Waiting for bees

17 Apr Beehive Stands

Received word that my new nucleus colony (nuc) with an Italian queen should be ready for pick up in 2 weeks – I can’t wait!  My first package bees with an Italian queen were the sweetest in nature so I’m hoping for the same.   I spent time this weekend preparing a new spot for the hives and leveling the hive stands.    I used cement foundation pieces from old pillars reclaimed from the renovated front porch to create a level base for the cinder block hive stands.  This should help to keep the vegetable oil covering all parts of the tray in the screened bottom board trap I use to control small hive beetle.


April – Hot and Cold

14 Apr

What a week of temperature fluctuations!  On Wednesday it was over 91 degrees here in Baltimore which is very unusual for this time of year.  Took photos in the morning of sprouts and by the time I came home from work in the evening, some of those plants had grown inches!!

Here are the bloom updates from this week …

Mayapple sprout and Mayapple foliage


Soft petals of pink Star Magnolia … my favorite

Pink Star Magnolia

Pink Star Magnolia


















Spring’s warmth arrived

9 Apr

Finally some warmer temps!  Heard this hawk (?) overhead while I was gardening on Sunday … I’m still trying to id it.

Wooly Adelgid on Hemlock

As for plant pest id’s – unfortunately I discovered wooly adelgid attacking my native Eastern hemlock – I mixed up some horticultural oil and sprayed the branches above and below to help reduce the numbers.   Whew!  I’m glad I noticed during the egg laying/crawler stage when it’s an appropriate time to spray.

After that project, I took a walk around the yard to look for new plants blooming and here’s what I found…

Pink Star Magnolia blooms

Pink Star magnolia bud

Grape Hyacinth sprouting

Grape Hyacinth sprouts

Peony sprouting from the ground like clasping fingers

Peony sprouting


Buona Pasqua!

31 Mar


Referring to my Italian roots and wishing a Happy Easter!  Good weather on Saturday allowed me the opportunity to spend the day gardening yesterday — I never noticed how much developing daffodil blooms look like pistachios on stalks!   And I always *wow* when I can find the emerging bleeding hearts – they look like little hands reaching for the sun.  Welcome Spring!Pistachios on Stalks!Developing Daffodil bloomDeveloping daffodilBleeding Heart emergingBleeding Heart emerging


Spring snow

25 Mar

I wonder how those blooms are doing today under a blanket of white?

Dogwoods at DawnBackyardSideyard


Spring has sprung, but not Spring weather

24 Mar

It’s Spring and the start of taking photos of daily blooms in the garden.  This year the blooms are delayed since the weather is still 10 degrees below average here in Maryland.  Helebores are the first to bloom, along with the white crocus,  followed by the mini Tete-e-tete daffodils …Blooms 003 White Crocus Tete-a-tete mini daffodilsClose up of mini daffodils

Just starting are the yellow daffodils in the front yard …

Daffodil beginning to open Yellow Daffodils in front yard


Doom and Gloom

19 Jan
Frozen cluster on two frames

Frozen cluster on two frames

Returned from the American Beekeeping Federation conference in Hershey, PA and checked on my bees the following weekend in January only to discover … to my dismay  … two deadouts.  Both of my hives had only a handful of frozen dead bees.  Lots of honey left on frames, but the numbers of bees were so small they could not sustain the warmth needed in the hive to survive the winter temperatures.   How did the bees dwindle to such low numbers when I had such high numbers in the fall?  I did have more varroa mites in 2012 and saw evidence of deformed wing virus. Did the bees abscond because of mites and/or viruses?  The questions continue, but I’m hearing many beekeepers this winter are reporting similar high levels of loss this winter.

Why, is the big question?