Saturday, August 24, 2013

Sedum Autumn Joy with Honeybees

Italian Honeybees forage Sedum "Autumn Joy"

Italian Honeybees forage Sedum "Autumn Joy"

Italian Honeybees forage Sedum "Autumn Joy"

This is the clump of Sedum "Autumn Joy", I moved Tuesday.  It was wrinkly and grey from drought.  Light as a feather.  Watered every other day.  Now, Saturday, flowers are opening and the honeybees are foraging.

On this sedum, I see only honeybees.  Some of the other plants have bumblebees, small bees, or combination of all three.

Lessons learned:
1.  Sedum "Autumn Joy" is very drought tolerant.
2.  Even so, it's possible to make it wilt by not watering.
3.  The wilted sedum can be dug up and moved easily.
4.  With several good waterings, the plant will plump up and make a handsome "shrub" in a few days.
5.  Sedum "Autumn Joy" is very easy to transplant when dry.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Hollywood Plums

Ning harvested the plums

Hollywood Plums
Ning harvested the Hollywood plums.  Nice big bowl of plums.  Very sweet and full of flavor.  I love these plums.

Ginkgo biloba seedlings.

Ginkgo biloba seedling.

Ginkgo biloba seedling.
 These are Ginkgo biloba seedlings growing among the irises and herbs.  I planted the seeds last fall.

There are around 5 or 6 seedlings.  I'm guessing I planted a couple dozen seeds.  There was evidence some seeds were dug and eaten by birds or squirrels.

These received no special care after planting the seeds last fall.  Whatever the irises and herbs got, the ginkgo seedlings got.

They are small enough, they can stay put for a couple of years.  Then transplant to another bed or someplace more permanent.
Ginkgo biloba seedling.

Moving an established Sedum Autumn Joy

Sedum "Autumn Joy"
This is the 2nd Sedum "Autumn Joy" or similar cultivar, that I moved.  It must be 10 years old, up to 13.  Since I've been concentrating on the Battleground gardening, I have not been watering in Vancouver.  It was very dry, feather-light.  I wrapped it in a large dog blanket, drove it to Battleground, and planted in front of the house.  Soaked a couple of times.

The first sedum's leaves plumped up nicely.  I expect the same from this one.

The plant is barely starting to bloom.  Even so, honeybees almost immediately found it, and are collecting nectar.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Bearded Irises. Historic Iris Preservation Society rhizomes.

Irises from HIstoric Iris Preservation Society

Bearded Iris Bed #3, mostly modern varieties.
 This package, of Historic bearded iris varieties, is from the Historic Iris Preservation Society.  The rhizomes are grown by members, and sold to provide funds for the organization.  A package with several varieties, may be grown by various gardeners.  I requested specific varieties.  There was one substitution, and one bonus variety - Gay Geisha - which looks very nice on the website.

The varieties were:
Los Angeles 1927.
California Blue 1929From the HIPS site:  "From The Iris City Gardens catalog for 1940: "...vigorous...long blooming season... well branched and early. Rich bluish violet with a glowing beard. It is the most delightfully fragrant which we know. 4½ feet."
Gay Geisha 1959.
Frost and Flame  1956.
The substitution was Bourree, for Beverly Sills.  Bouree is described at "Nola's Iris Garden" as " 1984... 35½ inches... light lavender and the falls are white ground with ¼" petunia purple plicata band and speckles at hafts; lavender beard tipped bronze; ruffled; sweet fragrance."
Bearded Iris Bed #2, mostly historic varieties.

Irises among the peppers.  Bearded Iris Bed #3.
These came in the mail yesterday.  I planted them today.

I did rearrange one variety.  At the back of Bearded Iris Bed #1, was "Eleanor Roosevelt" - which is a small variety, and has been shaded by a Buddleia plant that grew way out of bounds.  The Buddleia will be moved this fall.  Meanwhile, I pulled the last of the Swiss Chard, and planted "Eleanor Roosevelt" in Bearded Iris Bed #2, at the front.

Meanwhile, the marigolds and sweet alyssum have both been overgrowing their places as narrow edging.  Very nice, but crowding the irises.  So I pruned the plants, and fed to the chickens.  They seem to like sweet alyssum plants, but were wary of the marigolds.  Oh well.  I was hoping the yellow petals would translate to darker yellow yolks.

