Years ago an old friend of mine visited our garden and she remarked that we had a lot of native bees at work. I was happy to hear this, but I simply didn't see it, at least not in the same way she did. My mind was somewhere else at the time and I was simply not yet in tune with the environment I was creating for not only them, but for other insects as well.
Sometime last year I finally realized I'd created what really did feel more and more like a whole new ecosystem in my backyard. By combining all kinds of native plants with non-natives, essentially stuffing the property to its gills with plants—both horizontally and increasingly more and more vertically—I should have anticipated this result. Funny the little Catholic girl inside of me was too hung up on feeling guilty for having made what looked like such a mess.
I didn't see the bees and bugs back then, but as things have matured, and in a way, so have I, I have started to see them for the first time.
I apologize for the fuzzy pictures, but it was hard to get a great shot of this bee. It was busy collecting pollen—as can be seen by its little yellow pollen buckets on its legs. I couldn't stop giggling when I saw what looked like adorable little boots on its feet and I am sure that my mirth did not improve my photography.
If you are interested in learning more about the conservation of invertebrates around the world, I encourage you to read more about it at: The Xerces Society.