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Tag: ballard bee company

  • The Pollinators on My Mind for NWFGS!

    February 13, 2013
    Honeybee feasting on & pollinating Tradescantia

    Honeybee feasting on & pollinating Tradescantia

    Pollinators as garden beneficials are on my mind as I gear up for my seminars at the Northwest Flower & Garden Show.  Honeybees, birds, wild bees, hummingbirds, bats, mason bees, beetles & more. They’re all I can think about right now. Or, rather, they’re all I should be thinking about given the show opens in a month!

    I’ll be giving two pollinator-focused presentations at the show on Sunday, February 24th:

    • Potent Planting for Primo Pollinators (Gardening 101: Sustainable Solutions)
      • Details: Whether you garden in containers on a balcony or on a larger plot of land, adding plants for pollinators not only helps the environment and promotes better edible harvests, but it also ensures your garden is filled with beautiful flowers and fantastic fragrance day and night. Plus, pollinators – from bees to butterflies to birds and even bats – provide nonstop outdoor entertainment. And, they may even help with pest control! And, for those who want to maximize their fruit & vegetable harvests, luring beneficial fauna is key to your success. Join us to learn how to develop a gorgeous garden with year-round interest plants pollinators simply can’t resist.
      • Where: Rainier Room
      • When: Sunday, February 24th, 12:30pm
    • Bee Harmonious: Plan, Plant & Garden with Bees
      • Details: In this informative session led by award-winning urban beekeeper Corky Luster of Ballard Bee Company and esteemed garden designer & coach Robin Haglund of Garden Mentors, learn what you can do to budget, design, create & maintain a beautiful, functional garden habit ideal for urban honeybees, wild bees and people too! Whether your goal is to get better pollination in your edible garden, develop your own apiary, become a hive host, or design a gorgeous bee-friendly garden, this session is for you. Learn how to situate hives, budget and plan, comply with regulations and cohabitate harmoniously with bees of all kinds.
      • Where: Hood Room
      • When: Sunday, February 24, 2013 at 3:15pm

    I hope to meet you there…on the show floor or at a seminar! In the meantime, please forgive my less frequent posts as I focus on putting together my presentations. Following us on Twitter & on our Facebook page offers everything you find on this blog, plus much more. (We’re updating several times daily via social networking.) So, please take a moment to sign up and become a part of our social network!

  • Holiday Gifts for Garden Lovers

    December 16, 2012
    Glass Gardens NW Edible Glass Art

    Fruit & Gourd Glass Art from Glass Gardens Northwest

    Still shopping for gifts for your favorite gardeners? While cooking and garden books are great for some, donations fit the bill for others, and apps are ideal for techies. There’s nothing like a little something sparkly to make a gardener’s holiday a little brighter! So, we’ve put together a few of our favorite ideas that really shine to help you get your gardeners gifted just right!

    • Classy & Glassy! Glass Gardens NW offers an array of gorgeous glass art for the home and garden. You’ve got until Monday December 17, 2012 to place orders to be delivered by Chrismas day. For under $20 (plus shipping, tax and such), you can send a beautiful tree ornament or glass float. Or, up your order a bit more for a piece of gorgeous garden art that will really wow your gardening loved ones.
    • Wearable flowers & sparkly snowflakes: Fancy Dirt Forge offers some amazing enameled flowers that bloom beautifully in pierced ears. And for as little as $25 (plus shipping, tax & all that jazz), you can order up beaded ornaments to shimmer on the tree.
    • Sweets for your Sweet:
      Ballard Bee Company Honey Bee Climbing Glass Gardens NW Float After Taking a Drink

      Ballard Bee Company Honey Bee Climbing Glass Gardens NW Float After Taking a Drink

      Get out of a sticky situation with a sweet gift made by some of the hardest working gardeners out there – honey from the bees!  Contact Ballard Bee Company to order up anything from simple jars dripping with golden goodness to specialty glass vessels filled with seasonal reserve sweetness or even creamed honey perfect for toast. Or, if your gardener is local to Seattle, order a gift certificate good toward hive supplies & beekeeping consulting services.

    • Gift of Learning: Our shameless reminder that giving the gift of garden coaching is a great way to help your favorite gardener shine in their own horty spaces. We’re still taking holiday orders for a few days  & then we’re off on vacation until 2013, so get in touch soon!

    Stay tuned for more gift ideas later this week. We’ll be adding more app gift ideas and reviews in a day or so. Great thing about apps — you can order them absolutely last minute and still have a great gift to give anytime!

