Thursday, May 30, 2013

Under the Laburnums

We really should start a tradition of picnics under the laburnums when they are thrumming with bumble bees.

 The bumble bees and honey bees also love these alliums which look like fireworks.

And for the calming version of the alliums, head over to the white garden.

 I like this white version of the perennial cornflower, especially with a side order of honeybees.

 Masterwort is a good bee plant for dreary late spring days.

 This shows the inspired interplanting, integrating the shades of pale green and the burgundy, with a good use of texture.

 There were bumble bees in the red white and blue comfrey.

 The pollen from this false indigo is lighter in color than the lupin pollen. ˙Her suitcases are overflowing!

 This honeybee fits so nicely in the rosemary flowers. Her abdomen in distended with a nectar load.

It's bloomin' squid!

 There weren't any bees in this columbine patch, but there were some mining bees hanging around the green mulch nearby.

 You can really see why this is called milk thistle.

Another good choice for your white bee garden. The milk thistles I've grown have always been purple.

Here are my seedlings waited to be potted up.

Kale Blossom Mango Lassis at Moberly Community Arts Centre

 Yesterday was a cold and wet Vancouver day, so the only bees out were the bravest bumble bees. This bee was drinking from this tiny snow berry blossom with incredible focus and it was shaking--almost as though shivering. I think the shape of this blossom protects the nectar from being watered down.

These nodding onions buds are just starting to open.

You can see why some varieties of this kind of lavender is called "butterfly lavender."

 So let's go into the kitchen! I demonstrated my way of making kale chips. Preheat the oven and pans to 350 degrees F. Masage kale with olive oil and salt. Turn off the oven. Put one layer of kale on the heated pans. Try not to let the leaves overlap. You will hear a slight sizzle. Put the pans in the oven for about 20 minutes or until crispy.

 I passed around the chips and then crumbled the rest to make the gomashio in The Book of Kale by Sharon Hanna. I coudn't find seaweed flakes, so my friend Lori Snyder cut some nori into strips. We served this on top of avocado on brown rice crackers. This is one of my favorite snacks.

 We used the gomashio to season naked pumpkin seed and kale blossom  pesto. The arugula is really spicy at this time of the year, so I mix it with the kale blossoms to mediate the heat.

 I hadn't used a blender to make pesto before, and had to add extra oil to make it work. I reccomend using a food processor so you can use less oil. Sometimes when you do workshops, you have to work with what's available!

 So I forgot the yogurt to make the mango smoothies, but I went with the flow and made vegan smoothies. This one is decorated with edible flowers from the Moberly Community Herb garden: calendula, borage, lavender, and cat nip.

Madame Beespeaker's Kale Blossom Lassis

For 1 big serving or 2 small servings:

1 large ripe mango

1 handful kale blossoms

3 tbs low fat yogurt

1 cup coconut water

1/2 tsp grated fresh turmeric

2 ice cubes


1/4 tsp freshly ground green cardamom seeds

Cut as much flesh from the mango as you can and put aside. Put the coconut water in the blender first, followed by the other ingredients. Pulse and blend until smooth. Add more yogurt or coconut water to your taste. If you want to keep this vegan, you could use coconut milk, coconut yogurt, or add more coconut water. If you want to keep the recipe more local, use dairy milk or your own nut milk instead of coconut water and substitute some of your canned or frozen peaches (if you're lucky have any left at this time of the year). Garnish with the cardamom and edible flowers. Enjoy!

 The little Labrador tea plant in the garden is blooming. Lori says it can be used to make a hangover remedy. I'll put that in my files!

 The shade garden at Moberly looks fantastic in the rain.

Oh poor sodden bee, hanging on to wallflowers waiting for the sun to come out. I know how you feel.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

MOPARRC Spring Tea Party at the Means of Production Garden

 On the way to the Means of Production I found this skinny syrphid in a shasta daisy.

These guys eat aphids, so we like them in our gardens.

 The willow snake that you saw at the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Garden now has a permanent home here.

The urban weavers make coils out of invasive plants.

Erin (pink sprout) and Julia (ivy diva) from the Environmental Youth Alliance make "bee bombs" containing a pollinator seed mix.

Bees of Ireland

I found a fascinating article on Ireland's Wildlife about a movement to save the pollinators of Ireland. Check out the bee that nests in abandoned snail shells!

Mango Lassies for Bees: Avens Geum 'Mango Lassi'

I was in VanDusen Gardens on Sunday doing Citizan Scientist training with Erin Udall of the Environmental Youth Alliance. It was cool and overcast, threatening rain, but by eleven thirty the bees were out foraging. I discovered this amazing variety of Avens that would be wonderful in a bee garden. This little bee is one of my favorite solitary bees, with the big pollen pants and the buff hairs on its thorax. It is so calm that you can stick the camera right into the flower, and it just ignores you.

And here is what I deem the Vozzy Bear of Bumble Bees: Bombus vosnesenskii.

It's funny, because these days I am developing a recipe for kale blossom mango smoothies with freshly grated turmeric, fresh mango, yogurt, coconut water, ice cubes and kale blossoms. Manog smoothies all around!

Madame Beespeaker at The South Hill Festival

Did you know pollen comes in all these different colours?

We had a steady stream of folks making messages for the bees.

I will be at the Moberly Herb Garden Most Wednesdays this summer, so stay tuned for more information about how you can get involved in the Moberly Community Herb Garden.