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Representative Reardon Accepts Melissa Bee Good Award

Melissa Bee Good Award Reardon Accepts Melissa Bee Good Award ReardonRep. Reardon (D-OR) accepts the Melissa Bee Good Award for ‘Making Life Sweeter for Bees’ by proposing legislation, HB 4139, to restrict non-licensed use of neonicotinoid pesticides in Portland. The bill was amended and passed the Senate 27-2 yesterday and will create a work group to find solutions for pollinator health. 

Melissa gave a talk about the importance of healthy landscape practices to the Oregon league of Conservation Voters ‘Thirsty Thursdays’ event and presented Rep. Reardon with his award of a jar of  honey from treatment-free hives kept in pesticide free gardens at the Waypost Bar in Portland, Oregon.

Way to go Rep. Reardon! You’re an inspiring example for representatives across the nation and globe.

Show your support, post a thank you to Rep. Reardon on his FB page: https://www.facebook.com/reardonfororegon

Or write to him here:https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/reardon

Get involved with the Oregon League of Conservation Voters: http://www.olcv.org/

Join the Xerces Society today: http://www.xerces.org/

A Message of Hope From Colombia

Hi everybody my name is Daniel Felipe, I’m from Colombia and i am a farmer , I produce tomatoes and different kind of vegetables, but my principal concern is to transfer knowledge to the future of our planet: children.
I work in a school of my town, and I have the opportunity of being near of children’s from 2 years until sixteen years old.
Well, the first point is what kind of knowledge?
I really believe that bees have our life in them sweetie and beauty hives, because they give to us life example; her life is synonym of hard, work, and cooperation, and they get a big responsibility pollinizing plants for our food, and seeds.
That’s the principal idea that children’s of world need to get; life can be really sweet but we need to work for it.
Secondly but not less important is that we need to keep safe some space for the life of these beauty bees, how? Planting different plants that bees really love to live. in our country we have a lot species (big biodiversity) and we can plant along the year so it’s really nice see flower, bees and smiling faces of innocence’s kids.
The third thing is teach them that food grow from they are setting or sitting, and the most important is to respect that form of life, and show them how importance had the land in our life.
Basically is really easy, they are unruly happy and curious, and the seed in Colombia have been planted; we all for bees !
I <<Heart>>Apis.
Thanks a lot!

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Bee Friendly Landscapes

ExtraordinaryGardensTestConsultation, Design/Build and Maintenance. Serving the Portland/Vancouver Metro area and Columbia River Gorge  503-313-0378  Email here.

Melissa Bees at Gorge Food Forum: ‘Landscaping for Bee Health’ Oct. 12th, Skamania, WA

Screen Shot 2013-10-03 at 1.16.19 PMVisit www.gorgegrown.com for a list of speakers, events and location!

Melissa Bees at ‘UnBeelievable Bees’ at the World Forestry Center in Portland Sept. 8th

Melissa Elliott of Melissa Bees presents ‘Hive Medicine: How the Bees Keep Us and How We Can Better Keep Them’.  Honeybees are tiny agents of civilization, whose work underlies human agriculture and medicine.  Our very existence on the planet is tied to the presence of honeybees and we have a sacred responsibility to keep them well.  The bees are ailing from unhealthy landscape practices.  Learn how you- as a homeowner, renter, businessperson or caretaker, can participate in keeping bees healthy- whether you have a hive or not!

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‘She Who Watches’ Hive

She Who Watches Hive

She Who Watches Hive

My father appreciates handmade objects of beauty, particularly forms that transcend time and contain messages that speak silently to the heart. This is his art and his sacred gift to me.

I have a childhood memory of standing in front of a display case filled with Plains Indian artifacts, holding my father’s hand and him asking me, “How many hours do you think it took the woman to weave that basket? Just imagine… she collected the reeds, dyed them and then wove those tiny strands into a bowl with a pattern, no less.  How did she know how to do all that and who taught her?  What do you think she collected in it? It’s a far cry from our silly green Tupperware bowls, don’t you think?”  We stood there in awe, wondering together.  When we walked in the woods he would call out tree names, just by reading the leaves or the bark.  It was a mystery to me how he knew them and I hoped I could unlock the secret someday. He would look up and say,  “That’s the mighty White Oak. Oak, Hickory and Maple stretched from New York to the Mississippi before white people came.  They say a squirrel could travel by tree without ever touching the ground, can you imagine the primeval canopy…”

From him I learned we weren’t the only ones.

