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Author Topic: Hi from Serena (an organic rose gardener who loves honeybees)  (Read 4106 times)
SerenaSYH
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« on: May 02, 2011, 03:47:52 AM »

Greetings everyone! My name is Serena and I came here as a hobbyist. I have 3 things that I absolutely love - my Border Collie Eluane, organic rose gardening, and having honeybees in my garden. I wish I had found this forum earlier Cheesy I have always loved honeybees and bumblebees, but I had never planted or gardened in my life. I started gardening in 2009 and started with a tree rose from Costco. I just happened to see its gorgeous photo label dangling from its stark bare branches and eagerly bought it on impulse. Only afterwards did I think...hmmm maybe I should buy a shovel, hahahaha! And then I started my own online research willy-nilly bugging rose gardeners if they knew which roses and plants attract the most bees, lol! wrong place to ask when most rose gardeners are heavy fungicide and insecticide users, and then I got into debates and arguments and pleading about how bad and dangerous Sevin was to the bees and making tons of American rose gardeners super mad at me, lol! so I've always been quite a troublemaker, --hope that doesn't scare anyone here...  Lips Sealed And then I went on a huge and yikes! expensive shopping spree of trying to buy every so-called bee attractive plant available that would be great rose companions such as meadow sage/salvia, catmint, nepata, agastache, bee balm, lavender, nasturtium, geraniums all to no avail. Also there is an ornamental plum tree, a highly fragrant unidentified flowering tree that has drooping tiny white clusters of flowers in it (smells like honeysuckle/lilac) and a huge Linden tree- in my garden and still no honeybees at all.  Sad It was not until I bought two Russian sage plants in July 2010 that tons of bees finally came to my garden, hurrrray! Now I visit local nurseries at the beginning of every season to observe which blooms the Kansas honeybees flock to. They are true Divas, lol, and Prima Donnas! I noticed that Kansas honeybees will completely ignore all plants in the nursery except for their single most favorite plant. For example in late March-early April the honeybees would mob the Snowfountain Prunus Cherry tree but would completely ignore the other blooming ornamental cherries, the Juneberries, the fruiting apple tree hybrids, the crabapple hybrid, the ornamental plum, and yes, even the apricot fruiting tree. The only plant they were obsessed with was that Snowfountain cherry even if the blooms were fading. The same thing happened when the holly trees were brought into the nursery. The bees would completely ignore the rest of the nursery and would obsess over the holly. If those plants weren't there, the honeybees would simply disperse. That is why I really value this forum's videos on plants which are truly attract the honeybees and would like to personally thank whoever started that thread. Trying to chase after concrete proof of whether a plant has "hive potential" is darn difficult. Even to this day I'm still having to rely on hearsay instead of real visual evidence.

For 2011, these are the new plants I'm trying out. I have about 30 new plants of sage and about 10 new plants of heather/heath. I also have one stonecrop sedum plant that is supposed to be a light pink when it blooms. I will be buying the Snowfountain cherry as soon as that dreadful Bradford pear that smells like rotting plastic is cut down (it came with the original house). I have also bought 3 bushes of holly that are still waiting to be planted once the lawn person digs out my barberry and the hedges. I am right now questioning the wisdom of growing hollyhocks, because I suspect that only bumblebees will like the hollyhocks, but I did need something taller to help hide the posts of my raised patio since Climber roses struggle to "climb" in my cold zone. I also have a very large circle of retaining paver blocks surrounding my front yard maple tree where I've already sown Dutch white clover and crimson clover. By placing the clover within the boundaries of the pavers, it notifies the lawn person not to put herbicides in that region. We have home association requirements and restrictions. Beehives are outlawed in our county (GRRRRRR!) and no unkept, weedy lawns are allowed either. Other things that are a must are non-invasive plants that won't compete for space with my hybrid teas. Hybrid teas are notoriously fussy do and will get sick from Blackspot if they don't have enough airflow. I have 23 roses now, and am no longer the silly Newbie rose gardener that I once was, lol! so I have to coordinate both types of plants-- the roses and the bee-loved plants....

