Beewatching’s Blog

Hazelnut farm underway (sort of)
May 6, 2014, 9:52 am
Filed under: Growing things | Tags:

Our trees are effectively in their foster home (our New Jersey backyard), while a tenant uses our Pennsylvania field this summer. In the fall, the first batch of baby hazelnut trees (who look hardly more than sticks in pots right now) will move to their permanent locations. Before that happens, a well and deer fence must be waiting. We will learn how to use gas-powered augers. Fall should be quite interesting this year. We shall either begin to grow nuts or go nuts in the next few years.

One thing we didn’t know about these little trees before we ordered them is the horizontal extent of some roots. Try fitting something into a round pot that looks as if it would better fit into a planter the shape of a school locker lying prone. Yet the visible part of the tree is a slender twig only four feet high. These are clearly among the many things in life which one can not judge from the surface.

Our babies

Our babies


A shade gardening slide show (with animation removed)
February 1, 2014, 11:35 am
Filed under: Garden, Growing things | Tags:

shade garden first pageThis is just an experiment. I wanted to try posting a PowerPoint that I made to go with a presentation I gave earlier this week at a local garden organization. The animations I removed are not vital to the presentation, so I opted to eliminate them to keep the file smaller. One caption box is slightly out of alignment, but the rest looks as I expected. The full file is over 40MB, with higher res photos. The Mac to Windows format posed slight problems, especially when I tried a file that doesn’t embed fonts.

The plant lists are not exhaustive, and the final links page the same. Just a good starting point, I think. Take a look, please and tell me what you think.


Revenant Rose
June 15, 2009, 6:37 pm
Filed under: 1, Garden, roses

I dug a hole straight through to the other side of the world this afternoon. I had no choice. Dr. Huey had overstayed his welcome. I wasn’t burying an annoying houseguest. Huey, as I’ve mentioned before, was a very robust rose that had sprung from the rootstock of a more desirable rose that had died.

I wasn’t prepared for the depths to which the main root descended. No simple shovel, shovel, and tug extraction in this case — this was a root canal of an operation, during which I had to keep from demolishing the nearby lovage and Russian sage. Finally, to protect the other plants from destruction, I took the loppers to the tenacious root over a foot below the surface.

That should take care of the matter, yet I don’t have absolute confidence that I won’t be visited by the shade of Dr. Huey next spring, or (shudder) at the end of this summer, his thorny fingers breaking through the ground to point at me accusingly. Maybe it will require silver loppers to dispatch him permanently.

ON A ROSIER NOTE The scarlet Meideland has begun to bloom, and in addition to what’s open already, has buds that promise more color to come. Here’s a look.meideland It’s so pretty, someone should write a song about it. (Don’t look at me — I’m too busy weeding.)

All rosy so far
May 29, 2009, 6:11 am
Filed under: 1, Garden, roses

Two more roses: Camelot (from the hardware store, chosen by son, who was nine at the time), and Benjamin Britten, a David Austin rose. I had three of these, but one succumbed to something that looks exactly like rose rosette disease based on my internet research. Yet, a rose expert told me at the time (two years ago) that there had been no confirmed cases of this disease in New Jersey. Anyone know otherwise?

The Camelot rose produces only one or two blooms at a time, but they are gorgeous. The plant itself is a straggly, ugly thing, no matter how I pamper it. This past winter I transplanted it, and hope it likes its new surroundings well enough to work a little harder.P1020722


Welcome to the land of puny veggies
May 29, 2009, 6:05 am
Filed under: 1, environment, Garden, Growing things, weather

P1020611Wow. What a disparity in sizes among the brussels sprout plants I started simultaneously indoors this past winter. Ranging in size from two and a half inches to about ten inches, some are in pots, and some are in the ground. The biggest ones are in the large containers, yet the ones in the ground were fed an ample helping of compost. This experiment will tell me a lot about growing strategy, and I may change my approach next year. The tomatoes are very close in size to one another. None are planted directly in the ground. One hangs upside down, but is working against gravity to right itself — apparently a muscular vegetable? fruit? The strawberries are starting to show pale fruit of a promising size. Squirrel food in the making if I don’t cover them soon. Onions? Well, all I see are the green tops, and they are healthy looking. So many allium of various size pop up in the yard, it seemed almost redundant to plant them, but who knows whether the wild ones will taste decent? My fingers are crossed over the netted blueberry bushes. Will the netting actually help me harvest some berries before the animals figure out how to get to them?

Why is nature in such a rush?
May 23, 2009, 5:05 pm
Filed under: 1, roses, weather

Stop irises! Stop roses! I can just tell what’s ahead: an early finish to the bloomers I usually count on to take me well into June. Will this trend of accelerated blooming carry on all summer, giving chrysanthemum flowers in July? Zinnias by next Monday?

This month and into the next, master gardeners and garden club members open their properties to visitors. I visited one near my house today, which had plenty to inspire. Native and exotic perennial flowers and herbs, annuals, shrubs, trees, even attractive weeds, containers, pretty stones, sculptures, whimsical signs, wrens nesting, a pond. Too busy, you might imagine, from this brief summary, but it’s all laid out along meandering walkways, so the elements are revealed gradually. This approach makes a small property seem larger, since it takes such a long time for the full collection to unfold in front of you. This was a garden in the making by multiple generations, since 1903.P1020593

The plant sale continues
May 16, 2009, 7:57 pm
Filed under: 1, Garden, Growing things, Master Gardeners

tiarellaWe had a few plants left, so we held a mini-sale at the mall. Seeing how few brussels sprout plants had sold on the first sale day, I left the rest of them home. I remarked on this to the other volunteers, and immediately, a customer spoke up, saying she would certainly have bought them. Since I live five minutes from the mall (this is not necessarily a good thing — depends where you live), I hurried home and gathered up a trayful. True to her word, she bought them all. I still don’t know whether to try growing them again next year. They would be for me and the one or two other brussels sprout growers in the area. The original motivation for planting them in the first place was how exotic I thought the plants looked at the supermarket a few holiday seasons ago. Expect to see photos of them growing their nubby little sprouts this summer.

Now that I am back to gardening for my own purposes, I added “Raspberry Wine” bee balm, a little more lovage, and a little more lady’s mantle. My most urgent chore right now is netting the blueberries and strawberries against squirrel and bird assaults.