    (Full disclosure: Garden Mentors® has received no compensation for this post. Garden Mentors® has received samples and review materials from some of the businesses mentioned, but no direct gifts, review materials or compensation has been paid for this post. We just really like this stuff & often give these products as gifts to our friends & loved ones.)

     

  • Plant Profile: Elaeagnus ‘Gilt Edge’

    October 24, 2012
    Evergreen Shrub Elaeagnus Gilt Edge in Mixed Border

    Evergreen Shrub Elaeagnus Gilt Edge in Mixed Border with Diablo Ninebark, Rhododendrons, Laceleaf Japanese Maple and more — like Ballard Bee Company honeybee hives!

    Finding just the right variegated evergreen shrub for the garden can be tricky, but Gilt Edge Elaeagnus solves many solutions. Many with variegation will crisp up fast in too much sun. Others may have a tendency to revert to their non-variegated forms — at least on a few branches, giving them a busy, too-much-pattern look. And, quite a few variegated options simply aren’t evergreen, leaving you with see-through pile of twigs come winter instead of a gorgeous, bright privacy planting.

    Elaeagnus ‘Gilt Edge’ – an under-used shrub (IMHO) — offers lots of fantastic features. This woody shrub is a relatively slow grower, putting on just a few inches each year. While labels will say that it reaches a mature size of around 4′-5′ tall, I have seen specimens that look more like large evergreen trees, so give this beauty space. Its green and bright yellow leaves tolerate quite a bit of sun — actually performing better in full sun than in shade — but they will do just fine in darker winter corners if they get sun the rest of the year. And, those bright leaves keep the garden cheerful even on the gloomiest, short days. They even glow in moonlight and reflected snow. (more…)

  • A Rare Opportunity to Tour Our Private Garden

    June 08, 2012
    Sustainable Ballard Tour Map & Information

    Mark your Calendars Today!

    Later this month our private home garden will be one among about 20 featured on the fourth annual Sustainable Ballard Edible Garden Tour.

    Each year a walkable quadrant of the Ballard neighborhood in Seattle is selected for the tour. This year we fall in the zone. So, after being approved by Sustainable Ballard, followed by much discussion and waffling in our household, we decided to go ahead and swing open the garden gates for all to see.

    The good. The bad. The ugly. And, of course, the edible.

    Usually, I strive to keep my garden location private from clients and curious visitors. A magazine shoot for Sunset or a television filming date like with Growing a Greener World is scary & nerve-wracking enough, but these professionals carefully edit their shots to illustrate only the very best nuggets. The not-so-great is lost in a pan or blur or is just simply never filmed.

    But, people walking through my private spaces — seeing, questioning & judging everything — is a whole other exercise in disquieting, self-exposure!

    Yet, here we are, announcing we’re opening those garden gates. So, why? Why open it up?

    We’re participating because we believe what we’ve developed may serve to inspire others to build a more sustainable gardening world of their own — despite the blemishes that pimple every part of our planet, including this garden.

    Perfect really doesn’t exist, now does it?

    Our Front Yard When We Bought; Not What You'll See on the Tour

    Our Front Yard When We Bought the House. This is NOT What You'll See on the Tour

    This urban plot that we’ve worked and reworked over the last 13 or so years is my personal sanctuary. It is where I experiment in the garden — sometimes winningly; sometimes with less than desirable results. But, it’s mine, and I love it — despite its imperfections (read weeds) and ever-evolving nature (read: more weeds & some pests, etc). And, its privacy is a big part of what makes me feel safe, secure, inspired and recharged.

    So, if you would like a chance to visit our garden, mark your calendar for Saturday, June 23, 2012 from 10am-3pm. Then, on that Saturday, put on your best walking shoes or hop on your bike and head over to Whittier Elementary School at 1320 NW 70th in Ballard. Here you’ll be able to pick up a copy of the open garden walking map after paying your $10, per person, donation, which goes toward Sustainable Ballard’s community projects. (kids are free). Then, start strolling the ‘hood.

    On the tour you’ll find gardens filled with edibles from hell-strip to alley. Chickens will be pecking in some. Berries may be ripening in others. Goats may even bleat at you. Containers will be bursting with tasty greens & flowers for the pollinators. Walls may drip with vines covered in tasty pods. And, of course, our garden will be all a-buzz with Ballard Bee Company Honeybees, sparkling with art from Glass Gardens NW, over-crowded with tomatoes & much more to inspire sustainably minded garden folk.

    No, I won’t reveal our location here. The point is you make a donation to the organizers, Sustainable Ballard, to get the map and take the self-guided tour.

