Posts Tagged ‘bee-loving flowers’

I love the May garden. Everything is so lush and and green.

3002 Garden looking SW, 5-8-16JPG

May 8…Looking over the garden to the southwest, Sue’s foxgloves (grown from seeds) provide the foreground colors, the volunteer Tower of Jewels (or echium Pininana) to the left, yellow turnip and kale flowers all attract the bees.

3007 Potatoes, peas, cultivator, 5-8-16

The potatoes are up.  I just tilled between the rows with the little cultivator below.

3009 Cultivator, 5-8-16

For several years, we tried to garden without using fossil fuel. We prided ourselves on the ability to spade the garden and then hoe out the weeds. But now we’re several years older. Last month when we were faced with the task of planting potatoes, my wife says, “Let’s get the old Troy-Bilt tiller out.” Yes, it started on the second pull, but it also is waaaay too big for the raised beds. Reverse doesn’t work on it anymore and plus…it uses fossil fuel!!! Enter the battery-powered Greenworks cultivator. It’s easy to use, works well in the raised beds, and USES NO FOSSIL FUELS!

2988 Peas growing outside, first time 20 yrs, 5-6-16

Peas planted outside…first time in about 25 years (because of the deer fence.)  I added a couple of rows of carrots in the middle after I tilled it one more time.

3005 Buckwheat, tomatoes, peas+carrots, potatoes, 5-8-16

Buckwheat is growing well, tomatoes need cages, peas and carrots, potatoes in far back.

2931 Sue plants corn, 5-2-16

May 2…..Sue plants some corn.

2941 Sue plants lettuce, 5-3-16

…and a second batch of lettuce.

2998 Tall lobelia transp. 5-8-16

Just for the fun of it, we bought some giant lobelia (Lobelia fistulosa) for the hummingbirds and bees. A daisy to the left and the Knockout dahlia in the center back. The dahlia has flowers that attract leaf cutter bees (at 1:18)  It’s fun to watch the leaf cutters in action.

3036 Creative drip watering, 5-10-16

II had to get creative with the drip water grid for the squash. I’ve been accused of planting the squash too close together in years past. This time, there are only 5 hills here, where I’ve planted 10 or more hills before. The idea is we will get more if we don’t crowd them. I left the turnip flowers for the bees (and for next year’s seeds)

3034 Drip watering Hubbard, 5-10-16JPG

Drip watering gets the water to the customer without wasting any.

3032 Drip watering squash, 5-10-16

Another look at it…I think these are Sugar Pie Pumpkins.

2944 Hubbard near, pumpkins far, 5-3-16

There’s never enough room for squash. We are trying some ‘container squash’ this year. It’ll trail down over the stump grinding experiment.

3023 Squash barrels, 5-10-16

These squash are up against the fence for a reason. They get the morning and afternoon sun. We might try using the fence to trellis them. The upside…more squash. The downside, I’ve got to water by hand unless I figure out a drip water solution.

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2779 Andrea's swarm, view, 4-16-16 copy

April 16…Andrea called to let us know she had a newly formed swarm, hanging about chest high off the yellow plum tree…did we want it? “ABSOLUTELY!”

2780A Shaking swarm into bucket, 4-16-16 copy

It was pretty easy to ‘pop’ the bees into the bucket…

2802A Brown Warré, 4-19-16 copy

…and into a Warré hive. Back to having bees again. Thank you, Andrea Gatov!

2756 Echium against blue sky, 4-15-16

I’ve been protecting this echium plant for two years. It has finally paid off with these bluish-red blossoms. Just in time for the bees. I think this is Wild Prettii echium.

2804A Bee near Echium, 4-19-16 copy

The day after we hived Andrea’s swarm, the bees were all over this shapely echium plant.

2804B Bee on Wild Prettii, 4-19-16 copy

One of our new guests partakes of the nectar.

2757A Bumblebees like it too copy

Yellow-faced bumblebees like it too.

2833 Turnip flowers, 4-21-16

Turnip flowers collect bees.  Is that a ‘hat’ on Bee Beard Log Hive???

22A Turnip flowers, 4-21,16 copy

April 21…Close-up on turnip flowers.

