Thursday, April 26, 2012

Phew! It's a garden!

Long hours and late nights....   Here's some photos of my garden entry "Simple | Modern | Tranquil"  Tonight we had the awards ceremony, we placed third.

hope you can all come, exhibit is open until Sunday night.  Southern California Garden Show


Tuesday, April 24, 2012


I guess it's time to come clean.  When I started this blog I wanted it to be about my garden and about my personal experiences as a gardener.  What I have not written about is the fact that I am a garden designer (Second Nature Garden Design).  This week I am participating in the Southern California Garden Show at South Coast Plaza, so it seems appropriate to share.  And I though you all might like to see the exhibit. Below is the rendering I submitted to enter the contest.  Of course there will be tweaks and changes so you'll have to come and see what the real thing looks.  Hope you can all make it.  Show opens Thursday.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Bee-ing organized

I can't resist puns. I'm sure in time scientists will find that it's a faulty gene.  You'll be hearing lots of bee jokes. Just a fair warning.

This morning I was a very industrious person, I got up early and finally finished the enclosure for the apiary.  Now I have a lockable gate to keep the hordes away.

While I was in there working like a busy bee, I decided I could get organized.  I noticed when we first took the hive apart for inspection that I had no place to put the frames of comb aside without pressing into the bees. This did not kill bees but it was also not an ideal situation. So, I set up a wall where I can hang several frames at once, where the bees can move freely. Then I decided to take an old piece of plywood and turn it into a small work surface.

here is the result:

the model for the organized urban beekeeper, comb observation center, work surface and extra supers.  What more could you want?!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Progress in the backyard

Finally, finally, finally the water feature the dining area is completed... I hope.  I had my buddies assemble the block, and stucco in the inside a couple weeks ago. But for months I had the block sitting in position. Originally I wanted to see if I liked the way it looked with the deconstructed industrial-ish screen, and I did.  But there it sat. And friends would ask, "is that a coffin?".  Great start to a project eh? A few days ago I at long last purchased the black waterproofing need to really finish the pond, and applied it according to the manufacturer's directions. I hope it works. At least tonight in the afternoon light it all looked so great.  I can't wait to see the stars reflected in its surface.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

They call it mellow yellow...

This morning I was surprised to wake to overcast skies.  Some people hate these days, but I love them. I love the way it feels like morning all day long, even if it isn't good for telling time.  And I love the way softer colors pop under gray skies.

Here in my nascent "Golden Garden",  Achillea 'Moonshine' is really standing out as the doer and the champ that it is.  Being a hybrid it shows true hybrid vigor, I've seen it blooming at all months of teh year in So. Cal.  Silver foliage is another reason to choose this cultivar over A. millefolium. You may also be pleased that it is clumping, not spreading. And... the individual flower clusters last a very long time!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Snap shot: Fine spring day

                                                        The weather was perfect today! :)

Sunday, April 15, 2012


Well, I have once again been bad and neglected the blog. Sorry about that.  I have been very busy though.  And I wanted to share with you my first beehive. Below are the photos taken today.  This is just after two weeks time from the initial installation of the bee package. We brought a pure European queen and intend on keeping the hive free of African genetics, which is of course a concern in our area. My buddy Geoffrey (partner in bee crime) took these excellent photos.  Enjoy!

Here you see the purchased foundation (wax sheet) and thicker comb that bees did more or less freeform 

Here I'm examining comb that is mostly honey

These cells are stores for a great variety of local pollens

Holding the frame to the sun allows me to see the comb very clearly

We left too much space between frames initially and the bees made this big comb by attaching it to the lid of the hive, it fell off when I opened the hive.  

Same large section of comb that is not attached to a frame.  You can see honey and capped brood cells!

Same comb, upper section close-up, lots of yummy honey.  I later wired this comb into a frame. Conform damn it!

another frame

Here I'm gently brushing the bees away from the comb.  Notice the centrally located brood cells.  We have a good queen!

Capped and uncapped brood cells

This frame has from top to bottom: uncapped honey, pollen stores and empty drawn out comb

Here she is, the queen has a gold mark on her back.  Even though I have set this frame aside she doesn't stop laying for a second.

More queen action

Here some spilled honey is being conserved (gobbled up) by this worker. Geoffrey and I had a little taste. You could tell the honey wasn't quite ready but it was delicious and decidedly HONEY!


Golden goodness

Another nice close-up. Did I mention how proud we are of our girls?!