Archive for the ‘Bee-loving flowers’ Category

2A Johann's Three Echiums

June 6, 2018…..I can’t say if these echiums are “Towers of Jewels” or “echium Pininana,” but I’m quite sure they came from the seeds of my original single plant purchased from my favorite nursery in October of 2013.  They called it a “Tower of Jewels.”  “Your bees will love it.”  They were right.

A couple of years ago, Johann, one of our young neighbors, wanted to start a garden.  My wife and I grow many bee-loving flowers and donated a couple of little echium starts to him for as you may know, once an echium decides to bloom, it will attract the pollinators and start many little seedlings.

On one of our daily walks last month, Johann flags us down,   “You know those plants you gave me?  They grew real tall.”  He pointed them out and I could see the tops of them from the backyard.  I haven’t made any videos for a long while and asked if I could shoot one.  Then I remembered that he was a musician…maybe he could provide some music.  This is the collaboration along with some scenes from around the neighborhood.

 

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5455 Poppies, 6-1-17

Poppies are open.

5494 Painted Lady on D.Ninebark, 6-5-17

A Painted Lady adorns a Diablo Ninebark.

5321 Three pink echium towers, 5-22-17.JPG++++

Three pink echium spires made it through the winter.

Scabiosa

Scabiosa (Pin Cushion Flower) is ready to entertain bees and butterflies.

5698 First Gazania, 6-18-17

Mid June, the first Gazania, grown from seed, finally opens up.

5778 Oranges and blues, 6-23-17

Buttons and poppies.

5759 Sue's CA poppies, 6-23-17

More California Poppies

5625 Carmen poses, 6-13-17

Carmen poses on the comfortably warm metal table. (Might be time for a catnap)

5730 Sue plants 3rd set of cabbages, 6-18-17JPG

Sue plants 3rd set of cabbages.

5586 Mustard still flowering, Warré hive, 6-10-17

We let these mustard greens flower for the bees. They will come out in another week or so.

5456 Mulched potato vines today, 6-1-17

Potatoes are looking good.

5738 Solar oven, beans done, 6-18-17

A hot day calls for some solar baked beans. My favorite recipe is white beans with Fakin-Bakin Tempeh, and mustard greens.

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5314 Lupines, 5-22-17.JPG++++

May 22, 2017…Lupines, planted from seed last year are bringing in the bees.

When I saw all the bees on the Lupines I got out the camera.  I noticed the bees would land on the bottom petals (referred to as ‘wings or sails,’).  They would separate and what looked like a spike (referred to as a ‘keel’) would rise up.  When the bee lifted off, the petals (wings) snapped shut over the keel.  I had to find out more, so I consulted with Darcy Grahek of “Go Native Nursery,” at Bandon High School.  Darcy said that the stigma (female parts) AND the anthers (male parts) are contained within the keel.

5436A Bee lifts off Lupine flower after pollination copy

May 30…Bee lifts off lupine blossom after rubbing it’s body on the ‘keel.’ Petals (or ‘wings’) will close over keel. Watching the video, you’ll see the stigma poking up through the tip of the keel after the bee lifts off.

 

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By rubbing it’s body on the keel, the bee pollinates the flower when the anthers touch the stigma and the bee picks up pollen. For a more detailed explanation scroll to lupin in Sexual Reproduction in Plants, by Johny Thomas.

5522 Lupine "Keel", 6-10-17.JPG++++

The ‘keel’

5578A Lupine, inside the "Keel", 6-10-17.JPG++++ copy

I pulled off the outside petals (referred to as sails or wings) of the keel, revealing the pollination parts of the flower. The female part is the stigma (longer). The male parts are the anthers which can be seen atop the (shorter) filaments. When the bee rubs it’s abdomen against the keel, the pollen on the anthers comes in contact with the stigma and pollination occurs while the bee is rewarded with grains of pollen. Win-win.

The Bird’s Foot Trefoil uses a similar type of pollination.

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Many thanks to Gerard van Duinen of La Tabù, for giving me permission to use his delightful composition, Hijo #1, in the video.

