Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Ring bed perimeter nearly empty

More and more there is less and less on the bee ring bed perimeter.

The view from the house is much more pleasant, tidy and gives a better view of the tall zins in the back bins.

Click the pic for the full story.

Monday, August 31, 2015


Between Saturday afternoon through Sunday night we got a total of .6" of much needed rain.

Yippee!   I managed to collect 1.5 barrels of rainwater off the garage.  Talk about treasure!

It's really a pittance, though.  Even with the .6" we've only gotten a total of .8" all month.  Pretty toasted around here. Thankfully we've had some pretty cool nights and some very overcast days.  There was a 3-4 day span when it never got more than 60F during the day! Honestly, the house got down to 66F one night and I quickly made sure the furnace wouldn't come on.  Brrr.

Only good side - the grass has gone dormant so I'm not having to mow except every couple of weeks.  Sure has helped my bad elbow get better - not having to pull on the shift stick on the Snapper all the time.

And look, back in the swing bed.  Those transplanted, then trampled down, then regrown Black & Blue salvias are in bloom.  Wow.  I had no idea they were that tough.  Let's see if they can make it over winter.  I'll cut them back later and mulch heavily.

The cukes are making a comeback.  Post on the Veg Page.

Friday, August 28, 2015

HARVEST, veg update & treasure!

Click the pic for the whole post.  

Then - click this next pic for its whole post.

And a kitchen mystery solved!  
Check out the Chef's Page (<= or click here).

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Arbor bed cleanup

Brrrrr.  I say.  Brrrrr!   It was only 49F this morning, deeply overcast with a very chilly breeze.  By noon it was barely 60F and now, at 2:30, it's back to 58F.  You call this August?

Be that as it may, it's certainly a jean'n'sweatshirt day.  Cool.  Overcast. Time to tidy up the arbor bed.  The poor, neglected, suspect arbor bed.  Suspect because every time I clean it up the past couple of years, I am all the while wondering if it's worth the effort.

This year was no different.  I'm thinking hard, now, that something has to change.  

I don't want to totally lose the bed - the arbor needs a home and the bed itself balances the flow of the back lawns.

But does it have to be flowers?  Why not a ring of shrubs?  Maybe some small evergreens?  A hedge?  These things go through my mind as I wrestle with twisted nightshade vines, tree sprouts, wild strawberries, rampant perennial (pestiferous!) geranium.  

Then there are the overgrown and dense Dutch iris and bushels of daffs.  The peonies that I honestly don't care for.  Really.  Is this bed worth it?

I'll have to give some serious consideration over winter, but the thought of the outside ring being a hedge (evergreen or not) with perhaps some color in the middle might be way easier to care for.  Something that's not so much hands on as it's a bed best for viewing, not visiting since it's in bright blasting baking sun all of the day.  

I left most of the henbit as a ground cover.  The landscape fabric path is clear and I cut down lots of iris greens and lily stalks.  At least it looks a little better now.  

It would be really really hard to give up on this bed.  It was the only flower bed I had here for the first 5 years.  When I bought the place it used to be square and further down the hill.  I hand dug it (before I knew about lasagne beds) with a trowel to make it oval - and 'moved' it further up the hill.  This bed is the source of all other beds.  I just have to make it work somehow.  If evergreen or flowering shrubs will do it, or something else.  But this bed - in some form or another - stays.

I do like the hardy white hibiscus blooms in the middle.  Kinda crazy this year because I never got around to roping it to the arbor.  Looks like another trip to the yardwaste depot on Thursday. It's become a regular run these days.  Sure hope we get some rain soon.  We've only had .2" all month.  September doesn't seem to promise any better.  *sigh* 

Oct 2003 - early flower bed with previous owners' plants, mostly daylily


Friday, August 21, 2015

It's all still good

Thought I'd better post to let you know all is not lost here for the bees!

Long shot of back lawn with bee bed purge
Nosiree.  Just because (click for story=>)  purged the 'bee ring' bed perimeter (which even now still sports asters, sweet Joe Pye and caryopteris) and a few other perennials elsewhere, the remaining beds are doing really good bee business.  There is lots of forage for them right now and the native bees (and some honeybees) are everywhere.

Traffic is on the white agastache.

White agastache
The myriad of zin types (Zahara, Cut'n'Come again, State Fair).

The Autumn Joy sedums are coloring up, the short salvias are always busy as are all the dwarf French marigolds.
Fence zins

Bees are happy.  Even a bit punch drunk and loaded with pollen.

Native bees on State Fair
The August Moon hosta is a-buzz as are the phlox and perennial blue salvias.  The cardinal flowers and potted B&B salvias are getting some good action from hummers too.

The zins and catmint and coneflowers are great butterfly attractors and even though I purged all the tall milkweed, there are clumps of orange butterfly weed in the arbor bed that seem to make the monarchs happy.

The close gardens are in full bloom and alive with activity. I expect more honebees when the Autumn Joy sedum bloom.

Close beds - flowers and veg

So see - not to fret.  Melissa Majora will always strive to be a friendly place for bees, butterflies and other pollinators.

Just trying these days not to be so d^mn DEER friendly!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Bee Ring Bed purge

The deer have devasted the bee forage at the sanctuary to the point that any effort to grow any is pointless and disheartening.

So for the past 10 days I've been purging the beds.

I dreaded the work what with my deteriorating ankle and other new and painful ailments that would make digging impossible.

But I hit upon a solution: I used my sawsall to do the heavy lifting, so to speak.

Thanks goodness it's been a dry few weeks, the soil, while hard, is quite crumbly and the saw blade got up the roots.  

45+ plants took half-a-dozen blades, but well worth the price.  I could never have done all this with a shovel.

To see results, click the pic for the rest of the story.

Monday, August 3, 2015

August Veg update

Click pic for full post: