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The Birds and the Bees, a Love Story in Sherman Oaks

The importance of little critters in the garden.

I have a love affair going on and, yes, my spouse knows about it. It began about three months ago, and I’m thrilled to say I’m enjoying every minute of it.

Every morning, I wake up early, enjoy a cup of coffee on the front porch with my other half, and then join my other love a little later for yet another cup of coffee.

My love affair is with my front garden in Sherman Oaks, which I planted just three months ago.

Each day, I prowl my garden in search of delectables hanging on the vine. I’m talking about my strawberries, naturally. My taste buds synch with my brain and, like a Pavlovian dog, I begin to salivate.

My will power is tested to the limit as I pick and count my bounty. I place half on the counter for family consumption, and the others are packed in a freezer bag to await that strawberry pie in the middle of winter.

While I enjoy my strawberries, I am in search of that next high: the birds and the bees. Most people learn about the birds and the bees from nervous parents. What they didn’t tell you is that plants have a birds-and-bees story too.

Bees are euphoric in gardens as they walk over flowers and vegetables, rolling in yellow pollen like a pig in mud.

Birds, especially hummingbirds, assist with pollination by poking their noses into every flower’s business. I call my hummers, whether male or female, Gladys, just like the Honeymooners.

When I grew my corn last year, I learned that in order for it to produce a crop, the birds and the bees needed a little assistance from me. Corn silk, for example, needs to be pollinated, and each little silk directly correlates to the number of kernels on a corn cob.

I faithfully gathered the male flowers, the tassels at the top of the plant, and lovingly caressed the silk on each ear of corn. Before I knew it, I had corn as high as an elephant’s eye, and my taste buds were begging for more.

I purposefully began adding plants with red, yellow and orange flowers to lure the little lovers to my garden. African basil, nasturtium, petunias and salvia, also known as hummingbird bush, are great additions to any garden, and are easy to grow.

Now that I have found true love, I let the birds and the birds do my dirty work for me.

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