Archive for the ‘Bee-loving flowers’ Category

The potatoes have been weeded and hilled up.  An interesting observation...the two rows on the right were planted a month before the two rows on the left.

The potatoes have been weeded and hilled up.  ‘Survivor*’ garlic is on the left and Meadowfoam is in the background, fenced away from deer, but still accessible to the bees.  I’ll be using 12 foot lengths of 1/2″ PVC to drip water the potato rows.  The seed potatoes were planted at about 9″ distances which match up to the holes drilled into the PVC drip watering system.  *Survivor garlic is garlic that made good sized bulbs even though it got the rust virus.

The first bed of tomatoes has been transplanted from the light stand in the house. We've used the tire method for 30+ years. They will dissipate heat into the evening. The night temps will get down into the mid 40's (7C) even sometimes in the summer, so we've got to tent them.   You might have noticed the wild mustard patch in the background...that started out as a clover patch.  I wanted to grow clover to enhance the soil.  I rigged up this PVC arrangement to hold the deer netting off the expected plants.  I wanted to see the bees visit the clover blossoms in the spring.  Then we experienced a cold snap.  The clover died and the mustard plants germinated from the compost we spread out.  It grows well, but I'll probably have to spade it into the soil before it goes to seed.

The first bed of tomatoes has been transplanted from the light stand in the house. We’ve used the tire method for 30+ years. They will dissipate heat into the evening.
The night temps will get down into the mid 40’s (7C) even sometimes in the summer, so we’ve got to tent them.
You might have noticed the wild mustard patch in the background…that started out as a clover patch. I wanted to grow clover to enhance the soil. I rigged up this PVC arrangement to hold the deer netting off the expected plants. I wanted to see the bees visit the clover blossoms in the spring. Then we experienced a cold snap. The clover died and the mustard plants germinated from the compost we spread out. It grows well, too well.   I’ll probably have to spade it into the soil before it goes to seed.

A closer look at the tomatoes and watering grid.

A closer look at the tomatoes and drip watering grid.  The 1/2″ PVC has been drilled so the water drips out near the plant.  I’ve been using these for over ten years and it works well.

May 4th...The second tomato bed goes in.  You might notice the 'cloddy' soil.  I was soooo tempted to pull out my rototiller to break up the soil, but I resisted.  We've been trying to prove that we can garden without the use of fossil-fuel.  We are trying to reduce our carbon footprint.  So the soil is a bit lumpy and we're hoping the tomato plants don't mind too much.

May 4th…The second tomato bed goes in. You might notice the ‘clumpy’ soil. I was soooo tempted to pull out my rototiller to break up the soil, but I resisted. We’ve been trying to prove that we can garden without the use of fossil-fuel.  So the soil is a bit lumpy and we’re hoping the tomato plants don’t mind too much.

We've been eating lettuce and spinach from this first bed of salad greens for about three weeks.  My wife likes the wild arugula, but it's a bit hot for me.

We’ve been eating lettuce and spinach from this first bed of salad greens for about three weeks. My wife likes the wild arugula, but it’s a bit hot for me.

March 28...Planting the second bed of lettuce, Parel cabbages which were started in the house, purchased broccoli plants and maybe some collard greens.

March 28…Planting the second bed of lettuce, Parel cabbages which were started in the house, purchased broccoli plants and maybe some collard greens.

We've got to protect them from the cabbage moth.

We’ve got to protect them from the cabbage moth.

May 3...Peeking under the cloth to see how the lettuce is doing.

May 3…Peeking under the cloth to see how the lettuce is doing.

We planted the edible pod peas in the greenhouse in February.

We planted the edible pod peas in the greenhouse in February.

...and have been using the pea pods in salads and soups for a good month.

…and have been using the pea pods in salads and soups for a good month.

April 25...Since the deer like to munch on nasturtiums, we've got to protect them.  What better way than to clean out the weeds around an apple tree and plant them there.  These are a new kind that will sport red blossoms.  I hope the bees like them.

April 25…Since the deer like to munch on nasturtiums, we’ve got to protect them. What better way than to clean out the weeds around an apple tree and plant them there. These are a new kind that will sport red blossoms. I hope the bees like them.

May I say something else about Limnanthes  Douglasii Poached Egg Plant (Meadowfoam)?  It wintered over without any kind of frost protection like a tarp or a pile of leaves.  It was tough love for sure because it's in a section of the garden that's in the shade until noon.  This was self seeded from last year's crop.   The Vision Violet Geraniums also wintered over well.  Together they have been attracting the bees in the afternoon hours.

