Sunday, March 8, 2009
A Busy bee week
After a long night of storms and a deluge of nutrient rich rain,spring has awoken.Snow Drops are spreading their ethereal fragrance to the winds, enticing the early bees.My Lycoris seedlings are sprouting in the greenhouse, as are the outdoor collection.I have some hybrids starting as well as the pure species. All the Lycoris are truly magical, not to overuse that word. When you least expect something out of this world, they appear. After the verdant spring foliage that will confuse the novice with Narcissus, these special Asian bulbs will quietly disappear under ground for the duration of the summer. No trace of their former location is left for the observer to see. Then,starting in early August,the different varieties begin their magic show. Out of the ground chartreuse spears pierce the ground over night. Sometimes it will be after a good rain, but not until they're ready for the show. Usually it begins with the old fashioned favorite, the Naked Lady-Lycoris Squamigera, a natural hybrid from Japan .The stunning plant puts forth an eruption of stems that rise to about 30 inches from the ground. The buds are a dark mauve color, heavily overlaid with an intense blue. When the umbel of buds opens, the five petaled lilaform bloom is a clear blush pink, with a wash of rare true blue, until the second or third day, when the blossom finishes pure, fragrant pink. These and other Lycoris make marvelous cut flowers for the house. There are great species and hybrids out there. Some are yellow-gold, some are blush white,others are cerise red. Telos Rare bulbs and Plant Delights nursery's are places to look at when building a collection of these special bulbs. This week was all about bees! On Wednesday, I prepared my bee yard for wild flower seeds. The area was burned and cleared of debris. Then, the entire area was raked over no more than one inch deep, then I prepared the seed mix. Most of the seed was purchased from Wildseed farms in Texas. To this specialized regional mix, I added many more rare seeds that I had grown and collected on my own. I mixed the half a pound of seed to about seven gallons of builders sand, then carefully hand cast the mix over the area. Proper seed application requires the the seed be rolled into the surface of the soil. I don't have a roller, so I used the opportunity to do a walking meditation, and shuffle the seeds to their proper place on the surface of the ground, not under it. After this morning's rain, Life is beginning again in the bee yard. Friday and Saturday Was the
bi-State (Kansas and Missouri) beekeepers meeting and lecture series. Great information and nice people. I have my two bee hives all built and ready to go...I need bees! The newly made hives smell GREAT-pine and honeycomb,who knew it smelled so good. So, week after next is the beginners beekeeping series, and I can't Wait! My package bees ( a queen and young colony) will arrive mid April. I've "rescued" some feral bees after my brother and I had accidentally cut down a bee tree, and tried to gather the hive for the winter. Unfortunately, That small swarm didn't survive the winter, but I had gotten the interest to try in earnest. There is so much to do right now, the days start speeding by, towards summer.