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Tuesday, June 23, 2009


When I was little there were so SOOOOOOOOO many honeybees where I grew up in Ohio. So many that once, when running barefoot with my siblings from our yard to the neighbor's yard, the bottom of my foot was painfully stung. After that I'd look along as I'd go in making my way barefoot across fields of clover.

The bees I mostly saw there were golden and fuzzy, like this!

Photo courtesy of Isolino

Now all I see are these smoother orangish-brown bees. And of course it's a rare find seeing a bee. I think I've seen only three or four so far this season:

According to this Wikipedia article, all bees in America are not native (I did not know!) and have been brought here from Europe.

I feel very taken by the plight of the honeybees in America right now, with their numbers having declined. My given name means "bee" or "honey" in Greek. There's a lovely chapter in the Qur'an called Surah An-Nahl, or The Bee (or The HoneyBee), describing how all things of the natural world - like the seas, stars, mountains - are proof of God and his power. The chapter goes quite into detail about bees.

Although I'm not a bee scientist :) my opinion is that nature's balance is being harmed by pesticides as well as the larger environmental issues. I think many things combined are contributing to the imbalance of the honeybee population here. I wonder if more "organic" areas have more bees.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Put in Herbs from Friends

I finished putting in the larger pots of herbs my friends gave me last weekend. Three large pots of lemongrass, lemon balm and American mint. My daughter came out later and said "Wow - our herb garden looks so...herb-garden-y".

Finished putting all the cactus plants and other houseplants outside. I hope they like it and grow nicely.

Remaining to do: repot my two remaining orchids. The one only has a couple of leaves and might not make it. The other is very strong. Neither have flowered since the first time (as usual with all my orchids.) I'm thinking a new mixture of fresh soil, and some regular attention might cheer them up. We moved many times over the years and I've lost so many due to a variety of reasons. I hope they like their new home now, settle and grow and flower. :)

Repotted also was my Elephant's Foot palm (pony tail palm) - it's been "bonsai'd" in this little blue container for years and years. I rarely water the thing and it's taken all of our moves and temperature changes without problem. If it dried too much I just trimmed back the leaves and watered it nicely. It's now got a new home in this pot and it looks happy. I can't water it too much so I'll be watching it to make sure that doesn't happen. Anyway I didn't know how huge they could get!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Itty Bitty

Itty Bitty
Originally uploaded by subtlegina

Cute, huh?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Poison Hemlock Warning!

I just learned about poison hemlock. I want to share things as I learn here, so others can learn too. Hemlock is one of the most poison plants, an extract from which Socrates died.

I think most folks know what Queen Anne's Lace is. I thought everything I have ever seen that looks like Queen Anne's Lace was in fact Queen Anne's lace. WRONG.

Be aware of hemlock. All plant parts are poisonous. I read a story about someone picking berries for jam, and her husband had seeds that had fallen into his bowl of berries. She asked to see where he'd been picking and it was hemlock seeds that had fallen into his bowl! This jam was destined to be sold to folks. They dumped the berries and went elsewhere to pick. She was very smart to check anyway and be aware.

Queen Anne's Lace. Nice smooth green stem, typical flowers. Non-poisonous. Used in ancient medicinal remedies: the seeds being used as a contraceptive; the young root being edible. Also referred to as wild carrot.

Here is poison hemlock:

Posion Hemlock
Originally uploaded by Dale Hameister

Purple-spotted stem. Flowers similar to Queen Anne's Lace.

Also water hemlock:

Notice the purple stems and the shape of the leaves.

Water hemlock has been listed as one of the most poisonous North American plants. American Indians used it to poison their arrow tips.

Interesting links
10 Plants for your Pets to Avoid
Queen Anne's Lace
Poison Hemlock - Weed of the Month

Tassel Flowers

I just saw this post and wow what a picture!

I loved these flowers. Madeline, the poster, said they were tassel flowers. So I decided to do a bit of checking. Right away I found this entry at a seed seller

❁ Tassel Flower is a tender annual that grows to two or three feet in height. Flame-colored, button-like flowers appear on slender stems in summer. Sow seed after last frost in spring in a well-drained, sunny site. Thin seedlings so they are six inches apart. Tassel Flower is native of the Far East and was introduced into England in 1799. The species works well as a quick and curiously attractive filler in the summer flower border. ❁

I'd love to put some of these in my garden - especially the red ones.

Nature's Secret

Nature's Secret
Originally uploaded by Cesar R.

Testing a post from Flickr!

Rain Rain Rain

It's been raining nearly daily for two weeks now. Just a couple of days of nice weather then it started up again.