 

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I could have shot a bunch of stills of these bees pollinating flowers, but the video together with the music conveys so much more.

I hope you especially enjoy the leaf cutter bees demonstrating their petal cutting abilities and the crab spider attacking the honeybee…and missing!  Hooray!

I shot some more video today (August 7) to show that the bees are still going strong on the African Blue Basil in August.  It’s good to have something for them after the main nectar flow of blackberries.  Jeff Kerker says that the African Blue Basil will produce flowers all summer.

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The new Echium Bee Bed is filling in well.  From the lobelia in the front to the tallest Tower of Jewels echium plant, they all attract bees.

The new Echium Bee Bed is filling in well. From the colorful lobelia in front to the tallest Tower of Jewels echium plant, they all attract bees.

July 3...Hugelkulture bed is looking so much better since we weeded, planted, and mulched with compost and wood chips.

July 3…The Hugelkulture bed is looking so much better since we weeded, planted, and mulched with compost and wood chips.

A view from our garden bench in July reveals the garden in full glory.

A view from our garden bench in July reveals the garden in full glory.

July 3...The dwarf sunflowers are open and attracting bees already.  It's older siblings can only watch with envy.

July 3…The dwarf sunflowers are open and attracting bees already. It’s older siblings can only watch with envy.

This deer seems to be asking me the question...

This deer seems to be asking me the question…”What are you doing out here at this time in the evening, this is MY time?”  In the video you’ll see why she looked up…she picked up the sound of the camera’s zoom lens.  Their hearing is phenomenal, but luckily their eyesight isn’t that good.  I’m standing in the sunlight just a short distance away, but she can’t see me very well.

Arrrgh!  Deer damage!

Arrrgh! Deer damage!

I'm not sure if there's any reason to net what's left of these potatoes.  They have been stripped of their leaves by the 'cute' deer. :(

I’m not sure if there’s any reason to net what’s left of these potatoes. They have been stripped of their leaves by the ‘cute’ deer. 😦

I mulched this corn in the morning...by the afternoon, the deer had already sampled it.  A temporary fence is now in place to protect it...I hope it recovers.

I mulched this corn in the morning…by the afternoon, the deer had already sampled it. A temporary fence is now in place to protect it…I hope it recovers.

This tomato's only crime was to be planted at the end of the bed where the deer could reach it easily.

This tomato’s only crime was to be planted at the end of the bed where the deer could reach it easily.

Planted from seed last year, these Hollyhocks have survived the deer twice.   We're so happy to finally see the blooms, but we've yet to see the bees on them.

Planted from seed last year, these Hollyhocks have survived the deer twice. We’re so happy to finally see the blooms, but we’ve yet to see any bees on them.

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A frame from the video shows the bee covered with purple pollen.

A frame from the video shows the bee covered with purple pollen.

This bee fell from the poppy which was wet from the sprinkler.  I spotted it here before it took off.

This bee fell from the poppy which was wet from the sprinkler. I spotted it here before it took off.

June 19...Unidentified street performers provide the perfect background music for the bee gathering poppy pollen video.

June 19…Unidentified street performers provide the perfect background music for the bee gathering poppy pollen video.

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This is far from National Geographic video quality, but it does show the intimate relationship between the bee and the flower.  The bee lands on the flower petals, spreads out the lower ones, then triggers the pollen release possibly by pushing something with it’s head…I couldn’t see that part, but when it happens, it’s sudden and strong, like an explosion.

I sooo wanted to see a bee on this variegated Scotch Broom blossom but I never saw one.  You can tell that a bee has been there though, because the stamen have popped up.

May 3…Here’s a pretty variegated Scotch Broom (Cytisus scoparius).   You can tell that a bee has been there , because the stamen have already popped up.

Pollen Alert...bee triggers pollen shower, stamen pop up and rub her back.

Pollen Alert…bee has triggered a pollen shower, stamen pop up and rub anthers on her back.

This bee knows what she's doing as can be seen by the amount of pollen covering her body.

This bee has learned well how to trigger the pollen release as can be seen by the amount of pollen on herself.

I shot this video to show what our bees are doing when they leave the hive.  It may surprise you. 🙂

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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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