Bearded Iris bed #3 was meant to be modern varieties.  I did not have room in beds #1 and #2, so a few historic varieties went into Bed #3.  I don't have to be rigid about what goes where.  At some future date, I can trade - remove a couple of modern varieties from #1 and #2, and replace them with the old

There are some chili pepper plants in Bed #3.  They will grow until frost, which is plenty of time for the new rhizomes to establish and start to grow.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Maple Seedling 9 Months Later

Maple seedling 8/15/13
 This is the maple seedling, I moved Oct 7, 2012 from the Vancouver yard to the Battleground place.

I expect next year it will start to branch out and form a canopy.  I'm amazed at how fast a small tree can grow, when grown from seed, on its own roots.
Maple Seedling 10/07/12

Maple Seedling 10/07/12

Random photos from today

Mostly fruits
 Wild blackberries, cherry tomatoes, strawberries, Black Prince tomato, Hungarian Wax pepper, and a Parisian Market round carrot.

Buddleia X Lilac Chip

Meyer Lemon
 Miniature buddleia hybrid "Lilac Chip".  This one is in a bed that I have not been caring for, only a few flowers.  If I give it better care next year, it might be dramatic.
Meyer Lemon

Meyer Lemon grew nicely this year.  Often in bloom and when it is, the honeybees are there.

Me, approx 1979

Cakmakli Turkey
Thinking about the past today.  Nothing to do with gardening.  Life is a journey.  Cliche, but true.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Moving an established, dehydrated Sedum clump.

Sedum, unknown variety
More for the apiary garden.

I recovered this sedum clump from a grass-filled area under an old cherry tree.  It has not been watered this year.

Sedum is dry tolerant but given the very dry location, that was extreme.

The advantage of the dry soil, is it was very light.  It required a couple of slices with the shovel, and came out easily.  Part of the clump broke off.  So now I have a small clump and a larger clump.

After getting them to the Battleground place, I soaked them for a while, then planted.  THe wilted leaves firmed up a little, not much.   I think they will do fine.  This year is too late to make the leaves nice looking and plump, but there will be a few flowers for the bees.  Next year I expect they will be impressive.  It was an old, well established clump.

Rose of Sharon

Rose of Sharon with bee

Rose of Sharon December 2012
 This is the Rose of Sharon - Hibiscus siriacus - that I moved from the Vancouver house to the Battleground place Dec 2012.  It was very late leafing out.  I thought I killed it.  Now it is covered with buds.

Growth this year was about 6 inches to 1 foot.  I imagine next year it will grow faster, having established new roots and adapted to the new location.  It is sunnier and more dry here, so it growth may be more compact.

The prior location was adjacent to the North side if the house.  Now it's in full sun.
Rose of Sharon seedling

I'm impressed with the resilience of some of the shrubs and trees that I moved last year.  It was difficult to get a good root mass from this shrub.  I've pruned it back each year to make it more bushy.  So the trunk was thick.  Even so, I cut about half of the growth.

The white flower, red center, is a seedling grown from the original shrub.  It is about 4 years old.  I planted it at the Battleground place as well.  Not many flowers this year.  Deer ate most of the buds.

The flower is larger than last year.  Might take a while to establish.  I think i like this one more than the original.

The only care these are getting now is some occasional watering.  I may add a deer cage for the winter.

Planting a WIld Pulm Tree, grown from seed.

This wild plum tree was started from seed last summer.  It's now about 4 feet tall.  I'm impressed by the rapid growth.  I waited until I had a chance to build a deer cage, before planting it. 

This may need a pollinator.  I have 3 smaller specimens, started at the same time.  The plan is to plant at least one nearby.

I read that the leaves are a deer favorite.  So it is caged.

I don't know if these will serve as pollinators for my domesticated plums.  It's worth a try.

At this size, maybe it will bear in another season or two or three.  I would like that.

I like growing from seeds, for the genetic diversity and wondering what I will get.  I know they may or may not be good.  Since these are selections of wild plums, not hybrids, they may be more predictable compared to domesticated varieties.

 This photo is from last year, July 2012.  These are the plums.  The tree is down the street from me.  They are the size of a sweet cherry, but are sweeter, juicier, and have a plum flavor.
 After cleaning the seeds, I let them dry for a day.  Then cracked the hulls using a vice-grip.
 There isn't a lot of info about growing wild plums.  I based the hull-cracking method on some web info about other stone fruits.   I placed the naked seeds in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel, and refrigerated.  After about a month, they started to sprout and I planted them in potting soil.

Others were planted directly outside in potting soil.  Those grew more slowly, but they did grow.  They grew late summer 2012.  Not all of the seeds grew.  Maybe half.
This is the seedling late last summer.   I left them outside to overwinter.  No problem.

