- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
Every Friday morning she'd come bounding over to greet me, her tail wagging happily, one ear up, one ear down.
I called her "My Second Favorite Dog" and nicknamed her "The Bee Garden Mascot."
Her owner, Kristen Kolb of Davis, was one of the 19 founding gardeners who tended the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre bee friendly garden planted in September 2009 next to the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis.
As Kris weeded, planted and pruned, and hauled away the clippings, Olive tagged along, showcasing her trademark windshield-wiper tail, gentle brown eyes and topsy-turvy ears.
Kris and Olive were inseparable. They exchanged hugs and licks and conversation. This was a dog well-loved.
Olive's loyalty reminded me of my childhood dog, Ted, who followed me everywhere on the family farm. He watched me weed the vegetable garden, pick blackberries, and once jumped into the Cowlitz River and swam to our fishing boat. When I went off to college 400 miles away, Ted died. I think he died of a broken heart.
Olive died of cancer. Kris wrote me a note yesterday: "I know you loved her, too. She was about 12, and yes, from the shelter. We were so lucky to find each other and have 10+ wonderful years together. She loved the garden and the gardeners (haven coordinator Missy Borel Gable, team leader Mary Patterson, and Randy Beaton, Tyng Tyng Cheng, Judy Hills, Carolyn Hinshaw, Marion London, Kate McDonald, Kathy Olson, Nancy Stone, Janet Thatcher, Laura Westrup, Nyla Wiebe, Gary Zamzow, Kili Bong, Evan Marczak, Laurie Hildebrandt and Joe Frankenfield) and being a part of it all. Thank you for appreciating what a special dog she was."
Together the 19 founding gardeners donated 5200 hours to the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology between May 2010 and February 2013. Missy Borel Gable, former program manager of the California Center for Urban Horticulture at UC Davis, now directs the statewide UC Master Gardeners' Program. Many of her colleagues are continuing their volunteer work in the UC Davis Arboretum.
The "haven saviors" made a difference. Under their care, the Sacramento Bee named the haven one of the Top 10 Garden Destinations in the area. But they were more than gardeners, volunteers and friends. They were family. They all took time to laugh, to talk about their lives, plans and plants (not necessarily in that order) and to watch the honey bees, bumble bees, butterflies, carpenter bees, European wool carder bees, metallic sweat bees, syrphids, ladybugs, bigeyed bugs, assassin bugs, lacewings, praying mantids, jumping spiders and web weavers--and an occasional red-tailed hawk, great-horned owl and jackrabbit.
And they all knew, as did I, what a very special dog Olive was.
- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
When you visit the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road, University of California, Davis, be sure to check out the passionflower vine clinging to the fence.
You'll see female Valley carpenter bees (Xylocopa varipuncta) seemingly speckled with gold dust. This is actually a thick coat of pollen from their foraging ventures. Underneath that gold pollen, the females are a solid black. (The males of this species are blond with green eyes.)
One of the haven's founding volunteer gardeners, Mary Patterson, a retired cattle rancher and businesswoman who was honored in 2009 as a "Friend of the College" (UC Davis College of Agricultural and Natural Resources), planted the vine there.
The vine is doing quite well.
So are the carpenter bees.
Passionflower blossoms range in color from white to lavender to red, depending on the varieties. This one sports lavender blossoms.
Passiflora is the larval host plant of the Gulf Fritillary butterflies, Agraulis vanillae, a showy reddish-orange butterfly nicknamed "The Passion Butterfly." We spotted no eggs, caterpillars or chrysalids on this particular vine, however.
The Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, planted in the fall of 2009, provides a year-around food source for the nearby bees at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility and other pollinators. It also serves to raise public awareness on the plight of honey bees, and as an educational resource to help visitors decide what to plant in their own gardens.
Maintained by the UC Department of Entomology and Nematology, it's open year around, from dawn to dusk for self-guided tours. Admission? Free. But if you want a guided tour, there's a nominal fee of $3 per person. For more information, contact Christine Casey at firstname.lastname@example.org.