Thursday, June 8, 2017

Postcards from the Summerland Ornamental Garden in May

Can you spot the crab spider in the dessert yellow fleabane (Erigeron linearis)?

 Round-leaved alumroot (Heuchera cylindrica) looks lovely en masse, especially with the pink variations mixed in. The bumblebees LOVE it!

Look at this awesome stump! Perfect for cavity nesting bees.

When looking for a bee nest, look closely at the bark, and note the size and depth of the holes.

I  noticed that the holes are really rough inside and these mason bee condos are not located close enough to the mason bee forage. Good intentions though!

 I had fun watching this bumblebee get covered in orange pollen from this ornamental allium. The colour of the pollen reminds me of Cheezie dust!

My partner in crime Jasna Guy spent a long time studying the shrubby penstemon. Can't wait to see her photos!!!!

The shrubby penstemon was  one of the busiest plants we saw that day. It's an awesome, tough plant that puts the "x" in xeriscape!

The butterfly garden is also a great place for bees with this huge chokecherry tree, redflowering currant, clove currant, antelope brush, nepeta, bugle and more.

This spot with the bugle under the nepeta was particularly attractive to this noisy silver bear of a bee. It was very possessive of this site. A black-chinned hummingbird perched on tree above these flowers.

I caught a nectar nicker in the bleeding hearts and swear I could actually hear the "crunch" as she bit into the top of the flower!

I've decided to do a whole other blog post on the antelope brush because it's so fascinating. What a fantastic time to visit this garden!!!! Hope to come back again and again.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Living Library Day at Riley Park Community Garden

 We started out the printing process by creating a bee drawing to transfer to a rubber block.

Artist Jasna Guy taught the students how to carve the blocks and create prints on paper.

Then I worked with the students to create collaborative pieces by sharing stamps and passing around the emerging artwork.

Finally, students added the names of top plants for pollinators in the Lower Mainland, researched by Dr. Elle's lab at Simon Fraser University.

These collaborative works of art will be shown at events in the community in "clothesline exhibitions."

Earlier in the process, students did watercolour paintings of bees.

These rubber stamps are easier to carve than linoleum, but can be a bit fragile.

Guess which piece Ms. Kool made!!

Then we took the process to Rile Park for our Living Library Day. This was one of the activity stations students worked at while discussing topics close to their hearts.

 Art talked about the natural history of the site and soil science, Anya gave a tree talk, and Thomas led a yoga circle.

Tamara led the wood-chip moving crew, to form the paths that make the garden take shape.

Jess led the weeding party and had interesting conversations with students. Once they got started weeding, they didn't want to switch stations!

Plantain is one of the common garden weeds in Vancouver. If you get stung by a bee, wash up a leave, chew it and apply it to the sting.

One of the boys found and named this ragged moth.

Yoga was also popular!!!

 Students helped prep these elements which will be part of future garden signage.

Wendy led the students in further adventures in printmaking, getting them to take risks and try new techniques.

This is what the future of education looks like!

Now the herb garden is clearly defined. Hopefully the squirrels who have been uprooting and eating the herbs will get the message.

After the event, our youngest garden helpers checked out the new pollinator patch in the parking lot. I counted 6 species of bees foraging in the lacy phacelia, California poppy, California bluebells, and baby blue eyes.

It looks like a coyote has been snoozing in this cozy spot.

Blue orchard mason bee and mixed bumblebee.

A honeybee carrying the purple pollen from this plant. In German it is known as "bienen freunde" or the bee's friend.

 Another species of solitary bee.

This solitary bee is carrying dry pollen, so it is a light purple colour. Bumblebees and honeybees mix a bit of bee spit into their pollen loads, so it appears much darker.

The pollen on the anthers is a light periwinkle blue.

This bumblebee has been foraging on another plant with rich chocolate-coloured pollen--maybe red clover.

A big thanks to everyone who came out and collaborated for our Living Library Day! Special thanks to Tupper High School, the Riley Park Community Garden and ArtStarts who funded this project.