Any suggestions anyone? I would like to embed a few image links of my garden, my pup, and the bees in my garden if I can get permission to add them to my thread here....so stay tuned Smiley
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2011, 05:51:07 AM »

>I got into debates and arguments and pleading about how bad and dangerous Sevin was to the bees

Now you can have debates and arguments pleading about how bad and dangerous Apistan and Cumophos are to bees...
Wink
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Michael Bush
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Scadsobees
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« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2011, 02:11:09 PM »

Suggestions?

Yup - camouflage hives, painted greenish or tree bark brown  grin.  Or keep one in your garage with a hole to the backyard....

My bees love maples in the early spring, my cherry trees, dandelion, sedum, spider flower, milkweed and lots more.  And keep in mind that you can only attract as many as are in the area.  I only ever saw a few before I got my own hives.

Because during the main flow they are going to concentrate on the high availablility plants like linden, clovers, knapweeds, etc (depending on your area) you might focus on plants that bloom good when those plants aren't in bloom.  Early and late bloomers are good for that.  Russian sage is good fill in for a mid-summer nectar dearth.

As far as I can tell, bees don't care much for roses (or pear or even apple all that much), so I wouldn't be against a judicious use of Sevin on roses... Wink
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SerenaSYH
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« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2011, 04:43:06 PM »

lol, about trying to camouflage one's hives and hiding them from nosy neighbors. Hey, Kansas honeybees don't like maple. They sure don't like my maples and my Linden. The one flowering tree they should have gone crazy for was my extremely fragrant unidentified tree becasue it had the perfect flower shape and clustering and size of stamens. It's a curse that Kansas honeybees are extremely picky. Seems to me they thumb their little noses at cherries as well. They only seem to like only one or 2 types of cherries and stay far, far away from dandelions. We've got fields of dandelion in areas that are being redeveloped. No honeybees. But they are like typical honeybees in terms of going wacko over clover and Russian sage. I got swarms on my Russian sage but other than that Kansas honeybees seem as picky as Divas but once they get a "power plant" they definitely stay! That's the type of plant I am really looking for. I'm not so interested in just getting a few here and there. And yes, I've done the research for spring, summer, and fall but hope more people will post videos for me to see those bees on their specific plant like the thread on this forum in the gardening section.

Rick, don't give me a simultaneous stroke and heartache, lol. I hate Sevin with a passion. What people don't realize is that dang stuff carries in the wind and any sort of breeze. The rose gardeners spray it like mad because they hate the JBs (Japanese beetles). My dad only sprayed the foundations of his house and I didn't know about it until too late. Within a week, all the honeybees and bumblebees that used to love visiting his gardens completely! disappeared (he had bunches of lilac, honeysuckle, and clover). Wrote to Walmart and talked to my local nurseries about what happened to my Dad's garden. No one listened of course. It's too popular of an insecticide in the States. Hate, hate, hate that stuff with a passion.

Nothing wrong with Apistan huh so I'm not laughing about that! It's very effective against varroa, ya gotta do what ya have to do! Not quite as sure about Cumophos. Apistan seems a lot more safe, but I'm not a professional beekeeper so I don't know anything on that.

Why doesn't anyone try heather or heath here in the States? It's so much more beautiful of a plant it seems and is supposed to be very popular with bees in England? Anyone here try it?Huh I may try Hypericum later after I see how large my newly planted perennials end up being and to test out my spacing


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Michael Bush
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« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2011, 12:33:03 AM »

>Apistan seems a lot more safe

Than Cumaphos?  Yes.  Safe for bees?  No.  Safer for the Mites as well.  Apistan has had no effect on mites for some time.  I don't know why they still allow it on the market.  Last time I treated with Apistan I lost ALL my hives to Varroa.  That was the last time I treated and the last time I lost any hives to Varroa... there are better solutions...

http://bushfarms.com/beesfoursimplesteps.htm
http://bushfarms.com/beesnaturalcell.htm
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Michael Bush
My website:  bushfarms.com/bees.htm
My book:  ThePracticalBeekeeper.com
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SerenaSYH
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« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2011, 02:09:37 AM »

wow, this is verrrrry interesting information, Michael, and I'm learning tons! And so sorry to hear about the lost hives. What a bummer! but it's really neat to find out about the other options that you tried against varroa that were so successful!

