next step? Just one thing on your way to creating ecology? 

Not trying to be dramatic or extra here. You’re going to grow something that just might save a life. 

Think of how hot, thirsty, out of energy (raising hand: all of the above) you have been this past week. Imagine at your most weary moment, someone reached out and handed you a refreshing drink. Ahhhhhhh… That’s what you will be doing for a pollinator like a bee, butterfly, moth, lightning bug, pollinating fly, or hummingbird. 

Even one blooming, polleny, sweet flower can make a difference for a bird or insect newly hatched or eclosed and in need of energy, or needing fuel during a southern migration at the end of Summer.  


  • Get a packet of flower seeds. Try bachelor’s buttons (cornflower), cosmos, zinnias, calendula, or gomphrena. These all grow quickly in summer heat. You can scratch out a little spot on the ground in a sunny spot or fill a container with dirt and set it in a sunny place. It doesn’t need to be fancy, just put it in a place that is convenient for you to give it a pour of water each day.
  • Ask around and look for plant swaps. Friends, neighbors, colleagues or family members might have seeds to share or even a flowering plant to spare. Coreopsis/tickseed (blood-sucking insects not attracted to it), Tradescantia/spiderwort (arachnids not attracted to it), Rudbeckia/black-eyed Susans (I’ll ask my friend Susan if she’s attracted to it) are all pollinator-favorites and species that gardeners often give away for free when dividing large clumps. 
  • Visit your local nursery or roadside greenhouse. With official Summer almost here, plants might be on sale. Look for established flowering plants like celosia, salvia, or verbena. You might not get one in your favorite hue, but the pollinators will find these no matter the color. 
Zinnia bud a day before opening

Now, commit.

Commit to care for this new plant or plants-to-be and the little ecology it is part of: 

  • I will plant you in a sunny spot.
  • I will keep the soil you live in moist when there is no rain. (Especially important for seeds to germinate and for new seedlings to get their roots deeper into the dirt.)
  • I will not use ‘cide sprays or powders on or anywhere near you, so that your flowers will not have chemicals or toxins for the pollinators feeding there, and the ground will not have toxic residues for the many species growing and working there, including me and other people.

Keep growing! And lastly, an announcement…

Introducing Milk Bottle Mondays!

One or both will be filled with what’s growing starting next week.

A tall and mini milk bottle sit empty on a plant stand


  1. I’m in! I just prepped a new planting area and I commit to some flower that will make the birds/insects happy. 🙂

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