May 21, 2013
As if you need another reason to hire Garden Mentors, right? You already know we offer targeted gardening consultations, designs, referrals, plant deliveries, project planning & more — for DIYers as well as those who hire out. But just this weekend we started what may become a regular perk for our clients – private plants sales, tours, and on-site events.
Many of our clients ask about coming to see our gardens. The thing is, our garden is at our home. And, sometimes its important to have some separation between work and our personal lives. You get that, right? Still, the requests kept coming, so we decided to do an invite-only garden open day. And, boy was it popular!
We sent out a note to our active client list inviting them to join us in the garden for a day of tours, Q&A, meeting the bees (from a distance), and shopping!
To spice things up, we invited Glass Gardens Northwest to fill the garden with gobs of sparkly art and Seattle Container Designs to bring her fantastic finished container plantings to choose from. We at Garden Mentors spent the last several months growing a number of tasty edible starts from seed as well as procuring many rare and unusual plants for purchase — things we knew would fit the bill for everyone attending the event. And, we stacked up sacks of our favorite potting soil for sale, which many shoppers combined with their plant selections to DIY at home in the empty pots Seattle Container Designs was selling. And, of course, we had several jars of Ballard Bee Company honey from our hives (and probably others) for sale. Too, an unadvertised surprise bit of fun: our friend Lacia came to shop with a six-day old baby goat tucked into her jacket — who knew we’d have a petting zoo in the garden?!
The weather was perfect. The bees were sweet — except for the hornet queen, but we roped off her area and didn’t see her at all during the event. No glass was broken, despite more than one toddler grabbing for the glass floats decorating every garden bed in sight. And, all-in-all, our friends and clients told us time and again how much they enjoyed having this chance to see our garden and pick our brains.
Some of the comments we overheard & questions we received during the day:
I love that honey. It came from these hives? Can I watch you take some out of the hive to take home today? (Answer: I don’t extract the honey, but you can buy some!)
I love the idea of shopping for plants here because Garden Mentors knows my garden and knows me and can help me pick exactly what I want/need to fill in my spaces
I’d much rather come to a private event like this instead of going to a big nursery or a huge plant sale event with all the lines & crowds!
Oh sweetie…don’t drink that. It’s not a water fountain! (as child leans in to take a drink out of the bamboo spigot on a potted water feature.)
May 13, 2013
Bald Faced Hornets Eat Greenhouse!
It sounds like a sci-fi movie title, right? Well, actually it’s happening right now. In my garden. As I type this.
Over the past week I’ve been getting buzzed by all sorts of bees in the garden. And, this hornet is definitely the one I most want to leave alone; hence the not-terribly-great close-up photo.
She’s zoomed past me a few times — almost flying into my face once — but she hasn’t chased at all. That being said, I’m steering clear of her wood harvesting spot on the south door of my greenhouse.
Hornets chew up wood, mix it with their spit and then build their papery nests out of the mixture. In the garden, they’re demolishing a rotting nurse log and now chewing tracks into the greenhouse wooden frame.
She then flies southwest and away from my garden. So far, it seems only one bee at a time shows up for the harvesting, and the nest she’s building must be in a neighbor’s yard.
Honestly, really don’t want them nesting here. And, I’d rather they find another building material source. Being the lumberyard for hornets has never been one of my gardening and bee habitat-building goals.
May 09, 2013
As I worked in my garden yesterday, various encounters with resident fauna left me feeling a bit unbalanced. But, as I reflect on it today, I realize it was just nature doing its thing and me being in the midst of it. Here’s what happened as I weeded, planted, pruned and watered…
It began with the distant sounds of crows arguing. Loud squawks and wing flapping from the neighbor’s large trees. Then, suddenly the crows were upon me. No, not diving at me directly, but rather doing something I can only describe as fly-fighting. Four big, flapping, angry birds skimmed the air just a few feet beyond my head. Three were hot on the tail of another, chasing it hard, and they almost dove their prey right into my head. A murderous Murder?
I survived as they passed on to other territory.
It was a rather warm afternoon, and our honeybees were very active. They’ve thoroughly enjoying all of the water offerings in our garden. Most, from both hives, make their way to our small potted spigot fountain filled with Glass Gardens Northwest’s new line of Bee Preserver floats. Although the path by the fountain gets busy with bees, they pretty much leave me alone. No biggie.
But, one gripe with the honeybees: they also love to harvest water from freshly moistened potting soil. So, my potting bench is often inaccessible to me if I’ve prepared trays of containers to pot up. Usually, I can carefully move a tray and do my potting up on another table, but yesterday a lone honeybee was having none of my crazy gardener antics. That bitch was out to get me!
Yes, I know. Honeybees are not aggressive. But… (more…)
May 06, 2013
Today Glass Gardens Northwest launched their new line of glass garden floats to help with bee preservation, aptly named Bee Preservers. Founder Barbara Sanderson is an advocate for clean food, animal welfare, and a healthy environment. Learning about the escalating plight of the bees and seeing our bees using her art as a safe way to access fresh water, combined to inspire this new line of her work.
These new floats are created with added exterior texture to allow the bees to safely land in a water feature and trek down the glass surface to sip from the water — without falling in and drowning as so often happens.
And, yes, they work as intended! Barbara sent a few our way last week to try out — yes, free of charge and without expectation of compensation on our end — and the bees love them so much we can’t dismantle, drain and scrub out our mucked up, over-wintered bubbling pot. Oh well, the bees don’t care, and that chore can happen another time when it isn’t so hot & sunny, which makes for some thirsty bees of all kinds.
Prices for these floats begin at just under $14; larger floats are incrementally more expensive. Buy them here.
And, just think: $3 of every float you purchase is being donated by Glass Gardens NW to The Foundation for the Preservation of Honeybees.
May 01, 2013
Saturday, May 4th at 10am meet Robin at Molbak’s Nursery for her free seminar on gardening for non-stop color. Learn about trees, shrubs, ferns, grasses, perennials, annuals and art that bring the Wow! factor to your garden from May to October (and all the other months of the year).
Robin will discuss design techniques, texture ideas, edibles, plants for pollinators and much more to help you create a garden of Ever-changing Moods. She’ll help you understand seasonal transition tricks, elements of surprise, ways to avoid big flops, and creating a hide ‘n seek garden for fun.
After her talk, shop the nursery to pick up some of the plants and materials she recommends or just stick around for the rest of the day to enjoy more seminars and technique talks.
Hot Tip: Molbak’s is offering giveaways as well throughout the day!