Maybe one of these days I will get so zzzzzapped into the bee world that I'll be sneaking around breakin' the senseless Kansas laws by having my own hive, lol! Except for one thing, hehe! I have to constantly entertain my border collie and you bet I've wacked my plants several times with a flying frisbee lol! We still play frisbee with our loveable fuzzy striped "teddybears" but Eluane does get distracted on several occasions. She is so hilarious to watch because her head will go around in crazy circles. I'm just glad she doesn't herd them the way she does with the rabbits, lol! And as gentle as the honeybees are, I'm not sure they'd like me wacking their house with that Frisbee, lol! It's amazing though how well animals can sense and adapt. But if you have a beginning baby hive for example and they are used to certain presence in a garden who knows the possibility of the adaptation. Or maybe I'm just an optimistic kook. But a flying frisbee wacking a hive is gonna make most go berserk unless they're used to my terrrrible aim, haha! I have lost so many frisbees by accidentally throwing them into the gutter. My rose bushes bear the battle scars of my bad aim as well!But yeah, I can guarantee the hive would be wacked at one point or another and I bet that would be some dang painful lesson involving a stupid owner and her innocent victim the dog, haha! Maybe a hive outside my bedroom window? lol, the roof? hmmmm, just kidding. Here in ultra rigid, ultra conservative Johnson County, a girl on the roof would be quite a sight and people might drag me to the loony bin.  grin
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Mshel
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« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2011, 07:32:57 AM »

Hello from one country girl to another  grin
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Scadsobees
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« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2011, 09:20:22 AM »

Ah...no worries...my kids have enjoyed shooting toy arrows at the hive, earlier this spring they were kicking the hive to get some more bees out so they could try out their new nets rolleyes.  Yeah, they got a good dressing down. jail   They love standing by the hive in late summer catching drones too. A frisbee once in a while wouldn't hurt too much.

As to laws...technically I'm allowed to keep bees where I am, but technically I'm not either, depending on what your definition of a poisonous insect is (bees aren't insects, they are tiny angels with butt-swords).

I figured the sevin mention would get your goat!!  tongue  I did mention judicious...and judicious means not spraying while windy!!  I don't spray much anymore, but I have used orchard spray on trees with hives underneath - never when windy and with extreme care, and never had any issues.  And I despise japanese beetles as much as the next person.  I'm not sure what your dad did while spraying, but unless somehow he sprayed the whole hive while treating the house or got the whole yard causing hives to fail, there was something else going on there, most stuff only blooms for about a week, then the bees move on to the next source (and they don't care about lilacs and many varieties of honeysuckle).

Even though I've got 9 hives in my little back yard, I don't see all that many in the yard most of the year.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2011, 10:24:26 PM »

>that I'll be sneaking around breakin' the senseless Kansas laws by having my own hive, lol!

There is no law against beekeeping in Kansas...
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Michael Bush
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SerenaSYH
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« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2011, 01:04:33 AM »

Hi, Mshel! Here's Grrrrrrrrl power to us and the little girl bees, hehe! and hi again, Michael and Scadsofbees! Michael, I did a whoops! Kansas allows beekeeping but not in my specific county, which is Johnson County, the largest county in Kansas City. It is forbidden, even if you have a license. You have to go outside of my county. This is what a Kansas Beekeeper informed me when I told him it would be wonderful to be able to get a beehive. He told me they would remove the hive and fine me as well. But I always joke that I'm a bit of a troublemaker and a rebel. banana devil It just seems senseless and stupid to have this law. Are people that phobic about bees??? sheesh! I have heard that in NYC, they have hives on the rooftops. If NYC can do it, why can't we?Huh  rolleyes

