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Friday, June 17, 2005

How do you say that again!?!

I have been hesitating to start a gardening podcast due to the laughter that would surely result from my mangled Latin pronunciations. Maybe this will make it possible after all!

A great find of a great site! Thanks to both Prairie Point and Perennial Passion for sharing it with everyone.

Latin

This is something I have been needing for a long time - a guide to botanical Latin pronunciation. It even pronounces them out loud for you. I alway feel like a dunce when I accent the wrong syllable or use a long a when it should be a short a.

Credit for finding it goes to Perennial Passion, another gardening blog that I have recently come across.

(Via prairie point.)

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Garden Junk?

While recycling "junk" into garden ornaments isn't for everyone, some of you might find these examples of re-use interesting. The photos show repurposed wine bottles and other materials used as edging, wind chimes and more.

Photos of Junk Garden Art

(Via del.icio.us/tag/gardening.)

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Book: Robbing the Bees by Holley Bishop



My bee obsession continues with this excellent book by Holley Bishop, Robbing the Bees: A biography of honey, the sweet liquid gold that seduced the world.

The author writes of her own beekeeping experiences, follows a modern day commercial beekeeper through his year and relates the historical significance of bees and honey throughout the ages.

These micro-histories always catch my attention and I feel like I learn so much through one book.

Highly Recommended

Monday, June 13, 2005

Useful even in death

It is good to know that everything has a use, even in death, and the garden is no exception. I have long known about the importance of snags, that is to say, dead standing trees, in the forest. They provide important habitat for a wide variety of animals and fungi. Their slow decay returns nutrients to the surrounding soil, providing a bountiful harvest for other, nearby, plants.

I was thinking about this because today, as I sat in the garden thinking up ideas for another column I write, I noticed a female carpenter bee putting the willow to good use. I frequently see these bees around the garden, but I have rarely seen one of their solitary nesting holes. Sure enough, when I walked over to where I had seen the bee disappear, there was a perfect hole about 1/4" in diameter punched into the trunk of the willow. Thank goodness she found this wood more accommodating than my wisteria trellis or the pergola with the Clytostoma callistegioides vine. I plan on using the good zoom on the video camera tomorrow to get a closer look. THe nest is about 10-12 feet up the main trunk of the tree and just barely visible from the ground.

I have also spotted various fungi hard at work breaking down the roots of the willow. Whenever we have a little moisture, they spring up around its feet. These mushrooms were my first confirmation that the tree was sick and dying. Mushrooms at their feet indicates either an extreme level of organic matter, or rotting roots.

The tree will have to go soon, but we need to gather the $200+ to have the tree company come and remove it. Hopefully the carpenter bee couple will have moved on by then. I don't know exactly what their life-cycle is like. Maybe we can postpone the demolition until whatever brood is there is ready to move one.