May 31, 2013
Want to learn how to maximize your edible garden yields by planting for pollinators? Join Garden Mentors® founder, Robin Haglund, at Molbak’s in Woodinville, WA on Saturday, June 1st at 10am to learn more!
During her seminar, Robin will discuss types of pollinators, the plants they love, and how to create a gorgeous, fragrant, mixed interest garden that attracts and feeds the beneficial fauna that in turn do the work to turn flowers into the foods we love to eat like tomatoes, squash, berries, tree fruits and more. (And if you’re lucky, she’ll probably drop some hints about the garden “pests” that forage for true pests and might just do some pollination work along the way.)
Plus, word is Molbak’s will be offering a free Ballard Bee Company honey tasting in the seminar area! (And we’re pretty sure after you taste the honey — quite likely a bit of which is from the hives in Robin’s garden — you’ll want to buy a jar of this sweet, locally-grown, liquid gold. Fortunately, Molbalk’s has lots of it on hand for each of you.)
And, of course, Molbak’s will have plenty of Robin’s tried & true pollinator magnet plants on hand for you to purchase for your own garden!
May 27, 2013
Last night plant thieves dug up most of the broccoli from my Seattle parking strip garden. This is the first front yard food theft we’ve experienced during the many years we have grown food from curb to alley.
And I’m pissed!
They pulled back the protective row cover, carefully dug up about 10 plants, leaving one up rooted on the ground and another two growing in the bed.
Should I thank the a-holes for leaving me two plants?
They trampled a few cabbages, and it doesn’t look like they took any of those worm-ridden crops (or the nearby onions or shallots).
Here’s hoping that isn’t their cat-burglary plan for tonight.
And, they disconnected the row cover over the carrots & spinach I seeded last night (leaving them exposed to today’s heavy downpour).
I wonder if they tried to steal those seeds too?
Did I mention they broke some irrigation heads too.
There’s an F-word for people like that.
So, what to do? What to do…
I alerted our neighborhood captain who interfaces with the police. We’ve had a lot of break-in’s lately, so it could have been worse. Hopefully, he’ll tell everyone on his mailing list to be on alert.
After a holiday one-martini lunch with my beloved and conferring with friends and co-horts via social media, I decided to try the “kill’m with kindness & guilt” approach.
You never know…they may be starving & ashamed, right?
So, after lunch, I gathered up a flat filled with delicious edible starts that were otherwise destined for the local food bank. And, I made this sign to go with the giveaways in hopes they’ll take these instead of digging up what remains of the crops we sowed from seed (Shallot included) and have been patiently coddling for months.
Will it work?
Who knows, but it made me feel like I took the high road and left all that nasty karma with them.
Did you notice the part on the sign about the garden being under video surveillance?
Go ahead thieves & try us. Streaming internet video happens to be one of our many fortes!
Did I replant?
Not yet. I’ll be checking that video and the garden later to see what happens.
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…)