Scadsofbees, hehe, about the toy arrows! and the tiny angels with butt swords! Wow, I can't believe what those little angels have to put up with your naughty little ones. Pretty funny! Well, Scadsofbees, the thing is that there is always wind and breezes. There is never such a thing as a still day. If you stand stock-still you can still feel that wind move. My dad has never had a hive in his garden and he is all organics except my Mom convinced him that she was sick and tired of all these ants in their house so he had to get something to take care of the ants. Well some bozo at Walmart told him that Sevin was the only and best thing to do to take care of the ants (plenty of better options for ants) so that's how he ended up spraying the foundations of the house. Well it was enough to suddenly obliterate all the honeybees and bumblebees. To this day they have never returned. My dad's garden used to swarm with honeybees and bumblebees because he had all the old hybrids of crabapples, honeysuckles, lilac, clover, the apple tree, the marigolds, the begonias that the bees enjoyed, so his garden was a very important food source for them and he accidentally wiped them out with the Sevin. He feels really, really bad about the whole thing, but nothing can be done at this point. Also pesticides will weaken a bee eventually and they will far more be likely to succumb to Varroa mites and other diseases. I am thinking this is one of the things that are not good, the long term effects of pesticides.

O.K. here are my intro photos (hope they work this time). Darn there is still that warning ban so I will just have to put the post on another thread or contact Admin! Will talk soon!

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Mshel
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« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2011, 08:03:18 PM »

I love your posts Serena they are fun to read. Yes to Girrrl Power ha ha! I cant belive that where you live in Kansas has that law, but Ive never been to Kansas before. . . . Ah, poor Dorothy (ha,ha). I'll have to add Kansas to my travel list.

I use to use Sevin too and I loved it because it got rid of EVERYTHING, but a few years back I went to the hardware store to get some more and was told it was pulled. Yeah, that was some pretty powerful stuff. Its funny how you can rely on the stores to get you the good stuff for your yard, but it was pure poison.

 tumbleweed
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SerenaSYH
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« Reply #11 on: May 04, 2011, 08:30:49 PM »

lol, yeah it's either because suburbanites are bee phobic or with so many people living right next to each other if someone was allergic to bees they'd throw a fit. But not always! Bless one of my neighbors several houses away. He is indeed allergic to bees but doesn't mind them around. He says oh, well, I can always take a shot if need be, lol! There needs to be more like him. I may very well have been allergic to bees myself, my Mom used to get stung by yellowjackets. She loves bees but hates the yellowjackets. Her fingers swell up to sausages, and each time she gets stung the symptoms get progressively worse. But bees are soooo gentle anyway. There are plenty of folks like my Mom and the neighbor who are perfectly fine with the bees. I've had a large yellowjacket crawl all over my fingers for 2-3 minutes when I was 15 years old, I could feel the stinger and prickly legs drag all around. It was the longest 3 minutes ever! tried to keep as still as a rock lol!

Hey, great news! Robo came to the rescue! so not only do I have the chance to post my intro photos here, but now I can share and exchange information links I find online too for discussions about gardens and the honeybees....Whoo-hoo!

Here are my honeybees:




The tree rose that got me started with the honeybees and gardening:


My rose garden:







Here is me:


Here is my beautiful border collie Eluane sending her smiles out to everyone here at the forum!
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hardwood
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« Reply #12 on: May 04, 2011, 08:51:03 PM »

Serena, I love your photos! Please keep 'em coming!

Scott
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« Reply #13 on: May 04, 2011, 08:58:57 PM »

Yeah, nice pictures. I love flowers, but dont have a green thumb. Tried several times, but I dont have the time needed to dedicate to them. I try each year, but I have to stick to potted ones.  rainbow sunflower

I prefer to cut stuff down- gimmy my chain saw hehe! chop chop
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SerenaSYH
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« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2011, 10:33:02 PM »

Thanks so much, Scott and Mshel!

Scott, wowwww, last night I caught side of your very informative thread on beehive comparisons. But for some maddening reason I went back through the forum and can't find the thread! You showed several gorgeous photos comparing the hives as you removed the slats. I have so many questions on that. Viable versus nonviable and also differences on how fast a honeybee can "fatten up" I actually have a chronology of photos before and after I grew Russian sage and awhile back I had a discussion with an antique rose grower who once studied bees at graduate school about whether it was the same bees from the same hive. He says 9 days' time is too short to see the difference, whereas my photos do show an incremental change in the bees' appearance and energy level I thought. He says they are from different hives. But to me, I can definitely see the gloss gradually come to the fur, whereas before it was very dull fur that had no shine to it. I realize that bees aren't supposed to eat the nectar directly but to store it then regurgitate it. But with all mammals like birds, the wolf, etc. when they eat the food then regurgitate it for the brood those nutrients are still inadvertently stored and filtered into the body anyway. Trace amounts are still absorbed into the body, in other words. But since he actually studied bees, he is probably right on the mark instead of my wild guessing! I simply was curious about what you'd think.

