Friday, June 13, 2014

Father's Day Garlic Chives and Thyme: Squeeze it In for the Bees

It seems like not long ago the mason bees were pollinating the cherry blossoms and now the fruits are already starting to turn red. The B.C. strawberries are ready to pick and by all accounts it has been a great year for that crop, with just enough sun and rain to make the berries juicy and ripe. It's time to take the spring radishes out of the garden and switch to the winter radishes--you can buy black radish seeds at West Coast Seeds. I've got some Holy Basil to transplant out into the garden, and then it will be time to clean up the back porch to get the winter garden seedling going. The sugar snap peas are coming fast and furious and the baby fava beans are growing by leaps and bounds. Some of the squash plants have buds on them. The garlic is scaping, the blackberries are blooming and the air is thick with the fragrance of climbing roses.

The hebe at Moberly Community Herb garden has bloomed for the first time in four years since the garden was first installed and it is attracting little turquoise sweat bees. The variegated sage is fiercely defended by wooly carder bees and the leaf cutter bees have started to cut polka dots out of my rose leaves just as we are saying toodleloo and pip pip to the final spring mason bees.

The gardens are pretty full, but I will still sow skinny little plants in between what is there. Verbena bonariensis is a great peek-a-boo-perennial for hummingbirds and bees that you can squeeze into your garden. The fall/winter starts are coming out in the stores now and you can buy sweet little baby garlic chives to squeeze in a pot or a garden just in time for father's day, or buy little pot of thyme for father's who have all the time in the world for their children. Squeeze in some alyssum and little patches of blossoming sedum, but do create bare, sandy patches of soil for those ground-nesting bees. Buy a big strawberry pot and fill it with well-draining sandy soil and see if the ground-nesting bees will use it to make a home. You can add some rocks and shells add interest, but leave bare patches for the bees. Use the current craze for miniature gardens to create a scene or two in your pot.

Join me tomorrow at Champlain Heights for Vancouver Draw Down fun and then Sunday at the Village Vancouver transition Village at Main and 13th where I will be hanging out with Brian Campbell of the Bee School dude. Bring your burning questions about bees!

Hot Tip: Shanti's Curries, a new shop on Main between 25th and 26th will be selling some awesome crispy onion pakoras and Shaktea will be giving out samples of their new house-made crumpets.

Photo: Easter egg radishes and pickled sunchokes

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