Today was a good day, and may I say, a perfect and very Seattle Winter Sunday. A slow waking, lazying around reading in bed, surrounded by diffused,Winter light, a languid, hot shower (I know water conservation), brunch at Galerias with friends, where I indulged in this mole pabalono, and a walk through woodsy Volunteer Park located in the north end of Capitol Hill. I was even able to convince everyone parading with me on this fine Sunday to explore the conservatory.

As if I needed to pull out my persuasive skills. The conservatory is a little like world travel for botanical lovers, if perhaps, Dr. Seuss had planned it. Each room boasts exotic, Dr. Seuss inspired, if he were a flower god: bromeliads, palms, ferns, fuzzy cacti, and pitcher plants. A plant that a friend accurately described as "slutty." And they are the sirens of the botanical world, except instead of luring by song, they lure by smell. Every room has its own fragrances, temperature, humidity, strangeness, and colors. What I appreciate is not only the human manpower that it must take to preserve and nurture these botanical wonders, but the educational placards that accompany each plant. For instance, I learned about non-parasitic epiphytes. Plants that are supported non-parasitically to other plants or objects, and derives its moisture and nutrients from the air and dust. Also known at aerophytes.

 I probably know a little more than your average person due to a botanical interest and a 101 class I took in school, but there is so much vast, interesting stuff out there to know about the wonderful, diverse flora world that yes, LIVES on our PLANET. : )  If you'd like to know more about the amazing, symbiotic relationships that exist between pollinators and their botanical counterparts, I highly recommend watching the Sexual Encounters of the Flora Kind.  It's deliciously corny and has a musical score of a '70's porn.

And if you haven't heard already read about the world-wide colony bee collapses, which at this point you'd have to be living in Plato's cave to not have heard or read about this necessary and I might add adorable pollinator's plight, here's some updated info.  According to the New York Times who quoted a now infamous paper by Army Scientists and Montanan Bee experts, "a fungus tag-teaming with a virus have apparently interacted to cause the problem." The team states that even though a cause has been located the team now has to find why the particular combination of the fungus and virus kills the bees. According to this CNN article, pesticides are the cause for the bee collapses. While it isn't in doubt that the fungus-virus is plaguing the bees, it alone isn't enough to cause the mass colony collapses; however, common pesticides made by Bayer, are arguably strong enough to weaken the bee's immune systems, which would allow the fungus-virus to take over.

In fact, there is strong evidence that the EPA covered up Bayer's connection to the colony collapses. And to support the pesticide theory, in Europe where the Bayer neonicotinoids have been banned, bee population is being restored. There are still many theories for the mass collapses: limited food supply, pesticides, disease, infection, but many argue it is ultimately due to our mono-culure farming. Limited biodiversity and pesticide usage are two common elements to mono-culture. And way to represent, urban bees are apparently faring better than country bees due to more plant diversity and minimal usage of pesticides.

And for your pleasure, I found this gem while mining the collective of the Internets for bee stuff. The personal journey of a bee keeper.

The difference between a honey bee and a bumble bee: Bumble bees are the slow, innocuous, furry creatures usually bumming around your garden. They pollinate and make honey, but not enough for them to be used commercially. Honey bees are not aggressive by nature, and often get mistaken for wasps and hornets, who are the real villains. Honey bees are used commercially and are the bees that are dying off.

Help save the bees. Bees are responsible for pollinating an estimated 30% of our food. Their plight is key into understanding the importance of a limited-pesticide, biodiverse, polyculture world.

The conservatory is a non-profit in peril. Please go here to vote for it to stay open.
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