Wednesday, August 07, 2013

How Does Your Garden Grow? Do You Have any Bees?

My original idea was to frame this as a national inquiry into the health of bee populations in suburban and rural areas.  Surely colony collapse disorder must be associated with commercial beekeepers who hire out their hives to farmers in need of their services.  Because American farms use a plethora of dangerous and unhealthy pesticides, even produce that is labelled as organic may contain any one of as many as seventy-three chemical compounds commonly used to control pests and weeds.  I am extremely interested in the bee populations in your neck of the woods.  I am happy to report that the San Diego coastal palisades remain host to European Honeybees, Bumblebees and Carpenter Bees.
Carpenter Bee
But, of course this is just a shameless gardening post.  My pride and joy are my Lipstick Hibiscus purchased from the Mission Hills Nursery founded in 1911 by Kate Sessions, presumably direct descendants of true Hawaiian stock.

Just as close to my heart remains my prized Arctostaphylos Manzanita Dr. Hurd, a northern California native.  It's the only Manzanita I can keep alive.  This is how it blooms in early January.

My wife refuses to believe that peaches won't grow near the coast.  Here is a picture from happier times.  Last night the local canyon racoons feasted on our ripe peaches and washed their dirty faces in our birdbath.

Tomatoes from seed.

Any pepper will turn red if allowed to ripen.  We grew Anaheim, Pasilla, Jalapeno and Serrano.

And of our beloved California natives, including the Holly-leaf Cherry and the prized White Sage, Mrs. Junior's favorite is the Mimulus.  However, she claims that this Hawaiian pink only occurs in cultivars.  The true natives are either golden or Indian paintbrush red.

She did promise her Dad that we would grow some corn, which was fine with me.  You can tell when the ears are pollenated when the silks turn red or brown.  Right now, they almost look big enough to sell.

Of course we didn't want the crows to get them, so I had to hire Screech the Owl to look after them.

And we could never support such a healthy ecosystem featuring lizards, red-headed finches, mockingbirds, morning doves and assorted migratory birds without two Retrievers to keep the cats at bay.

It's easier than you might think to grow chives.
And just as easy to grow your own green onions. 

All under the watchful eyes of my new BFF, Pepito, the San Diego Alligator Lizard.
And my twenty-three year old California Fan Palm.  Washingtonia Filifera.


  1. Like the picture of the lizard. I see a lot a salamanders, turtles and toads where I live. I have no clue at all what the health of the bee population is. Also, those are two very similar looking dogs you have.

  2. William was the pick of the litter. Chauncey his little sparring partner fighting in the puppy pen. I believe that domesticated dogs have an instinct as puppies to bond to potential adopters. Chauncey was smart enough to get my wife to ask if he could tag along. Bill is solid muscle. Jumps as effortlessly as a Toyota Land Cruiser. Chauncey was always taller and lighter. Bill outweighs Chauncey by ten or twelve pounds today.

    Alligator lizards are easiest to find in the wilderness in deserts like Anza-Borrego. The San Diego Alligator Lizard is a sub-species that lives in the city. They are quite companionable in that they really can't see you unless you move. (Like Jurassic Park) So you can sneak up on them quite close and look at their intricate scale patterns for as long as you might wish as long as you stay still.

    There is an interesting article in TIME magazine this week which does seem to confirm my suspicion that colony collapse disorder is mostly confined to to hives kept by apiarists.

  3. Interesting. Thanks for sharing. Had to look up "apiarists". That just means kept bees as opposed to wild bees? I have no idea how long ago you responded, as there is no date attached to your comment (just a time). I just decided to check back now.


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