field of buckwheat flowers with bees

Buckwheat for Bees

I am pretty happy with my buckwheat. After the extra hot spring weather brought early flowering on many trees and shrubs, I wanted to make sure the bees didn’t go hungry later in the summer. I sowed the buckwheat seed in an area of soil which had been dug and flattened for the septic tank runoff, but won’t be completed with the drainage until the plumbing is finished later in the year. We had a couple good rains, and 4 weeks later the first flowers were out and filled with bees every morning. A rainy and hot month later the plants are almost as tall as me and full of flowers.
honey bees on buckwheat flowers
Buckwheat only releases nectar in the morning, so the bees seem to be very business like and efficient in harvesting. They carry a good amount of pale yellow-green pollen as well.

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Red Dahlia Macro

In a Vase on Monday – Dahlias Again

I know this is repetitive, but the Akita Dahlias are doing amazingly well, and I had to rescue them from the lawnmower chewing them up for flopping onto the path. Here are a few different ages of flower, mixed with the dark red dahlias rescued from the dump. You can see how they get more yellow as they age, losing the contrast between the creamy tips of the petals and the dark base.
Red Dahlias in a vase

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Organically grown tomatoes in trug

Peak Bruschetta

Finally, enough big tomatoes! We have had a grafted sweet100 giving us buckets of little tomatoes since November, but I was late getting the big toms in so we have been on Bruschetta rationing until now.
Big orange tomato saved seed organically grown

I like bruschetta to have one thick slice of raw tomato covering a full piece of sourdough toasted on the barbecue with olive oil and balsamic, topped with basil and Parmesan. This is the best way to appreciate the lovely patterns on the inside of these big tomatoes, but it’s very messy to eat.

Mid Summer

I’m still madly busy, so much so that I spent a rare weekend in the city, worrying that the birds would feast on my first really big tomatoes. As it turns out, they left the really big ones alone, and there is plenty for all of us – we are really into bruschetta season now. It was raining all weekend anyway, we have had almost 4 inches – 92 mm of rain since we were here 2 weeks ago.
The first windows are in the barn house – so exciting! We are oiling more redwood weatherboards this week, and looking after vegetables in any spare time.
Here are a few photos – these are from mid January.

chard going to seed with plum tree
Ruby Chard forming seed by a plum tree. Great seeds for micro greens

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Cactus dahlia flowers

In a Vase on Monday – Dahlias

I’ve been madly busy with work and fruit and vegetables and weeds so it’s actually Tuesday, Waitangi Day here in New Zealand. This lovely coral pink dahlia showed up a week ago and I haven’t been able to find out what it is. I think I bought it a couple years ago and planted it in a place which was too shady, and then moved it last year. It’s obviously happy in full sun and new soil.
Dahlia flower and fruit
Akita when it’s like this is the Dahlia I wanted – half open I like it – I don’t like it so much when it gets full open and huge. The plums are Louisa and Satsuma, which I am drying for winter snacks.
dahlia flowers Akita
Early Spring flowers are starting to show up in the Northern Hemisphere vases, which coincides with shortening days here and thoughts of bulb planting. Check them out at Rambling in the Garden.

In a Vase on Monday – Dark Purple

This purple hydrangea left from last week’s vase seems to have gotten even darker. It’s a wonderful hydrangea which stays purple even in our acid soil – all of our other hydrangeas go BlueBlueBlue as soon as they get their roots down. This one has dark leaves as well – I think it could be called Brunette but that’s a guess as it came to me as a cutting from C’s Aunt.
vase of flowers Hydrangea rose and jasmine

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Dark Purple Hydrangea

Welcome Flowers in a Vase on Monday

Within hours my Mom will be here from the cold and snow of Canada, and I’ve picked some Dahlias, Thalictrum, and Hydrangeas for her. The Dahlias haven’t done all that well so far this year – the early hot dry spell followed by rainy weather at Christmas has left them a little tattered, but there is plenty of time left for better blooms.

vase of dark red dahlias and purple hydrangeas
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flowers against landscape

Crazy Pink Gladioli In a Vase on Monday

I’m really not sure why I grow ‘Glads’, as my Grandpa used to call them. I selected the subtlest of the available colours – 2 different softish pinks, and planted them around orange trees in a raised bed on the sunny side of the water tank. They have gone wild, shooting up in all directions, more every year, covering up the young orange trees and the runner beans behind them. I’m sure it’s the mixture of 3 manures (llama, chicken, and sheep) that made them go so mad – they are relatively normal where I’ve transplanted some to the other side of the water tank.

gladiola in garden with mountain papaya

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