Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Guerilla Gardening

Today I found a new group on Facebook: "Guerilla Gardening is about planting functional plants, not just aesthetic plants, that can be shared by the surrounding community. The focus therefore tends to be on plants that will provide food being planted in public or abandoned but accessible locations.

We only encourage this to be done where the owners of the land cooperate. Please be sure to only use plants that will not cause a public nuisance or a hazard in the chosen location."

Just love it.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A job for another day

Looking forward to doing a check on my bees on the next fine, still day. I will be taking my guide from this video by Phil Chandler.



Today I planted lettuce, eggplant and cucumber seedlings and sowed sweet corn and mulched the corn I already have growing. This was a job I planned to do yesterday. This fig tree with its cute little figs was just asking to be photographed so I did.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Bee behaviour

Just watching the bees today and I saw they acted differently depending on whether they were collecting nectar or collecting pollen. The first picture shows a bee collecting nectar from a French lavender and the second, pollen from a Californian poppy. When the bees collect pollen they get right into the flower and roll around next to the stamens. I had read somewhere that the bees decide before they forage whether they are going to get nectar or pollen and eat more for the pollen collecting trips (which they often go further for) but I can't find the reference now. If anyone knows it can you let me know with a comment? Thanks.

bee collecting nectar

bee collecting pollen

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sweetcorn and eggplant

Eggplant Right Before the Snow

Jobs for tomorrow: put compost in the round garden where I harvested the garlic and onions this afternoon, and prepare the soil ready for sowing more sweetcorn. Put more compost onto the raised beds so I can plant out the 5 eggplants Mum gave me. Water the new seedlings I planted in the bee garden.

Image attribution:'Eggplant Right Before the Snow' by Jan

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Palmieri, Firenze – Box garden  from level of tennis court

I've been enjoying Monty Don's Italian Gardens series on the ABC originally shown on the BBC. What I like about it is that he talks about they way gardeners were able to realise their passion. I know what that feels like, having a vision then planting and waiting and hoping it is like what you planned. I am amazed at how much patience gardening takes. My front garden has been a joy to plan and envisage and despite some problems I hope time will fix reality has been better than I hoped for.

Image attribution: This photo belongs to the Oregon State University Archives and was taken in circa 1915
It has no known copyright restrictions.

Friday, November 25, 2011

...'twould smell as sweet - Romeo and Juliet

English Rose, Austin Rose 'Heritage' Rosa

English Rose, Austin Rose 'Heritage' Rosa. Wow, this rose has just loved all the rain we have had this spring. It's never looked this good before

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Job for tomorrw

Section of the herbaceous border

This is a section of the herbaceous border at the front. It is lush and growing well as put lots of compost there before I planted. However the other section of this garden is not doing quite so well as I used soil bought from a supplier. I didn't get the best soil, which I now regret and the job for tomorrow is to spread compost and mulch all over it. I am using grass clippings, which I know a lot of people wouldn't do as it might get too hot, but I am spreading it reasonably thinly and often so that there is a continuous supply of organic matter rotting down over time. The worms that I add with the compost will help I hope.
What do you think?
Please comment.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Beekeeping and learning

Today I was at work till late so I did not get to see my bees although I said a quick hello to the seedlings I planted yesterday. But I have spent a bit of time on one of my favourite sites, the Biobees Forum. This Natural Beekeeping Network is to encourage "low-cost, low-impact, sustainable beekeeping for everyone."

Some of the topics in the forum are:
Beginners start here, Natural beekeeping discussions & questions, Your reports and updates (Post your reports here: tell us what is happening in your hives! Post links to pictures and videos if you have them, or just share your thoughts), Biodynamic beekeeping, Bright ideas, experiments, projects and research and Bee health: the treatment (or not) of diseases and parasites. Lots of learning here.

All different types of hives are discussed here and the photos are really superb helping me to know what to look for when I do the first inspection of my hive and giving me confidence. I particularly like the photos of a bee watering station that a member had built. The forum is a site that I will keep coming back to.
Image attribution:
Image: '' by Eric

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Front garden: before and after

In my efforts to make a garden that has lots of bee food I planted out lavenders, alyssum, thyme, chives, forget-me-nots, oregano along the footpath next to my retaining wall. This is what it looked like before and after. Yes I have a blister.
And after:


The meeting of the Perm-apiculture group was great. Lots of discussion of what people do with their bees and ideas of what I could do better. Just meeting people face to face after interacting with them online was so good. I do wish I'd joined this group before I got bees. I did have a look at the bees in my hive this morning from underneath and all is looking well so far. I really enjoyed watching this video and then looking at my hive. The video shows the colonisation of the empty beehive, then shows 3 months of activity (condensed into 2 minutes).

Monday, November 21, 2011

My first Perm-apiculture meeting

Tonight I will be going to a meeting of the Perm-apiculture club a subgroup of Permaculture Melbourne. I am sure I will learn a lot and hope to update you all here afterwards.
Today I went out and bought some bee friendly plants so my bees won't have to travel as far as if I didn't plant them. I will plant oregano, geranium, thyme, chives, lemon balm and borage propagated from already existing plants from my own garden and lavender, agastache and alyssum from my trip to the nursery. I got the information on bee friendly plants from here among other sites. There were lots of sites for UK and US gardens, but the sites for Australia that I could find did not cater so much for the European honey bee as for Australian native bees. I am guessing that since the European honey bee evolved with herbs and flowers of common garden plants that I couldn't really go wrong with my list. I will be observing them in any case to see how they go. I know they have been loving the borage, raspberries and thyme so far. Till next time..ciao.

Image attribution:
Image: '' by Christine Majul