May I say something else about Limnanthes Douglasii Poached Egg Plant (Meadowfoam)? It wintered over without any kind of frost protection like a tarp or a pile of leaves. It was tough love for sure because it’s in a section of the garden that’s in the shade until noon. This was self seeded from last year’s crop which was about 1/4 the size.  (What have I started?)
The Vision Violet Geraniums also wintered over well. Together they have been attracting the bees in the afternoon hours.

May 3...I know, I know, I shouldn't have to transplant borage because it grows 'like a bad weed' around here, but there was an empty spot in the hugelkulture bed after I weeded it and the bees love it so much.  Three spade-fulls and I've got a three more spots to video the bees. :)

May 3…I know, I know, I shouldn’t have to transplant borage because it grows ‘like a bad weed’ around here, but there was an empty spot in the hugelkulture bed after I weeded it and the bees love it so much. Three spade-fulls and I’ve got a three more spots to video the bees. 🙂

This Cardinal Climber is supposed to attract hummingbirds.  We've started it under lights in the house.  My wife is going to donate a couple of plants to try to get it to climb up the echium 'tree.'  I think it'll be fun to see if we can get some birds and bees.

This Cardinal Climber is supposed to attract hummingbirds. We’ve started it under lights in the house. My wife is going to donate a couple of plants to try to get it to climb up the echium ‘tree.’ I think it’ll be fun to see if we can get some birds and bees.

May 3...

May 3…”Reach for the sky,” little Cardinal Climber…

...You will have to if you want to climb this

…You will have to if you want to climb this “Tower of Jewel” echium tree.  It’s 12 ft tall and growing.

I just bought this African Blue Basil.  Jeff, at my favorite nursery, tells me it's a super bee magnet which will blossom all summer.   He knows how to tempt me.

I just bought this African Blue Basil. Jeff, at my favorite nursery, tells me it’s a super bee magnet which will blossom all summer. He knows how to tempt me.

May 5...Because the bees were visiting the moss in the pond so much and because someone mentioned that his Dad used moss for a watering station, I thought I'd try it out.  Who knows, the bees might be getting some kind of essential minerals or properties from it.  I just dug some up, found a plastic container and try to keep it hydrated.  It's the only waterer I've had any success with.

May 5…Because the bees were visiting the moss in the pond so much and because someone on the biobees.com forum mentioned that his grandfather used moss for a watering station, I thought I’d try it out. Who knows, the bees might be getting some kind of essential minerals or properties from it. I just dug some up, found a plastic container and try to keep it hydrated. It’s the only waterer I’ve had any success with.

Time to roll out the

Time to roll out the “Solar Roller.” Things are drying out. This ‘solar panel roller’ can be positioned to catch the early rays of the sun as well as the sunset. I can get about 10-12 hours of sunshine if I’m conscientious about moving it twice a day.

Forgive me if I'm talking about this new bee bed too often.  It's just that we wanted to add more flowers for the bees without taking away space from the veggie garden.  This was the perfect solution...but after adding Walker's Low Nepeta, artichokes, Scabiosa, and red echium, we're already running out of space.

Forgive me if I’m talking about this new bee bed too often. It’s just that we wanted to add more flowers for the bees without taking away space from the veggie garden. This was the perfect solution…but after adding Walker’s Low Nepeta, artichokes, Scabiosa, and red echium, we’re already running out of space.

This started out as a garden video, but there was so much excitement today with two swarms happening and bees (from where?) checking out my new log hive.  I had to include some video below.

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May 3...My wife suggested putting some logs around the new bee-flower bed.  I declined knowing how much work that would be.  Finding some dead trees that were long and straight enough, cutting them to size, and cutting rebar to hold them in place.   As you can see, she talked me into it.  I think it looks good.   Walker's Low Nepeta will go behind the lobelia, then some thyme, artichokes and various other bee-loving plants to flesh it out.

May 3…My wife suggested putting some logs around the new bee-flower echium bed. I declined knowing how much work that would be, finding some dead trees that were long and straight enough, cutting them to size, and hack-sawing rebar to hold them in place.  You can see who won out, but I think it looks good. Walker’s Low Nepeta (a real bee lover) will go behind the lobelia, then some thyme, artichokes, and various other bee-loving plants to flesh it out.  The Tower of Jewels echium has started blooming already.  Three plants (out of 6) made it through two winters.

I started this project about a week ago.  It kept getting bigger and bigger with all the ideas that were percolating.

I started this project about a week ago after we decided to improve the neighborhood around the new Grand Kids Log hive seen in the background.

The transplanted echiums shot up recently, 8 - 10 feet.  I transplanted them in November 2013.

The transplanted echiums shot up recently, 8 – 10 feet. I transplanted six of them in November 2013, but only 3 have wintered through.