Hopefully, I will eventually find your thread again to ask my newbie questions and to post my progression of photos. The photos on your thread were brilliant and so clear-in focus camera details, and I started to drool all over again seeing all those bees clustered in one spot! Sad to say, even the "weak" hive you showed me still seem stronger than the bees that visited my holly this year- much larger than mine! However the holly bees are indeed completely different than my Russian sage bees. The bees on the 2011 holly bushes are much darker and "swarthier". It's those details I do notice.

Mshel, believe me, I am worse than you because I never give up and leave a very traceable and obvious trail of dead plant carcasses along the way, hehe! And POTTED PLANTS ARE EVEN WORSE. Any plant I bring indoors become as dead as a doornail because I'm too busy either taking care of or killing the plants outside. When I first started having a garden, I made the horrible mistake of growing gladiolus which are extremely invasive. That stuff spreads like wildfire, and I'm busy murdering shoots that spring up every single day, cursing under my breath like some psycho-woman. I'm also busy murdering perennials that fail to attract honeybees. In fact just outside my doorway is a capsized bee balm and a dug up agastache laying out in the open  beat a dead horse I also had to bury roses that I had no business attempting to grow in my climate zone. (I've buried 3 tree roses that died from rain-induced canker, I now grow my tree roses in a sheltered porch to keep from the rains), I buried 3 roses that were not climate appropriate to my zone and still I am stubbornly trying to grow one more inappropriate climate zone rose using crazy new methods like styrofoam peanuts, burlap and wire to tie it all in for the winter, lol! And the death toll continues to rise... But I guess when one grows 23 roses every year, killing roses and plants means keeping our beloved nurseries in Business. So KILLING is a good thing, when it comes to plants, haha!
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« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2011, 10:05:05 AM »

Serena- Yes, I have a problem with the indoor ones too. I have a spider plant and I only have that because you cant kill it ha ha! Ive had it for over 10 years now. I'll forget about it for weeks and then see it looking sad (drooping), give it some H20 and it's back in business. Other than that I stay away from too many indoor plants. My daughter tries to grow something every year, so maybe she will have the green thumb (her grandma does, so maybe she inherited it).

Yeah, at the end of each season I just chuck my potted plants, or whats left of them. I think I keep trying because I love to see the pretty colors and flowers just brighten your day.  Smiley When I drive by my neighbor's houses I'm like "Oh, I want that in my yard" - there should be a disclaimer at the plant shops for people like me. It should say" stick to what you are good at and walk away now" ha ha ha.

My last house looked like a flower factory. I bought it in the winter, (never do that) so when summer came EVERYTHING in my yard bloomed. It was beautiful but I had to spend every weekend trying to keep it all up. My car was pink because of all the falling flowers. It looked like my house was in a forest ha ha! - hence my lovely chain saw hehe! If I had a picture I would show you.

Oh yeah, and with a house like that I had more bees than I knew what to do with. The Bumblebees loved me the most. I could never figure out why, but they always wanted to be near me . . . bee
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SerenaSYH
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« Reply #16 on: May 09, 2011, 02:19:50 AM »

Hi, Mshel, I had a good chuckle with your statement, "the Bumblebees loved me the most". To that I would respond, a bee knows a Good Woman when they see one, hehe! Also my Gentle Dad shares that Good trait. He is very patient, calm and slow moving, the complete opposite of my whirling dervish of a Mom! I'm like my Mom, extremely fidgety, hyper and never still or calm unless I'm at work. Only then do I settle into obsessive intensity and focus. Well, with my gentle Dad, he can attract all kinds of living creatures. When we were at Powell Gardens visiting the special butterfly exhibit, the butterflies would constantly land on him, lol! no chance of that happening with me and my Mom, haha! the butterflies wouldn't land on anyone save for my Dad. Some people just have that Magic to them, haha!

