Monday, April 29, 2013

Bee box prep

Beekeeping is a lot of work, or at least it can be. If you're thrifty like me you'll probably buy your boxes in parts and assemble them yourself. This is fairly uncomplicated but time consuming. So, have I decided to expand to three hives and have assembled some boxes to accommodate.  Now I need to get them painted.  I got up early this morning and got everything prepared, so when I'm actually ready to paint and have the time all I have to do is get the boxes painted.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Cool plants: Eriogonum nudum 'Ella Nelson' California native buckwheat

Just a quickie.  Have to say how much I've been loving this buckwheat.  Eriogonum nudum 'Ella Nelson' is just the best.  Love that sweet yellow and I am a sucker for pompoms.  This first started blooming in Feb,  and the photo below is the second crop of flowers. I hope it holds up when the heat turns on this summer.

I got this baby from Annie's.


Hard to capture the beauty of this plant!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Over priced? Or undervalued?

I love Annie's Annuals.  But even I, the seasoned and obsessive gardener scoffs at paying $5-8 bucks for a 4" size annual. As I look at the catalogue I begin my roller coaster ride of thrifty gardener emotions.  Will it grow?  Please God tell me it will reseed at a price like that!  Will one be enough? Hell, I want hundreds.  But do I have the space? Will it be worth it? This vacillation goes on for a while and then I settle down and place my small order.

Yesterday I ordered something that I feel is really frivolous,  marigolds.  In the main I don't even like them. You see them there, in Home Depot by the hundreds, uniformed solders, a phalanx of flowers. They're all dowsed with growth retardants and fertilizers and so on.  Basically they are as close to a silk flower as a real plant comes.  But there are other marigolds.  I remember when I was an intern at Great Dixter,  Christo would have loads of stripped marigolds waiting the in the wings. The moment a perennial was looking shabby he would have some fun annual like marigolds put in amongst them to take that part of the garden through the summer. And these are full grown loose habit NICE marigolds,  with REAL flowers.  So I chose 'Harlequin' to grow this year, of course I will save seeds and it will be great for the vegetable garden where I will be growing it.

But the question comes back,  is $5 plus shipping and tax too much to pay for an annual? I think the answer is no.  When I think of the joy I will have each day when I see the red and orange stripped flower in the garden it will all be worth it. And as a horticulturist I think it's really important to support the great resources we have.  Annie's is always delighting us with new and wonderful plants. We should support them and other great nurseries.  And just think of the fun you have when that box shows up at the house.