Sunday, August 30, 2015

Taste the Flowers

Flowers, bees...honey!

I don't keep bees. I maintain a bee-friendly environment. Even before birds, bees are the largest group of visitors in my garden. (You mammals, I am talking to you mice and deer; war has been declared!) I provide water with easy perching places. I don't use herbicides in a pre-emptive manner and never as foliar sprays. I used a pesticide just once, on a cool day (It may have been less than 50 degrees that day. I hope all you bees stayed home that day, keeping your queen warm.). The apple blossoms had dropped. I was after the coddling moths who seem smitten by my Honeycrisp apple tree. (I did the climbing roses the same say to ward off the evil sawflies.)

Bees are kept in my neighborhood, a very short flight path from my raspberries, Seckl pear, strawberries, and apple. Yesterday, the beekeeper blessed me with a half pint of fresh honey, saying it had been a very good year.

Can honey have good years like wine? I'd like to know. Is there a "terroir" effect for honey? Maybe I am tasting the freshness of the honey before it has sat and evaporated to make it the overly, sickingly sweet sticky, fabricated mess you can sometimes accidentally buy in a retail setting. None the less, this honey was just the right amount of sweet, the right consistency on a spoon, without out any sediment or crystalization.

And, I swear I could taste just a hint of fruit and berries, and maybe...wild roses. It does not get any more local than this.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Large and Lush

Comfrey, symphytum officinale

Large and lush, my symphytum officinale is taking up some real estate these days. A member of the borage family, symphytum or comfrey is a broad-leaved herb with hairy leaves and blue flowers. Typically it blooms May through early July, but mine has really spread out and appears to be setting up a second flush of bloom this year.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Water Features

At Longwood Gardens
This summer I saw a lot of water features in gardens. This is a round-up of those pictures.

From the famous Teacup Garden at Chanticleer

Ubiquitous frog fountain at Winterthur's Enchanted Garden

Motion-activated misting fairy ring of stone mushrooms at the Enchanted Garden at Winterthur. My son obviously became enchanted.

Horse/cattle trough, are we in the Midwest? Nope. Winterthur again...

Also at Winterthur

Ceramic something something at Chanticleer held bubbling water.

At Chanticleer, almost an afterthought, placed within the Teacup Garden
A fun fountain at Longwood Gardens; the main "over the top DuPont style fountain which covers ACRES is undergoing renovations. 

Overflowing lotus form in the foyer area of the Longwood Conservatory

Fun little fountain off to the side of the main waterfall in the Conservatory at Longwood.

Waterfall in the Conservatory at Longwood.
 Besides these "smaller" features there was also a waterlily garden larger than my entire garden...
Not water nymphs, but fearless and prepared traveling companions at Longwood in the Conservatory. I have to give a shout-out to the always prepared Scout Master Jay for planning the shortest travel paths to car from any point in the gardens and to Chari and Austin for worrying about my stamina navigating the seemingly endless 30 degree paved slopes. I wish I had been wearing a pedometer to track my miles at Longwood Gardens.