Hey, also hope you had a fantastic Mother's Day too with your daughter. Eluane, my border collie, just celebrated her birthday the day before Mother's Day. Eluane's my "fur baby" as dog owners in England term it.

About plants, my favorite rose forums are the Peter Beales forum in England for rose information, friendships, and organics, and the Rose Gallery at Gardenweb for the friendships themselves. At both forums my moniker and title is the Lumpy, Lopsided Gardener. My garden is actually extremely ugly for a rose gardener, because many of my plants are still babies and seedlings and have a long way to go before the plant matures and fills out. Lol, I bet I still outkill you in terms of plants and I should wear a disclaimer that says Beware of the Lumpy Lopsided Gardener outside of my gate, and on my shopping cart too, lol! But that's what's so great about being so over-enthused. We never give up, and we always try our hardest. One of these days it will work, lol! (I think, haha!)

Bumblebees are the most lovey-dovey, don't you think? They are so easy-going, laid back and very easy to please when it comes to selecting flowers for them, and they even will visit the fragrant single open-faced antique roses. Not so with the finicky, picky diva honeybee! I notice I love high-maintenance, time-consuming creatures like Border Collies, honeybees and the fragile, fussy hybrid teas. Bumblebees are the only laid back creature I've ever been interested in. However, most do not exist in my neighborhood as well. Everyone uses Merit on their grass and I suspect grubkillers kill off all bumblebees. It's been ages since I've seen a bumblebee. Only those dang Carpenter bees. My neighborhood has tons of Carpenters...
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« Reply #17 on: May 09, 2011, 09:02:25 PM »

A very happy belated birthday to your fur baby Eluane! grin  Also I did have a nice Mother's Day w/ my daughter, thanks.

As for the Bumblebees, yeah they are lovey dovey alright . . . I could go in the house and come back out and they'd still find me. ha ha!  I think they wanted to help me mow the lawn (hehe!) I do however think they are rather cute . . . loud, but cute. bee

I think I had at least 4-5 types of bees in that yard. I even had the little itsy bitsy bees. There was a hive under a landscaping rock in my front yard that I "stumbled" across on accident while weed eating one day. Needless to say I kept the mower and week eater away from them as much as possible. They liked that rock, so I let them live in peace.

Even if your garden is lopsided your flowers still look amazing to me. Your perseverance will pay off, so keep up the good work.
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« Reply #18 on: July 31, 2011, 04:33:02 PM »

Hi, everyone! Since it's already midsummer I'm back with updates on my honeybee supporting, organic gardening efforts. The baby heath and heather that I was growing for the honeybees were doing absolutely fabulous! they loved the sea tea, and the coffee grinds and tea leaves, but then the disastrous heat struck in July. So many have died off, even the ones I water daily. The heat is just too much for the roots to withstand. I will make one more effort in 2012 with one gallon plants. Heath/heather are supposed to be drought resistant, but not as babies. They are very fragile and tender.

Here is one of the heather I purchased. It's in the pot. For those of you in the Pacific Northwest with cooler temps or in the upper East coast, it is a totally gorgeous plant to have in the garden.




Here are the best of my 2011 bee photos...The Russian Sage is again attracting hordes of honeybees....




Oregano is successful, just not crazy-mobbing like the RS...



Here are the best of my 2011 Roses so far...

Folklore Hybrid Tea




Lincoln Hybrid Tea



Cornelia Hybrid Musk


Cornelia Hybrid Musk and my little Border Collie Eluane


Anna de Diesbach


Frederic Mistral


Maggie Bourbon Rose


America Hybrid Tea Climbing Rose


Distant Drums



Royal Sunset (note: same rose but different bloom variations)



A non-rose, non-bee attracting flower. Wish every pretty flower would attract the bees


Here's wishing everyone a happy Honeybee season!
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specialkayme
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Location: Central NC - (somewhere either in Raleigh, Greensboro, or inbetween)


« Reply #19 on: July 31, 2011, 06:28:40 PM »

Lovely photos, keep them coming!

Welcome to the site!
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