 

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4999 Turnip cover crop blooming, 4-21-17 copy

April 21…The turnips are blooming.  Why is that important?  Because the bees are getting the pollen.  Pollen that is high in protein, with all the essential amino acids, and is highly digestible.  Last October, we planted the turnips as a cover crop and intended the blossoms to mature early in spring, but we didn’t realize that the pollen was so nourishing.  Apparently, the bees do well on it, so well it can lead to swarming.  I just hope I can capture the swarm.

5003 Bee pollinating turnip flowers, 4-21-17.JPG+++

Pollen sacs full. (A lucky shot with an iPhone)

5001 Turnip flower bee,.JPG++++

4966 Pat's Warre Hive, bees outside, 4-18-17.JPG

For several days (when it’s not raining) the bees have appeared on the front of the hive.  I think they’re waiting for a sunny day.  “Be patient, little critters, good weather is coming soon.”

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It might not be pretty…

1-warre-hive-protection-2016-2017-2-23-17-copy

…but it’s pretty effective. This is my Warré hive winter protection from high winds driving copious amounts of rain against my hive. Since October, we have gotten 66.5 inches of rainfall (1689 mm).

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A look through the observation window in December shows lots of natural honey comb.

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I think this bright yellow pollen is from the Hooker Willow which thrives in soggy wet soil along The Oregon Coast.

I’ve been somewhat afraid to write about my bees.  They seem to be doing fine with my efforts to protect them, but I didn’t want to jinx them.  This is the end of February.  The Hooker Willow has started flowering and bees are returning with bright yellow pollen, so I think they will make it.  Also the gorse (Ulex europeaus) is blooming as it always does in February.  The video shows bees on both.

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…and the bees love it too.

4106-mostly-turnips-as-cover-crop-10-6-16

Want to grow spinach? We have been wildly unsuccessful in growing it, but guess what…steamed turnip greens taste just like spinach. It turns out they are very easy to grow and are good for you too. This was supposed to be a mixture of several cover crop seeds, Fava beans, Winter Rye, and Hairy Vetch included. It looks like the turnips took over. Uh, I might have broadcast them a little thick. My “solar-roller water pump panel” is positioned for the afternoon sun. Gotta keep the flow going. 🙂

honeybee-on-turnip-blossom-jan-16-2014

Turnip flowers in January provide nourishment for bees in the critical winter months.

4108-turnips-planted-a-month-ago-10-6-16

October 8…This bed was planted August 1. Turnips grow fast. Plant them thick, then you can harvest the thinnings by steaming the greens.  Leave a few to go to flowers in winter.

4110-short-bed-of-turnips-10-6-16

We’ve been getting three crops a year in our raised beds. This was lettuce last winter, then kale, now turnips. In between we bury crab shell when we can get it. This being October, that resource will soon be gone.

4120-one-of-5-turnips-used-for-turnip-soup-10-10-16

Oct. 10…My sweetheart made a delicious turnip soup for dinner this evening. These turnips were planted in early August. They grow fast!!!

4116-planted-more-turnips-yesterday-10-8-16

Oct. 8…just in case we haven’t planted enough turnips, here is another bed started…complete with drip water grid.

4132a-turnips-growing-well-rain-cloth-10-15-16-smlr

Oct. 15…Turnips are up already. The shade cloth is to protect the little darlings from the hurricane force winds and 12-18 inches (300-450mm) of rain that was forecast…didn’t happen, at least, not yet.

Turnip soup recipe

Chop an onion, saute in olive oil, add 4 to 5 cups of peeled chopped turnips, two garlic cloves (peeled and cut in half), add two teaspoons of smoked paprika, and teaspoon of thyme  leaves.  Cook until lightly brown, add three cups of vegetable or chicken broth, salt to taste.  Bring to boil and simmer until veggies are cooked.  Blend in blender, return to pan, add a cup of milk, or milk alternative.

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The bees have been busy and so have we.   Gerard Van Duinen of La Tabú (The Hague) graciously let us use his Tango music.

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