This Spring the trees grew rapidly.  I potted up as needed, in general purpose organic potting soil.  They've been at the Battleground place for about one month.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Honeybees. Update.

New honeycomb under construction.

Inside the top bar hive.
Today I did some hive maintenance.  Separated each bar.  There was some formation of comb across bars.  The main issue is to get them back to one comb on each bar.

I bought a large knife at a yard sale.  That worked nicely for cutting comb from inappropriate bars.

This time I remembered to smoke the bees.  I think that did help a lot to keep them calm. 

There wasn't as much honey as I expected.  Much of the comb looks empty.  Much of the rest contains pollen.

Irises. Peppers.

Bearded Iris raised beds.
Not much to see with the irises.  Sweet alyssum, marigolds are taking more space than I expected.  Swiss chard is vigorous.  At this size it's a bit bitter.

The bed behind the front bed is gradually being filled with established clumps of bearded irises from the house in Vancouver.   Those are modern varieties.  It will look nice in the Spring.  There is still a row of chili peppers.  Those will stay until frost. 

Pepper "Hungarian hot wax"
I didn't expect the peppers to grow.  Was not able to keep them weeded.  Some are doing quite well.  This is "Hungarian Hot Wax".

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Kitchen Garden

Chinese cucumber
 Selected shots of the kitchen garden.

Chinese cucumber is blooming.  Shouldn't be long before we get some cucumbers.

Illinois Everbearing Mulberry.  This will be the last of them..  I will savor them.  They are so good.

Cherry tomatoes are bearing a few handfulls now.

Cantaloupe is in bloom.  Whether we get some remains to be seen.
Mulberry Illinois Everbearing

Cherry Tomatoes Sungold and SuperSweet 100
Cantaloupe "Minnesota" miniature

Okra Clemson Spineless
 There are a couple of okra flowers.  If we get just one okra, it will be fun.  The plants that did best were the ones I grew in containers then planted into the raised bed.  The direct seeded plants remain puny.

Not pictured, the swiss chard is big and productive.

The pole beans are just beginning to bloom.

Buddleia review

Buddleia "Miss Ruby"
Buddleia "Peach Cobbler"

Buddleia "Peach cobbler"
 I might have a love/hate thing going with Buddleia.  This winter/spring I bought and planted several. It took some effort to find the "legal", "horticulturally politically correct" varieties.  By that I mean, legal to buy and grow, noninvasive, non-see bearing intergeneric hybrids.  These are patented so can't be grown from cuttings.

My goal was to have a fast growing shrub with nectar bearing flowers for insects and hummingbirds.  Especially honeybees.

Online photos of buddleia flowers are usually cropped or pruned to show the pretty, but not the ugly.  There is a lot of pretty but also a lot of ugly.

As the flowers fade, they turn brown.  They brown from the start to the end, over what seems to be a few weeks.  That leaves a choice:  Deadhead, which removes a lot of 'fresh' flower too, or leave the flower on the plant until it's totally brown, which is not attractive.

These photos show the "pretty", except for the bottom photo that shows the "ugly" too.

I will deadhead them.  There should be lots of new flowers following deadheading.

In my garden, the "Cobbler" type buddleias ("Peach Cobbler" and "Blueberry Cobbler") seem to grow much faster and look more weedy, compared to the "Miss" type buddleias (Miss Molly and Miss Ruby).  The flowers on the "Miss" buddleias are more compact and richer in color.
Buddleia "Blueberry Cobbler"
Bumblebees often visit the buddleias.  I haven't seen honeybees on them at all.
Buddleia "Peach Cobbler"
Hummingbirds also visit them.

Insect photos

Borage with honeybees.

Borage with honeybee.
 The good thing about fatigue is I can sit for a long time with the camera and catch some fleeting insects.  So here we are. 

I don't know the wasps that took over the oregano flowers.  They are a small wasp.  I think they are wasps.
Buddleia X  "Peach cobbler" with bumblebee.

Oregano flowers with wasps?

Another Buddleia  X "Peach Cobbler" with bumblebee.

Sunday, August 04, 2013

Clark County Fair

Antique equipment

Beekeepers Association

Antique saw and antique visitor


The goats were my favorite

Judging the goats.

More goats

I want some goats.

In the honey barn.

There were lots of llamas

More llamas.

We're a long way from Peru.

There's Ning.

Ning petting a goat.

Petting another goat.

Petting a chicken.  A strange looking chicken.

Petting a sheep.

He's thinking...  "How do I get out of here and into Daniel's garden?"


More Veggies.