April 29...They are starting to bloom already.  I'm looking forward to watching all kinds of bees partake of the nectar and pollen they will provide.  Footnote:  I've asked my son to practice up his guitar version of

April 29…They are starting to bloom already. I’m looking forward to watching all kinds of bees partake of the nectar and pollen they will provide. Footnote: I’ve asked my son to practice up his guitar version of “Stairway to Heaven” to accompany my video of it in full bloom.

We noticed a pile of top soil on our morning walk.  Someone had dumped it up the road from us after they were done rolling out their new turf.  My wife spotted it.

We noticed a pile of top soil on our morning walk. Someone had dumped it up the road from us after they were done rolling out their new turf. My wife spotted it. “Let’s get it.” That we did, the equivalent of four big wheelbarrow loads. Here she is raking out the treasure.  Then she put in Phacelia started from seed, lobelia, and mowed around the bed to ‘spiff it up.’

March 9, 2015...you can see how much it has grown in less than two months.

March 9, 2015…you can see how much it has grown in less than two months.  This was taken before we trimmed the branches in the background for the new log hive.

I started this post out as a garden update, but we’re so happy about this new spot for bee flowers, I wanted to post it first.

July 14, 2015...In the spring, we enlarged this bed and planted some bee-loving plants along with the echium.

July 14, 2015…The Towers of Jewels echium is standing tall in the background.  The other bee plants are filling in nicely.

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5-27-15...Pink Chintz Thyme

5-27-14…Pink Chintz Thyme attracted bees last year

Butterflies like them too.

Butterflies like them too.

June 29, 2014...English Thyme

June 29, 2014…English Thyme

Head first in pink Thyme

Head first in pink Thyme

June 29...English Thyme

June 29…English Thyme

6-4-13...Red Thyme

6-4-13…Growing as a ground cover, this red thyme is hard to see until you bend down close.

Health benefits of thyme…

To finish out the beautiful music of La Tabú, I added some video of this new plant…a type of St. John’s Wort called HyPearls Hypericum.

July 10, 2014...HyPearls Hypericum attracted many bees, usually in the morning hours.

July 10, 2014…HyPearls Hypericum attracted many bees, usually in the morning hours.

You can understand why it's called HyPearls.

You can understand why it’s called HyPearls.

 

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Chuck Barrett is pictured here with his signature orange cake.  Made from scratch, his secret ingredient is Triple sec.  Whenever he is invited to a gathering, he brings his cake and garners rave  reviews.  The ladies in the group are are always impressed with his baking skills.

Chuck Barrett is pictured here with his signature orange cake. Made from scratch, his secret ingredient is Triple sec. Whenever he is invited to a gathering, he brings his cake and garners rave reviews. The ladies in the group are are always impressed with his baking skills.

Inspired by my bee stories, my ninety-one year old father-in-law took pen in hand and wrote “A Busy Bee Song.”  Setting the words to a simple tune he composed, he hoped to inspire children to learn about and respect the honeybees.

Judy Rhodes

Judy Rhodes

He asked Judy Rhodes, a local singer in his home town of Phoenix, Arizona, to sing his song.  Judy performs with a small group, “Up the Road and Around the Bend,” who sing for folks in retirement homes around the Phoenix area.  He copyrighted his words and music to make it officially his own.

Chuck Barrett is truly an inspiration.  He leads an exercise group three days a week at his local YW.  His enthusiasm is contagious and people join in, some in wheelchairs, some with walkers with bingo in the next room as his fierce competition.

I set videos and photos of my bees to Chuck’s song, and we hope you will enjoy our efforts to bring awareness to the honeybees story.

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This bee has been busy.  She's already got a load of willow pollen.

This honeybee has been busy. She’s already got a load of willow pollen.

February 19...bees enjoy the willow blossoms along with robber flies and other pollinators.

February 19…bees enjoy the willow blossoms along with robber flies and other pollinators.

A blurry look at a robber fly high in the Hooker Willow.

A blurry look at a robber fly high in the Hooker Willow.  See Michael Marlow’s comment below.  “Hi Pat, just an fyi, those flies in your photos do not look like robber flies, but rather hover flies (family Syrphidae).”

Another robber fly on a plum blossom.

Another robber fly on a plum blossom.  See Michael Marlow’s comment below.

I'm not sure what kind of bee this is.

I’m not sure what kind of bee this is.

A gorgeous blue sky warm day...while the East Coast is getting hammered with snow storms.

A gorgeous blue sky warm day…while the East Coast is getting battered with snow storms.

