Beewatching’s Blog

Feeding the children
June 9, 2009, 8:36 am
Filed under: 1


The topic this weekend at the Master Gardener table will be container planting, and because I have nothing so abundant as shade in my garden, AND because I hope to see hummingbirds from the kitchen window, I have planted a pot of fuchsia, accompanied by a beet-colored coleus, and some creeping jenny, which I will bring to show that you can have nice pots in shady spots (hey, a poem!).

JUST BEECAUSE — Reading from lists of bee and butterfly favorites, I have filled the garden with butterfly weed, swamp milkweed, zinnia, salvia, and phlox. I hope to see honeybees when the rain lets up. I expect them to favor the clover which makes up a large portion of my lawn. The bumblebees are paying attention to the Virginia sweetspire (Henry’s Garnet Itea) that is in full bloom right now, and will be swarming around the raspberry blossoms soon. Bees of various sizes also like lavender, horehound, thyme, boneset (not edible so far as I know), fennel and sage. Based on what I saw at the Rutgers Gardens in fall, if the Persian Ivy I planted last year blooms, I’ll expect a lot of bee activity there in October.

BERRY GOOD THINGS TO EAT — I harvested our first two (only two non-nibbled) strawberries this week, but the rainy weather is keeping them small and compromising their flavor. Based on reading I did about strawberries, I believe I will replace most of them with fraises du bois next year, which are grown from seed. A true strawberry (species: fragaria), I read, will have white or pinkish white flowers. This is how you can tell them apart from the Indian mock-strawberry (duchesnea indica), which has yellow flowers. The mock-strawberry, a common weed, has little or no flavor. Fraises du bois, on the other hand, is delicious. They are so delicate that they rarely can make it to the market. Grow your own.

GRIPE, GRIPE, GRIPE — In addition to plants, we are growing teenage humans in this household. I will translate an adolescent phrase, commonly uttered when they get home from school. “There’s nothing to eat!” This does not mean the pantry and refrigerator are empty. A quick look in either will reveal that we are stocked with fruit, nuts, cheese, whole grain bread and crackers, milk, yogurt, soup and peanut butter. No, their lament means precisely that “there are no chips, pizza, lunchables, candy or soft drinks, so you are horrible parents!” We are also “allergic to air conditioning”, which means that if the temperature is not above 80° F., I open windows instead. Go ahead and report me.

DON’T GO AWAY MAD — Now back to the children of nature, who rarely complain. The birds eat almost as much as the boys do. They told two friends, who told two friends, etc. On the other hand, if you have marauding squirrels, I highly recommend the torpedo shaped baffle on a tall shepherd’s crook pole. Mount it around five feet from the ground, and don’t put it directly under a tree. I seem to have succeeded in making the squirrels feel unwelcome. Buh-bye!


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Comment by Aline Manzi

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