Sunday, May 13, 2012

B Side

Hey there.

The reason I title this post B side, is that I finally got around to labeling the frames. I put a number on top and a number and A or B on the sides of the frames. In this way the progress of each frame can be monitored without confusing them.

Well, I was super eager to get into the hive today. I've been waiting/hoping for the hive to sort itself out.  Things were going great for the first two weeks then things seemed to not be going not so well...  The workers were making queens which isn't good.  Anyway, I was relieved today to see that they had not started another queen cell.  Other positive signs were present, for one the hive seemed more vigorous if a bit defensive.  There were, or so it seemed, a lot more workers in the hive, and the more bees there are the more work can be done.  Upon close examination I could see that the majority of the cells in the brood frames had eggs or larva in the open cells. I also noticed that she had laid eggs more to the edges of some of the brood frames, so in general it appears that she is laying more.  By the looks of it the queen is really in gear now.

All in all it seems like the hive is sorting itself out and it won't be too long before we are putting the first deep super on the hive.

Here are this week's pics:

by the numbers

does this bee suit make me look fat? LOL

4 B

can you spot the eggs, or the emerging worker bee?

funky frame was moved position and they turned this from brood comb to honeycomb 


capped and uncapped brood

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Bees update

It's bee-n over a month since we installed the bee package. And when I first wrote about the bees, I thought that everything was hunky dory.  But shortly after the second week I noticed a big drop in activity in the hive as well as many dead bees just in front of the hive. Thankfully my bee mentor Rob came by to take a look. By then it had been a month and all sorts of bee drama was brewing!

When we opened the hive right away we noticed queen cells. this is not what you would want or expect to see with a young colony.  And it seemed like one of the cells was already empty. We thought is this why there seem to be fewer bees?? Then as we inspected the hive I (the novice) spotted a second queen! We think she must have emerged that very day.  We also noticed a bunch of drone cells that were maturing.  Rob also thought that the brood was not evenly laid. Maybe we don't have such a good queen after all....

The following weekend Rob dropped by again to take a look.  Unfortunately we found yet another queen cell in the works. We cut it out to stop them from rearing another queen, possibly for the young queen to take over the one we just installed. Perhaps the workers know something we don't?

In any case the hive seemed more vigorous and there were young worker bees emerging as we inspected the hive.  Hopefully they will soon join the ranks and begin to get this hive in order.

Today the hive was very active and I'm not sure why. hopefully it is vigor and not robbing or some other bizarre behavior I'm unaware of.

Below are some shots from last Sunday

honey and bee bread

the comb that I forced into a frame


brood frame

can you spot the drone?

can you spot the queen?

Garden tour and many thanks

I just wanted to say thinks to everyone who braved the parking to come to this weekend's charity garden tour. We raised over $300 bucks for charity, which I feel is respectable since there were 40 + other gardens for people to leave their money.

How lovely it was to see old friends and new faces enjoying my garden! It was a surprise to see the cottage garden set obviously enjoying my crazy garden.

Thanks again to everyone!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Mary Lou's tour (come see my garden for yourself)

Many of you out there in Orange County and Long Beach and elsewhere fondly remember a little nursery called Heard's Country Gardens. Tucked away in an odd quasi industrial area of Westminster sat a nursery that was the brainchild of Mary Lou Heard.  Filled with rare perennials, it captured the hearts of gardeners in the area.

Once when I was 15 or 16 years old I went to Heard's with my grandma to pick out some herbs.  I was visiting from Northern California and loved to see the variety of plants that the nursery had to offer.  There were few people in the nursery that day, and Mary Lou was grooming plants in the 4" area. I said to her "I love this blue eyed grass, it grows on my parents ranch", Mary Lou said something like "I like it too, it's one of my favorites", then I said something to the effect of "it's a tiny iris relative you know" and Mary Lou said plainly "no, it's not".  I then asked Mary Lou if she had a plant encyclopedia where we might check the plant's family. She showed me directly to the book.  I was right. Mary Lou offered me a job on the spot.  I told her the 500 mile commute would be tough and that I'd probably better finish high school.

Later when I was 19, I was living in the area and looking for work. I went and asked for the job she had offered me. She took my number and said she would call me. I heard nothing for two weeks. At this point I called and was asked "how can I help you" to which I replied "I want you to hire me".  She did.  And so began my career in horticulture.  At first I was just a leaf picker and a hose dragging waterer, but every week with the help of Mary Lou and others in the nursery I learned about plants. So many plants. Mary Lou kept such a wide variety around and sometimes there would be a flat of plants in one day and you wouldn't see them again until the next year or ever.  But I learned them all, or at least as best as I could.

I worked for Mary Lou for about 5 years, until she closed the nursery.  After two years of battling colon cancer she had to let the business go.  Later that summer she passed away.

There are countless stories I could tell about Mary Lou, but the thing that I want to share is that she had a pure love of plants and gardening.  That is why she started the garden tour.  Mary Lou always wanted it to be about real people and real gardens. She wanted people to be able to share their love of gardening with each other.

Today the garden tour lives on in her name.  It benefits a women's shelter, a horticultural scholarship and a cancer charity.

After all these years my garden will be on the tour, I think Mary Lou would be proud.  I hope you all can come see my garden this Sunday 10am to 5 pm.

Here is the info:

In case you forget, my name is Dustin

addresses for the tour

Here are some before and after shots.

Front yard early 2010

Frontyard 2012

Frontyard 2010

Frontyard 2012

Backyard 2010

Backyard 2012