Thursday, February 9, 2017

Plant Marker Project

I finally finished a batch of herb markers that look half-way decent. I used rubber stamp letters on over-baked clay. They are not perfect, but they're cute enough for my container herb garden this spring.

The process was pretty easy. I used a terra-cotta color of 'Sculpey' oven-bake clay and some little wood stamps to crete the letter impressions.

Rolled 1-1/4 inch balls into 5-1/2 inch 'snakes'. Put a chopstick on each side of the snake before rolling them so they stayed about 1/4 inch thick.

I cut a pointed wedge end on each marker, then stamped the letters. I cooked them at 275 degrees F for 15 minutes. 

I plan to make some more so I'll have a marker in every slot in my herb pot this year. Here's a photo from 2016 of the herbs I planted in a strawberry pot.

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

I'm Back and Busy with Bees

Hello Garden Friends!

It's been a long time since I last posted here. Some health issues have taking my time away from both gardening and blogging. Fortunately, I've found a spinal pain doc and PT who are helping me get back into the garden.

My latest garden project was to hang my new solitary bee houses.

These houses are for native mason bees that do not swarm, sting or burrow in wood. So, they are safe for people, pets and property. Solitary bees are excellent pollinators. One mason bee can pollinate as many flower as 100 honeybees!

The first bee house was made in the UK by Wildlife World.

The other bee house I ordered from has an observation door so we can watch the bee larva turn into cocoons and baby bees. 

We don't have any solitary bees using the new houses yet, but the honeybees have certainly found the Shades of Pink, Viburnum.

My goal this season will be to plant even more bee friendly plants to encourage pollinators to thrive.

Since honeybee populations have dropped, it's more important than ever to help out our native, solitary bees so we'll always have enough pollinators for our crops.

To learn more about solitary bees, read this page on mason bees at The Honeybee Conservancy website or watch  this informative video created by Dave Hunter of Crown Bees.