A look inside the little birdhouse bee hive with willow pollen being carried in. This little bee hive is doing well despite being in a small space in the winter shade.  I've got to keep the swarm if I can...it's got good genetics.

A look inside the little birdhouse bee hive with willow pollen being carried in.
This little bee hive is doing well despite being in a small space in the winter shade. I’ve got to keep the swarm if I can…it’s got good genetics.

Of course, the other hives are enjoying the willows too.  Here Bee Beard has bees swaggering in with their bags of pollen.

Of course, the other hives are enjoying the willows too. Here Bee Beard has bees swaggering in with their bags of pollen.  There’s something going on in the background.  I can’t figure out what the bees are doing, but if you look at the video, see if you can tell what they’re doing.

Not to be outdone, Bee-atrice's bees have been busy too.  A bee can be seen fanning at the entrance.

Not to be outdone, Bee-atrice’s bees have been busy too, with a bee fanning at the entrance.

February 24...I visited Brian Vorwaller today.  I just wanted to see the log standing upright.  He thinks he can start on it next week.

February 24…I visited Brian Vorwaller today. I just wanted to see the log standing upright. He thinks he can start on it next week.

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Since mid November this giant Oregon Grape Holly, (mahonia aquifolium) has been blooming and it's likely to keep blooming into January the way the weather has been.  Most people can't believe it, but I'm happy to see so many of my bees getting nourishment from it.  How do I know they're mine?  I'm sure I recognized them. :)

Since mid November this giant Oregon Grape Holly, (mahonia aquifolium) has been blooming and it’s likely to keep blooming into January the way the weather has been. Most people can’t believe it, but I’m happy to see so many of my bees getting nourishment from it. How do I know they’re mine? I’m sure I recognized them. 🙂

 

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November 5, 2014...On an unusually warm November day, I spotted these hebes growing in front of Bill Sweet Insurance Agency.  The bees were loving it.

November 5, 2014…On an unusually warm November day, I spotted these hebes growing in front of Bill Sweet Insurance Agency. The bees were loving it.  Thanks, Bill.

While the east coast is getting hammered by the polar vortex cold weather, the west coast is enjoying warm sunny days into early November. At this time of year there are very few sources of nectar, so it’s good that the honeybees are getting  a lot from the hebes.  Nectar provides an important energy source (carbohydrate) for the bees.

Many thanks to Steve Montana who has let me use his musical talents as background to the video.  “GaelaMae On The Bluffs” was written by Steve and the banjo music was written by Buell Kasey back in the late 1800’s.  Watch Steve Montana play banjo at the beginning of Sustainable World.  Click on “Soldier’s Joy.”

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Many thanks to Steve Montana for permission to use his music.

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If you want to grow some very colorful flowers that will bloom in September, try these Arizona Suns.

If you want to grow some very colorful flowers that will bloom in September and October, try the Arizona Sun Gallardia.

Watch the crafty crab spider emerge from below the curled petals bottom right.  I’m wondering if the honeybee saw the spider.  It almost looked like it was ‘daring’ the spider to come after it.  I’ve seen enough honeybees that were trapped in the crab spider’s grip to know it’s foolish to tempt fate, but this one got away.

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We planted fennel this year to attract bees and butterflies.  We never saw the butterflies, but we spotted the caterpillars and later on the bees.

August 22, 2014...we started seeing caterpillars on the fennel.

August 22, 2014…we started seeing caterpillars on the fennel.

Caterpillars are voracious eaters.  Michael Marlow has an up close video of one eating a stem.  It doesn't waste any time.  I started noticing my fennel branches were getting bare, then I saw the caterpillars.

Caterpillars are voracious eaters. Michael Marlow has an up close video of one eating a stem. It doesn’t waste any time. I started noticing my fennel branches were getting bare, then I saw the caterpillars.

This is could be one of the earlier stages of growth.  More information about the many stages

This is could be one of the earlier stages of growth. The life cycle of the Black Swallowtail Butterflies can be found here.

Fennel can grow quite tall.  This one is at least 7 ft. tall.

Fennel can grow quite tall. This one is at least 7 ft. tall.  I wonder if the chrysalis will be hidden in the undergrowth.

The honeybees have been visiting the fennel since early September.

The honeybees have been visiting the fennel since early September.  I don’t know what the insect at the top is, but it’s very colorful.  My wife thinks its a Great Golden Digger Wasp.

This shows the color of gathered pollen.

I’m happy the bees like fennel too.

The parsley muncher

October 8...more caterpillars seen last week and today.  I hope to see many Swallowtail butterflies next spring.

October 8…more caterpillars seen last week and today. I hope to see many Swallowtail butterflies next spring.

 

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