Primer for Planning a Garden for Pollinators
Pink Viola

Primer for Planning a Garden for Pollinators

Although still officially winter, pollinators are already emerging from their winter havens. What will they eat? Here's what's blooming in my garden & pointers on planning a garden for pollinators.

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The Return of the Bees and the Dreaded Dearth
Bee on hollyhock

The Return of the Bees and the Dreaded Dearth

The bees have returned! Yay! Here’s the whole story. And with them, responsibility. Do they have enough food? Nectar is suddenly scarce when the fruits are fruiting and the flowers are done blooming. The dreaded dearth can hit a hive harder than winter. What can you plant to ensure they make it through late summer? In this post, I list the main bee plants that we have growing right now, including the bees' favorites.

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Spring Equinox – a Discovery of Miracles!

It is, at long last, the Spring Equinox. I love this time of year when each new bud is a discovery.

Cornelian and Nanking cherries, forsythia, daffodils, nettles and purple deadnettles, the first dandelions... The first buds of the new season are such an inspiration! Everywhere you turn is another miracle...another bit of magic. This is a somewhat wandering philosophical post, but full of pictures and a quick read.

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Crocus, Frogs, and Bees! Oh My!

LOVE the "firsts" that happen in January! First crocus, alder catkins, croaking frogs! This warm weather has brought out the bees, and they are returning with pollen! And look! The garlic shoots are up! Farewell January. Bring on Spring!

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Bee Swarm Saga

This is a true tale of honeybee determination, courage, against-all-odds survival, instinct over reason, fate, and loyalty to the point of willing to give up one’s own life for the protection of one’s brethren. Also a few of my thoughts on bee intelligence.

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Earth Day: Plant Something for the Bees!

Whether you recycle, upcycle, bicycle, reduce your footprint, make a footprint, go for a simple walk, plant a tree - so much we can do to celebrate Earth Day! My advice, if nothing else, plant a seed! Take care of our bees and they will help feed the world!

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Early Spring Blooms to Welcome the Bees

Do you keep a record of what is bloom throughout the year? Since we started keeping bees, I have become much more aware of what is blooming when - particularly during those months on either end of the warm season, when the weather is unsettled and food for them can be scarce. Here is my current list.

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Favorite Garden Photos of 2013

The problem with getting a new camera for Christmas in 2012 was trying to sort through over 1000 garden photos! I see I am attracted to symmetry, contrast, and bees! Here are a few of my favorite shots, that STILL can't begin to capture the beauty and perfection of Mother Nature!

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Building an Insect Hotel
The finished insect hotel in a sunny spot at the edge of Barbolian Fields.

Building an Insect Hotel

Honeybees have their cozy hive, but what about all the other pollinators out there? Where will they overwinter? Upcycle your junk into an Insect Hotel! As crazy & elaborate as you make it. Very fun educational craft for kids, too.

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Let’s Do a Bee Walk

For Farm Tour Day, my friend, Sid, who runs Annie's Flower Farm, asked me to do a "Bee Walk." What is that? Something you make up as you go! We took a stroll through the gardens and kept a close eye out for honeybees, native pollinators, and even frogs. And why do some bees like some flowers and other pollinators prefer something different? And what can they tell us about how much we need one another?

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What’s to Eat?

Late summer can be a time of dearth, which can spell death for the bees. Most plants are producing fruit or seed. What is blooming now that provides nectar and pollen? And do your bees have access to water?

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A Gentle Way to Install a Swarm

We were loading up a humongous potato salad for a Mother's Day feast when what's this? ANOTHER bee swarm! Our swarm boxes made this swarm catch & installation so incredibly easy and gentle. No chaotic frenzy! When it comes to bees, I like that!

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The Morning After….

Ok. Mass chaos yesterday in catching the swarm that was wrapped around a steel fencepost & in installing them in a new Warre Hive, but at least they are in there. But what's this? ANOTHER swarm in the garden? NOW what?? Read More...

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The Bee Saga Continues

…The bee saga continues…. Where did the swarm on the cedar go - in the bait box in the tree or in the hive on the ground? And what's this? MORE excitement the morning after? Adventures in backyard beekeeping...

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Swarm Alert!

We noticed the little cedar tree over by the beehives looked a bit odd yesterday - and as we got closer, we realized, Holey Moley! a swarm of bees was almost completely covering it! Now for the hard part: how to persuade them to move into our hive!

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Avoiding Shaken Bee Syndrome

Does anyone else out there see the utter impossibility of shaking 15,000 bees through a small hole in the center of a box DOWN into another box without them all just flying UP into your face??? There has to be a gentler way. In my attempt to avoid Shaken Bee Syndrome, I managed to completely botch this bee installation. Learn from me and avoid. Or follow. The choice is yours.

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Happy Day – Rodent or Otherwise

What? Looking for shadows to predict weather? I'd say the bees are better indicators! As well as the snow geese, the pussy willows, and the Cornelian cherry…not hard to find things that say Life is Good! Happy Groundhog Day!

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December Bees

A sunny day in early December and the bees are out! Hooray! And even more amazing - they are finding pollen! But where? Should I feed them? Are they ready for winter?

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Food Forest Beginnings and Fall Tasks in the Orchard

Grass, to me, is Orchard Enemy #1. I talk about how to get rid of it, how to turn an orchard into a food forest, and what to do to get your orchard ready for winter, thanks to tips from Michael Phillips' book, The Holistic Orchard.

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Warre Beehive Update: Save the Queen!

A heroic effort on my part, as well as by the bees. We all had the same mission, really, to Save the Queen - we just had slightly different approaches, being as I was perceived as a smoke-breathing giant intent on raiding their hive!

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Let ‘er Bee Free!

Do you install bees? Dump them? Pour them? Knock them in? Release them? And what happens when you let loose 15,000 (or so) bees? Here's how it went down, folks. Happy Earth Day!

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Warre Hives Set Up at Barbolian Fields

A video and some close-up pictures on the Warre hives we built. If you are looking for something simple, inexpensive, and something that naturally lets the bees do what they instinctively do - this is it!

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Bee Ready – Ain’t Mis-bee-havin’!

Happy Earth Day! In celebration, we are releasing somewhere around 20,000 bees into their new home, a Warre Hive situated on the back side of Barbolian Field. Here are a few videos to show you how we are getting ready for this big event (and conquering a few fears in the process!)

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