When I was a teenager, my father hauled a twenty foot long log into our garage and began to carve a totem for the school where he taught fifth grade.  He poured over books about Northwest Coast Native designs, sitting next to the wood stove developing sketches.  The work of the Haida spoke to him in particular with it’s graphic complexity and striking animal faces, whose spirits leapt from the pages of the book. He chose animals that were native to Indiana where we lived: Beaver, bear, fox and eagle and adapted designs for his totem. One night while he straddled the log and carved, I sat in a chair nearby as chips flew from his chisel and landed in my lap. I fed them to the fire as we discussed the social benefits of the potlach ceremony.  Later, when I asked him how long it took to carve the totem he laughed and said he stopped counting after 440 hours, meaning some things are worth the sacrifice.


My father, William P. Elliott with his totem.

From him I learned we aren’t the only ones and that beauty is worth devoting yourself to. Which seems particularly significant to me now, given this is my 40th year on the planet and the beginning of life’s waning cycle.  Aware of my own mortality, I feel a sense of urgency and responsibility to protect what is alive and what wants to come alive.  The honeybees and other pollinators are in trouble due to pesticides, and as they go, so do we and many other living things. They are the tiny giants on whose shoulders we stand. As I walk through this gate of transition in my own life, I’m fueled with a fire to help keep the land, the bees and the people well.

I called on my father to help me carve a log bee hive for my birthday.  Trees are the natural home for bees- and as a matter of fact in Europe, and in the Ukraine in particular there is a long-standing tradition of carving log hives for bees.  I found a local mill owner who graciously supplied the log and hollowed it in exchange for bee classes next season.  The log I chose was Western Red Cedar, traditionally carved by Northwest Coast tribes and a tree of great power.  The log was decidedly feminine, with skirt-like flutes at the bottom, chosen in honor of the female monarchy it would house.

When my father asked what I wanted to carve I told him I wasn’t sure, but that the image of ‘She Who Watches’ or Tsagaglalal was in my thoughts.  ‘She Who Watches’ is a 10,000 year-old Wishram petroglyph and pictograph carved in the rock canyon above the Columbia River not far from our home in White Salmon, Washington.  She was a chief who was concerned that her people had abundance.  As the legend goes, Coyote warned her that the world was going to change and that there wouldn’t be chiefs any more, so he turned her to stone to forever watch over her people.

In the woodshop

In the ‘She Who Watches’ Hive Wood Shop

We chose the image of ‘She Who Watches’ for the ‘head’, and for the body, a bee.  The lemniscate, or waggle dance of the bee forms the breast and heart. The hive entrance is at the triangle of the bee’s belly.  Remarkably, we carved the hive in three days in our front yard wood shop.

Like the chief ‘She Who Watches’, the bees preside over our existence on the planet, providing for and protecting us.   ‘She Who Watches’ is also seen as a death mask, carrying a message of warning for the future.  The same can be said for the bees, who act as psychopomps, or spirit guides.  They are warning us of the peril in our ways.  Will we listen? What beauty will we devote ourselves to?

***Thanks Dad, for sharing your art with me!  Through the process of making the ‘She Who Watches’ Hive I learned that ancestors and spirit allies come to life by our ability to perceive them, though our very own breath,  imagination and willingness of our hearts and hands.  Love you xo

The Legend of ‘She Who Watches’ as told by Ed Edmo:


Melissa Bees Welcomes Cascade Mountain School -Farm to Table Bike Camp- to the Garden for Hive Medicine July 12th!

Screen Shot 2013-06-26 at 6.03.52 PMSee the Garden for Hive Medicine Here




Talk to Your Neighbor About Pesticides and Herbicides

women-talking-at-fenceOne of my earliest memories is of my mother talking with Helen, our next door neighbor, over the chain link fence that ran between our houses. They were quite fond of one another and enjoyed a quasi mother-daughter relationship; Helen was usually coiffed in a near-beehive of white hair and flowered dress and my mom in a bikini when they met at the fence. ‘Plink…plink…plink’ went the fence as my mother plucked at the morning glory entwining it, matching the staccato rhythms of their point-making over various subjects such as child rearing and the state of education.  In a crescendo of agreement, the plinking of the fence would grow louder and more fervent.  I could tell when mom was talking with Helen, from inside the house even, whenever I heard that fence going.

As a landscape designer and contractor for 22 years, I’ve had many conversations with neighbors over my client’s fences, whether its concerning the location of a property line, what to do with an overgrown hedge, tree, or failing wall or fence between properties.  Sadly, what I witness most are neighbors who are afraid to talk with one other.  Sometimes it appears that I know the neighbors better than the neighbors do!  I encourage conversation between them and I have my mom to thank for setting the example.

Lots of people ask me what to do about the neighbors spraying pesticides and herbicides next door.  They’re concerned for their health and for their bees. I ask myself that too, what’s the best approach? I say the best approach is to say SOMETHING, anything that comes to you.  With bee losses on the rise (click this link or listen to the interview with a 3rd generation beekeeper who is getting out of the biz because of pesticides, below) we can’t afford to not talk with our neighbors when we see them or a landscape company spraying.  The worst thing to do is to remain silent. Here are some ideas.

Download this pamphlet: The Xerces society put together this excellent brochure describing the effects of neonicitonoid pesticides on bees and which home and garden products are injurious to bees.

Offer a gift of honey:  Like the worker bees, you’re only welcome to a hive if you’re bearing gifts.Screen Shot 2013-06-29 at 3.11.25 PM

For starters you can ask and educate: ‘I’m concerned for your health and my own. Can you tell me what it is you’re spraying?’  ‘Commercial beekeepers are getting out of the biz in droves, they’re losing too many hives.’  ‘Here’s some info about products that are harmful to bees.’ Education takes a long time, especially in the age of misinformation.  At least a seed will be planted.

Offer Alternatives: ‘I know of some techniques/products that don’t involve chemicals that I’m happy to show you.’

You can try positive reinforcement.  Whenever I see a person or a landscape company weeding or mulching I stop and get out to shake their hands and say “Great work!  Thanks for taking the time to do that and not spraying.  I did that with a landscape company down the block from me recently and it made the guys happy.

Pick up the phone and call.  One of my beekeeping students lives next to an orchard that is sprayed aerially.  She calls every time she hears a plane in the distance because the orchardist refuses to send a text to her of when he’s spraying so she can close up her hives.

Write a letter. A client of mine, a hospice nurse, wrote this wonderful letter to her HOA, when we nearly gagged on the herbicide fumes coming from the other side of the fence where blackberries had been sprayed by a development company.  I’m really proud of her, because the HOA and development company responded positively and are making changes, thanks to her speaking up:

Thank you (name removed),


I really do not want chemicals around my home as I am very sensitive but more

important, it kills bees and harms all critters and the earth.  The landscape company can weed-whack it just as easy as spray them.   I have seen the effects of pesticides on my hospice patients. Bees are the canaries of this toxic world and we need to pay attention to them.


Toxic chemicals are not the answer and in this day and age.  I’m surprised they’re still being used and especially here in a community like ours where

the actions of one person affect the rest.  It is important to be conscientious and aware of the environment and there are other great ways to deal with the weeds etc. and feel good about it.  Would it be possible for my gardener/landscaper, Melissa Elliott to meet with the board to discuss this?  She is an incredible

resource.  Or, should I talk to the landscape company that does the spraying directly?


This can be a really wonderful opportunity for this community to transition

to a higher level of awareness and health for all.


I do hope you will give this some serious thought,

Thank you so much!

I hope this helps you to get started talking with your neighbors about your concern with pesticides and herbicides!  I thank you, and the bees certainly thank you.

3rd Generation Commercial Beekeeper Calls it Quits








The Q- Royal Jelly in Honey from Chemical and Treatment Free Hives

The Q+label

Hive Medicine

Melissa Bees