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Meet Tuppy!

Tuppy is a “lover of all insects, flora and fauna, a nature protector, avid organic gardener, ceramic sculptor, and lover of life!” Alongside her husband she plants and keeps a pollinator garden. Together they’ve “created a little nature and bee sanctuary in the suburbs.”

Tuppy’s mother was a botanical artist whose nickname was “Bee.” Insects were always a fond part of both her and her mom’s life. Tuppy’s children knew their mom loved bees and decided to buy her a groupon to attend a workshop on honey bees and beekeeping in Redwood City. Soon after the workshop Tuppy put beehives on her property. Her yard started as a vegetable garden, but once the bees arrived, it quickly turned into a pollinator habitat.

“Once you have them [bees],” Tupy explains, “you don't realize you then start planting more and more and more [flowers for them]. . . And everytime you go to the nursery and you see bees on a plant you say ‘oh I want that!!’”

Tuppy and her husband still grow some vegetables to eat, but more often than not let these vegetables flower for the insects to enjoy. They much prefer watching their artichoke’s bloom and bees land on the purple flowers, then taking the artichokes inside for their own consumption.

Tuppy recommends checking out Annie’s Annuals and Ace Hardware for plants that are friendly to pollinators and pesticide free. Plants she’s noticed lots of pollinator activity on include: lavender, zinnias, bee balm, and sunflowers.

10x10+10 sign near Tuppy’s beehives

Tuppy has three gardening tips to share with you: the first is to dry and hang seeds above the garden beds. Not only is this process aesthetically pleasing, but also provides seeds for the bird and allows seeds to more easily drop back into the soil beds, re-disperse and re-grow.

Seeds hanging in Tuppy’s garden

Her second gardening tip is to plant a variety of flowers. She’s noticed that bees love the color blue and hummingbirds love the color red. Finally she recommends planting flowers in clusters so as to attract more pollinators. She used to plant the same seed all over the garden but found when she put a cluster of the same seed in one place, more pollinators visited that area. The UC California’s Urban Bee lab is in agreement with Tuppy. Native bee have found that the ideal patch size for each flower type is 3.5 feet x 3.5 feet (1 square meter). When there is a high density of flowers in a given location, more pollinators will notice that flower and forage from it.

If Tuppy were a pollinator, she’d be a mason bee because she sees lots of them buzzing around her yard, and if she were a flower she’d be a sunflower because she loves being in the sun! She especially loves a sunflower called the silver leaf. Enjoy the photos of Tuppy’s magnificently whimsical pollinator and sculpture garden. We are so lucky she supports 10x10+10.

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