Vegetable Garden: Yesterday my husband weeded the vegetable garden, and I worked on the herbs and flowers. We're also learning little by little what seeds to put in the ground when. We are still pretty new at this and just expect everything to come up whenever we put it in the ground. Haha Newbie gardeners here, yep. So we'll be planting our brussels sprouts, spinach, more carrots, leeks, cauliflower and some other late fall/wintery harvest veggies later in the season. We're learning!

Herb Garden: My german chamomile did not come up. :( So I have more seeds ready to plant. If they don't come up this time around I won't try again until next year. Yesterday my husband harvested some cilantro to put in the shrimp fried rice I made. It's still not fully grown but the flavor was strong and good.

Our herb garden - the bare spots are where the herbs I planted did not make it. Chamomile, sweet basil, oregano, italian parsley and lavender didn't make it. Bad seeds? Not sure. There's a bit of shade from the nearby tree in the afternoon - I wonder if that's problematic?

Flower Garden: Wildflowers and other mixes of seeds planted last month are coming up nicely, but slowly, since there's not been much sun. I have some seeds from Burpee that is a mailbox/lampost mix. I'm not sure if it's too late to put them in or not but I'm going to try. I put in thumbergia and morning glory and wow are they slow to grow. Also most peoples' clematis are growing strong and flowering now. The one I put in is still a little vine. I guess I'll have to wait and see what it does next year.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What's Growing in My Garden Today

Today we replanted some seeds. Certain things didn't take well.

Here's the current layout, with explanation:
Row + Vegetable:
* = harvestable

Zucchini+Canteloupe a few days ago. Has been weeded and looks nice now!

1: Zucchini - nice and full
2: Canteloupe - not where I wanted to put this; husband popped it in there - full
3. Transplanted zucchini from row 1 - doing well
4. * Mesclun mix - is coming up nicely now and we've eaten twice from this
5. Summer squash - coming up
6. Pepper Mix - put these seeds in today
7. Tomato Plant + chili plant - purchased from Home Depot last week
8. Head lettuce - still little; not coming up well
9. Tomato - put in again today from seed; other seedlings were pulled out by Mr. Groundhog
10. Carrot - only one grew from our first planting; replanted this row today
11. -saving for later season-
12. Cukes - sprouting nicely

Side rows:
Sugar Pumpkins - yay coming up nicely
Watermelon - only got one plant
French canteloupe - coming up well

From small plantlings:
Our grape vine - dying
Blueberry bush - ugly and dying

We're really not sure how to get nice blueberry bushes planted; I'll look into this when I have time. The concord grape vine was just for fun. Darned animals keep tasting it.

Trip to Virginia

This past weekend I visited Virginia. Went lots of places. Gardening-wise, I visited Meadlowlark Botanical Gardens with my friend. I bought my husband a winddeva from the gift shop - it's a basic red acrylic twirly. He's been such a good gardener!

Here are a few pictures of the garden:

Entering the garden from the gift shop

From the top of a hill that overlooked the pond area

Loved the huge pond dragonfly!

There were LOTS of turtles in the large pond, with huge catfish lurking underneath, their black shadows nearing the surface

Lots of lovely flowers and grasses

The friend who took us to Meadowlark also gave me some things from her garden. I got several pieces of her jade tree - I wish I would have taken a picture of it! It was gorgeous. I got some shade plants, some other flowering plant, and some herbs - lemon balm, and some lemon basil. i split with her the peppermint plant I just bought, and the lemon thyme.

From someone else I got lemongrass and some American mint. I had bought her some peppermint herb (she'd not been able to find it).

It's fun exchanging plants!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Lots of Rain

I've been keeping posted on Twitter about my garden; there's been lots of rain over the past days. We planted in some more vegetables via seed; and transplanted some seedlings. Some things are starting to grow fast and furious, like the zuchinni and summer squash. Yum!

More to come.

Friday, June 5, 2009

WOW amazingly WOW

I'm a technical person. Following tech stuff is a whole heck of a lot easier than following all this gardening stuff that I'm still learning! And there are SOOOOOOOOOO many gardening blogs and so many people using Twitter that garden. I want to follow just everyone! Everyone seems to have something interesting to say, and post things I can learn from! It's very overwhelming.

With tech stuff, I know the industry well, and pick through easily what I want to read or know, and the rest I either know or it doesn't apply to my skillset. Folks on Twitter re-tweet the same tech articles over all day long, so that makes it even easier to skim what's posted. With the gardening posts, everything seems to be unique. And all the Blogger blogs - I have a LOT LOT LOT of learning to do.

A bit at a time, I think.

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