Alright, I promised I’d post some pics of our bees so here we go (see below). Also we just got back from Chicago where we went on a mini vacation. I discovered a great nursery online that specializes in native plants, primarily prairie plants. The reason I discovered them was because I was looking for replacement New Jersey Tea plants. As I’ve said in a previous post I didn’t think our New Jersey Teas (Ceanothus americanus), or our Common Witch Hazel (Hamamelis virginiana), had leafed this Spring and that they were all dead. So I searched the net and came across Possibility Place in Monee, Illinois. Possibility Place specializes in plants native to Illinois. Being so close to Ohio, it’s no surprise many of the plants they grow are native to Ohio as well, or at least do well in Ohio’s climate. Our landscape plan calls for plants that are, unfortunately, not easy to find in our local nurseries even though the plants can be found here, presumably in the wild. One note of interest, I never thought about it but the owner of the nursery mentioned that Illinois is a prairie state, while Ohio is a forest state. Maybe that’s why local nurseries don’t carry some of these plants, but realistically I think most nurseries are driven by (ill-informed in my opinion) marketplace demands, and I guess the market for native plants just isn’t there. Thus I have to drive two states over and buy native prairie plants.
We drove out and had a nice evening taking the boys out to an arcade and dinner. We then woke up and drove just down the road to pick up our plants. I had called ahead as the nursery is not open to the public, except by appointment. Snaking our way back past the greenhouses I parked and walked into the office. They thought I was joking when I said I drove all day to get there, from Ohio. But sure enough our paperwork was there waiting for our arrival. The owner personally walked me over to where our plants waited. They were meticulously arranged on a pallet, each plant personally labeled with my name on it – like fancy computer labels. Very nice. The staff loaded up all of our happy plants, 10 NJ Tea and 3 Common Witch Hazel bushes in 5 gallon buckets, into our trailer.
In walking to and fro I learned that Possibly Place also has bees, a very nice veggie garden, ducks and they’re even raising fish. The atmosphere was extremely friendly and welcoming. There offering, judging by their artful and informative catalog, along with the expanses of green houses, looks to be second to none in terms of native plants. Overall I’ve found independent nurseries to be good sources for uncommon and native plants. Possibility Place has to be at the top in terms of philosophy, knowledge and offering as far as this writer is concerned. I highly recommend checking them out and making the trip, especially if you’re in the mid-west, the next time you are looking to infuse your landscape with some native planting happiness.
Today I planted all our new bushes and discovered that a few of our bare root New Jersey Teas were sprouting in fact, but they are so small there’s no way…getting relatively established plants was the way to go. And the Witch Hazel were outright dead so the three, large, new ones were a welcome sight. I transplanted the stick looking New Jersey Teas elsewhere in the yard.
Elsewhere in the yard we’ve been weeding and watering our veggies. As far as I’m concerned we’re in the middle of a drought with no end in sight. I give it a couple of weeks and we’ll be in trouble if we don’t get rain. If anything I’ll be tired of hauling watering cans of water back to the garden.
Bug wise we’re going bonkers too. Ants are getting into the house, so despite all my tree hugger-ness I will spray the foundation with something to kill the ants. I also received some seals from Thermatru that were not installed on our exterior doors. These should seal up the “daylight” spaces I can see in the corners of our doors; stopping air intrusion as well as bug intrusion. Outside the ticks are crazy everywhere. We have a nature friendly plan to combat those but it will be a while before that plan goes into action. Meanwhile we check ourselves for ticks before going inside the house.
We’ve checked the bees a couple times in the last week. Everything looks great. Our friends helped us find our queen and confirmed our hive is overachieving in terms of production of bees, and overall health. So without further ado take a look at the photos to see what it looks like inside the hive. Also see pics from Possibility Place and even our trip to get ice cream tonight from Country Maid Ice Cream & Orchard. Of course I don’t have any plant pics, but will get some up later this week.