    Ballard Bee Company Honey Bee Climbing Glass Gardens NW Float After Taking a Drink

    Ballard Bee Company Honey Bee Climbing Glass Gardens NW Float After Taking a Drink

    Yes, our garden goes back to private status after 3pm on 6/23/2012, and I won’t be making special tour appointments after that. Sorry, but the weeds have made me promise they can take over again promptly at 3:01pm.

    And, definitely, enter at your own risk. This is a living space after all.

    Please leave fido at home; Kula isn’t much for entertaining canine visitors. Stay on the marked paths, and keep an eye on your kids. Inhale deeply, listen for the wildlife, take photographs, ask questions, and enjoy. If you pay enough attention, you may be kissed by a our resident hummingbird as she sips from her nectar-filled wonderland and snacks on protein-rich aphids high in the tree-tops.

    Judge as critically as you will, but know that by experimenting at home — failing at times, triumphing at others — I’m working out the kinks before I begin gardening with you in your outdoor sanctuary.

    Gardening is a lifelong journey, and 6/23/2012 is your day to make a brief stop on your fantastic trek to breathe deep and hopefully find some inspiration in our own garden of experimentation.

  • Nosy Neighbor – Northwest Edible Life Tour

    August 01, 2011
    Corky of Ballard Bee Company Inspecting the Honey Bee Hive

    Corky of Ballard Bee Company Inspecting the Honey Bee Hive

    I’m a bit late to the game, but hopefully I haven’t missed the bus entirely. Local PacNW blog Northwest Edible Life is sponsoring a day of peeking over the virtual fence to see what’s happening in other gardens around the blogosphere. Since I’m late, and I’m time crunched, I’ve  just put up a few recent shots from around the garden this summer. Despite how cool & wet it’s been, the garden looks great. Heck, the plants are actually thriving with consistent rain this summer. And, I’ve rarely turned on my irrigation – yay! Still, just a few shots here to give you a peek over our fence.

    If you want to see more photos of our garden over the years and throughout the years, just take some time to stroll through this blog. You’ll find lots more and get to see the garden evolve too!

    And, if you spy something in these shots that leaves you extra curious, please comment below about what intrigues you. Perhaps, if its not too private, I’ll write up more detail on that garden tidbit and add more photos later.

    Thanks NW Edible Life for inspiring this summer garden tour!

    Puppy Playmates making good use of the back patio and Greenhouse area

    Puppy Playmates making good use of the back patio and Greenhouse area

    Hoop house & Greenhouse - two of my favorite features

    Hoop house & Greenhouse - two of my favorite features

    Flagstone path, Bubbling Pot & Purple Cabbages in the front

    Flagstone path, Bubbling Pot & Purple Cabbages in the front

    Cold Frame Empty of Summer Crops/Ready for Fall Crops

    Cold Frame Empty of Summer Crops/Ready for Fall Crops

    Great Garden Guru Friends Gathered on Granite Boulders Around the Fire -That's what all the noise was the other night!

    Great Garden Guru Friends Gathered on Granite Boulders Around the Fire -That's what all the noise was the other night!

  • What to Do When Leafy Greens Begin to Flower

    May 23, 2011

    In most cases I advocate harvesting and eating leafy greens like kale before they begin to flower. Once the plant begins to form flower heads, the stems toughen up and the leaves begin to taste bitter. At that point, they don’t make the best eatin’ for humans. Still, there are reasons to view flowering greens as a good thing.

    Honeybee Pollinating Red Winter Kale

    Honeybee Pollinating Red Winter Kale

    Bees love to feed from flowering brassicas. And, when they pull nectar and pollen from these flowers they also pollinate them. When this happens, these plants become a source of homegrown seed for your next crops. Yes, open pollination can result in plant diversity for your next crop, but that’s half the fun. Imagine getting some amazing new variety of kale when your red winter and your lacinato varieties get cross pollinated by the bees!

    If seed saving isn’t for you, go ahead and pull out the plants. They certainly won’t go to waste. One option is to toss them out to your chickens. Garden fowl love to peck away and munch on leafy greens — even if they’re a little stringy and astringent for your pallet. Don’t have herbivores to feed? Chop up the seedless plants, flowers and all, and mix them into your compost pile.

    In my own garden, red winter kale that I planted last fall has now gone to seed. We enjoyed harvesting several meals from the leaves, and now my Ballard Bee Company honeybees are hard at work pollinating the flowers — making seed and honey for me! Once they’re done, I’ll harvest some of the earliest seed to ripen. Then, I’ll pull the plants out, reinvigorate the soil with compost, and plant in my summer tomatoes. Here in Seattle its still too chilly to put out tomatoes, but in a few more weeks — after I get some great kale seed — the timing will be perfect!

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