Saturday, November 27, 2010

Floral Clock

This past week we had our first heavy frost and a dump of snow. Some of our plants weren't ready for this abrupt drop in temperature, so we will lose some of the more tender vegetation.

Now that it's started to snow I am dreaming about ordering seeds and growing flowers. Today I learned that Carl Linnaeus conceived of a floral clock that marked the passing of time based on the behavior of the flowers at certain times on the day.

I am researching a project that my partner and I plan to work on that is about ecological time, so I was thrilled to see that a local Vancouver group of artists is working on a version of a flower clock that would work in Vancouver's zone. Proximity Arts has created a Wikipedia page on their project. I love it! I'd like to create a version of this clock using bee garden flowers.

Are you starting a wish list for your garden next year?

In my local library, we had a chat about this very topic and one person said she is going to grow ground cherries. Another said he will grow tomatilloes. I know I am going to try for some pumpkins and gourds next year and I am curious to try for the chayote squash that my neighbors are so good at growing. First I've got to taste one, though! What will you grow next year?

Monday, November 1, 2010

Come Tell the Bees: A Shrine for Our Ancestors

Marriage, birth or burying,
News across the seas,
All your sad or merrying,
You must tell the bees.

For several weeks our creativity circle has been working on a shrine for All Souls at Mountainview cemetery. We made a lantern in the shape of a bee skep made of handmade paper. We installed the lantern Saturday afternoon and spent the evening at the shrine inviting people to make messages that would be carried by the bees. We had some very meaningful conversations and what I liked was that people left messages about births as well as messages for their loved ones who have passed on.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Winter Squash

On Saturday I went to the final UBC Farm market for the year. The winter squash was lovely and I wished I had a half ton truck to cart some home. I bought some honey crisp apples from an organic farm in Summerland and some tomatilloes from the Mayan gardeners. I am still cooking up recipes using a pumpkin I bought at Home Grow-In. This morning we had pumpkin pancakes with maple syrup and pecans. I really wanted some whipped cream. Whipped cream and pumpkins are BFF.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Thanksgiving Feast for the Bees

Yes, even the bees get a special treat for Thanksgiving. At this time of the year they need fattening up for the winter and there is not a lot of fall forage out there. There are cosmos, Jerusalem artichokes, some sunflowers and asters, but let's face it, the sources of pollen and nectar are dwindling. So we mix up two parts sugar (4 c) to one part water (2 c) and blend in a pollen patty. As you can see, the bees are hungry and they immediately slurp up the smoothie with their tongues.

We are worried about our bees because when we checked them two weeks ago they had lost yet another queen. They had made three good queen cells so our fingers are crossed that one strong queen will hatch and help them make it through the winter. We've had really bad luck with our queens this year. I hope next year will be better.

I am drying the fennel and hops from the front of our house, but most of the hops grew way up beyond our reach. I need a trained squirrel to harvest them.

My amaranth fell over after the rain, so I've been stringing them up. I brought one head inside to see if the seeds will ripen.

I harvested some fennel twigs for school art projects.

After a lovely warm day working in the garden it was time for the human's Thanksgiving feast: squash, brussel sprouts, turkey with stuffing, cranberry jelly and my pumpkin pie made from scratch. I think the bees would have liked the German dessert wine we had with the pie. Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fall Flowers at City Hall

Captain Vancouver looks over the community garden and gives out healthy eating tips.

Meanwhile, we are harvesting some zucchinis which will be raffled off at our school tonight.

Many plants have powdery mildew now, but the lupins don't seem bothered by it.

As I was pulling out the rotting tomato plants the chickadees kept flying to the sunflowers and plucking out seeds. Can you spot the chickadee in this photo?

These tall plants are mullein in the Aboriginal healing garden.

The amaranth is such a rich color.

A very soggy bumble bee is drying out in the sun in a cosmo.

Even the syrphid flies are a bit slow this morning.

The white garden is one of my favorite spots at city hall. Let's hope the sun sticks around and creates dry conditions for seed saving.