Experience is a brutal teacher. But you learn, my God, do you learn.

-C.S. Lewis

Stream In January

Stream In January

Friday, September 11, 2009

There Comes A Time.....

When the first warm days of spring arrive in the mountains, I can't wait to get in the garden and start planting. Then the April snow falls and I have to start all over. Think I'd learn after 10 years. But May comes, and although there is always the chance of a late freeze, the garden starts to grow. In June and July, flowers are blooming, produce is coming in and this year the bees were buzzing and making honey. August is the most lush month. The flower show is on. Then late August comes and all of a sudden the garden and I are both done. Finished. And I go out and start to pull it all out of the ground. I started about 2 weeks ago.

Nasturtiums bloom prettiest in the fall. Bumblebees love them. Honeybees don't seem interested.
I think my honeybees must truly be Italian. They love the white blooms of the garlic chives. Wonder what that honey would taste like if that's all they had to work.

The garden is pretty much all cleared out. There was a section on the far left of the picture that had grown up in bee balm, wildflowers and dog hobble, one of our native shrubs that is very invasive. It has a pretty, sweet-smelling bloom in the spring, but the bees were not interested. I realized this was an area of about 15' by 20' where I could use plants that would be of greater benefit to the bees so last weekend I cleared it and started transplanting hostas and lamb's ear.

Lamb's ear was by far the most important flower in the garden to the bees. Still not my favorite, but anything for the girls. There was also a small compost box in this area that was filled with finished compost. I spread that on the beds. The wood from the box will be used to make a new stand for the 2 new hives I hope to add in the spring. My friend has Russian bees who are doing quite well and I hope to get 2 nucs from her in April or May. The hives will go in this cleared area below the other 2 hives.

In the beds where potatoes and greasy beans grew, I now have planted collards in the uppermost area and below that seeds of beets and turnips. I planted the seed on Tuesday and today they have germinated. If the weather gets cold in a hurry and these beds don't do well, I'll plant winter rye as a cover crop. I also planted 15 broccoli plants in the upper right-hand bed, but unfortunately I have a vole problem and I now have 9 broccoli plants. I might as well give up on the brassicas.

This is a view of the garden from the beehives. The stream is a good way below the trees. It's heavily wooded and we are considering cutting a lot of the undergrowth to make way for chickens and goats in the spring. If we have chickens and goats they will have to confined and protected because of the coyotes and owls that live in our area. They won't have a chance to survive for long in our woods. There are lots of tulip poplars on the property which we won't cut because of their importance to the bees.

I still have work to do in the garden and around the hives, but should be finished in a couple of weeks. I've been doing mite count for the past 3 days and the news is good. I'll post on the count and the sugar shake after the weekend. BTW, I went to our Smoky Mountain Beekeepers' picnic last night and I asked 3 different friends the same specific question. Guess now many different answers I received? The beekeepers know it was 3. More later.....


PhilipH said...

There are gardeners, keen gardeners, avid gardeners and there's you.

What a grafter (hard worker and (in your case) plant propagator) you are - in both meanings of the word.

Glad that your 'mite' count was good news.

Nasturtiams! I planted some a few years back and when they were dying off I ripped them all out. They came back again this year! Of their own accord, without a by your leave! I didn't know this could happen, but it did. They took over and swamped my pansies; I just let things happen.

I do not mind too much. In fact, when I was about 6, during WW2, I used to pinch a few nasturtiam leaves on my way to school. I liked the peppery taste of them. I think that quite a few fancy eateries use the flowers in salads.

Great post. Keep it going.

Ngaio said...

With dafodils flowering, cherries a mass of froth, spring is here in all her glory. I love the bright green new leaves on the oaks and watching the duck families on the lake - spring closely followed by autumn, is my fav season.
Your garden looks beautiful Lynn - are all your gardens where you live surrounded by trees ? It looks very different to ours,we tend to follow the British way,although at long last we are developing a New Zealand `look`,mainly with our own native plants. Do you know much about our flora and fauna ? Growing up with American and English tv programmes, we all had a large dose of your way of life - some good, others not so good !

Cliff W said...

Gosh! You've been very busy - oh to have to time - maybe I should spend less time blogging!

Our nasturtiums are in full flower right now and it was literally yesterday evening that I was wondering whether they were found in those foreign mountains. [We have a catch phrase in our house "be nasty to your nasturtiums" from Gene Wilder's character in "Silver Streak". Anybody remember this? Sorry, I digress.] At this time of the year they add that flurry of colour when the honeysuckle and clematis have died back.

As I write early on a beautiful Saturday morning, the sun is shining and it's time to get cracking outdoors(as we say on this side of the pond).

Lynn said...

Philip, there are also people with keen minds, and you're one of them. I continue to be amazed at your memory of things long past. I can't remember yesterday half of the time.

Ngaio, I have to admit I know zero about NZ flora and fauna. In fact not much at all about your country. But thanks to you, I'm learning. Some of the mountain gardens are not as heavily shaded as mine. We could cut more trees but I try to be very careful about disturbing native plants. It's a real problem for me because of the way I love to garden. I try to make the best of what I have to work with.

And Cliff, blogging may be a curse, but look at all the great new friends we're making. Love Silver Streak and Gene Wilder. Thanks for reminding me.

vicree said...

Your garden makes me want to be a kid again with the chance to explore its delighful patterns and unexpected paths. Whoever said gardens had to be made up of carefully laid out rows? On second thought, maybe that was necessary when mules were used for plowing, a common practice in the South of long ago. Can't even imagine a big old mule or plowhorse in your garden. Or mine.

I took notice of your mention of chickens and goats. You know how much I love Dairy Goats and chickens are fun also. Would love to hear more about your plans.