Thursday, February 22, 2007

Bee Colony Collapse Disorder

It sounds dreadful, and it is! We are losing our bee colonies by the thousands. Bee keepers who transport their bees from orchard, to farm, to field, are finding their colonies dead when the hives are opened up. It is a very serious dilema.
As gardeners, we all know the importance of our pollinators. We attempt to do everything to protect them. There are other creatures besides bees that pollinate, but the bees are the best and most efficient. It is critical that we protect them at all costs.

Here is an excerpt from a Reuter's News Bulletin:

"A mysterious disease is killing off U.S. honeybees, threatening to disrupt pollination of a range of crops and costing beekeepers hundreds of thousands of dollars, industry experts said on Monday.

Beekeepers in 22 states have reported losses of up to 80 percent of their colonies in recent weeks, leaving many unable to rent the bees to farmers of crops such as almonds and, later in the year, apples and blueberries.

"It's unusual in terms of the widespread distribution and severity," said Jerry Bromenshenk, a professor at the University of Montana at Missoula and chief executive of Bee Alert Technology, a company monitoring the problem."

80 percent of our bees is a HUGE amount! Be aware that this is happening, and read everything you can about it to learn more. I'm sure as time goes on, I'll have more to say about this. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


It's time to think about bringing some branches from flowering shrubs and trees inside and force them into bloom for everyones enjoyment!
The best ones are forsythia and witch hazel. These can sometimes be convinced to bloom in as little as a weeks time! If you're willing to wait up to 4 weeks, try apple and, or cherry. Then for a really long, 5 weeks wait, for the truly patient gardener, try lilacs.
It's not hard at all. Essentially, you cut the branches, stick them in a big vase with some water, stand back and wait for the blooms. However, there are some extra things you can try that will simplify and guarantee the whole process, so do go to this web site, at the NH Extension for all kinds of information on how to do this forcing business properly.

Thursday, February 01, 2007



Bring home some wonderful blooming flowers to enjoy around the house!

Look around the garden (if it isn't covered by snow) and be sure none of your perennials have been heaved out of the ground by frost. If they have, press them back down.

Remove any heavy snow from the evergreens.

Are you ordering from those catalogues? This is the time to plan on making your dreams come true! At least in the garden.

As you look around the neighborhood, make note of plants that have "winter interest". Find out what they are and plan to add them to your garden when the weather is better!

Trees are easy to identify in the winter because all the leaves are gone. However, you have no leaves to use to help you go to the book store and buy a Winter Tree Identification Guide. It's kind of fun identifying trees by their shapes, and the kids love doing it as well.

If you haven't done it already, sharpen those tools-and while you're at it, organize them as well.

Before you know it, it will be time to roll out the lawn mower. Has it been serviced? Get it to the shop before everyone else beats you to it.

Keep those bird feeders full.