The Buzz About Bees

by Zack Hill

Normally on bright sunny afternoons, when there is no work to be done, and I have a free morning or afternoon to sit and enjoy myself in my garden, I love to watch all the comings and goings of the life that is constantly rampaging through my backyard. I will see neighborhood cats taking naps in the sunshine or dragonflies examining all the dandelions that I have been too lazy to remove. One thing I have noticed, however, that’s weighed heavily on my mind is how few bees I have seen buzzing about this year, compared to how many I have noticed in previous years in the exact same garden. I have been hoping that maybe the neighbors have planted a garden that the bees find vastly superior to my own, or maybe they have simply moved on to build hives in other places.  Whatever the cause I decided to compile a list of simple things that can be done to benefit our tiny fuzzy friends, things that I am starting to do, and you can do as well to hopefully bring more bees into our yards and lives for years to come.

Plant beneficial flowers to help bees collect pollen and attract them to your yard.

This one seems obvious, but many people do not know that bees are more partial to some plants than others, and will want to hang around more depending on what is planted in your garden! Bees love colorful flowers, especially flowers that are blue, purple or yellow, so be sure to keep that in mind when deciding what plants to stick in the ground next season. There are also many plants they prefer and favor such as Bee Balm, Lavender and Black-Eyed Susans. Remember, if you are unsure of what flowers to plant to attract bees, most greenhouses or nurseries have bee-mix flower seeds that you can sow to avoid all the hassle of hand picking bee friendly plants.

Remember, bees get thirsty just like humans do!

Bees can fly great distances while gathering pollen and may become dehydrated at some point during their flight. However, by leaving small water dishes or fountains outside, with tiny rocks or structures for bees to perch on, they will have places to rehydrate along the way and will be more active around your yard. Bees tend to become lethargic when they are dehydrated so the better hydrated they are, the better they will be able to pollinate your garden.

Leave a bare spot somewhere in your garden

I know this idea may sound counterintuitive to having a lush thriving garden with bees buzzing about, but leaving a bare spot of dirt somewhere in your yard can help ground nesting bees have a place to build a hive, and allow mason bees to gather mud that they use for building egg cells.  Remember to mark any nests that you find so that you can remember to leave them undisturbed while you are gardening, and if you do not like the look of a bare patch of dirt in your garden, try leaving it in a corner of your yard, and planting flowers all around it so that it is hard to notice when looking at it from the rest of your garden.

Choose plants that can provide pollen and nectar

Nectar and pollen are vital food sources to bees, as nectar provides all the important carbohydrates for bees and pollen provides sugars and fats for the bees to feed on. Bees have an easier time harvesting pollen and nectar from simple, open flowers. Bees would much rather find a whole bunch of Dandelions compared to more complex flowers such as Begonias.

Avoid using chemicals and pesticides in your lawn

Chemicals and pesticides such as common weed killers and insecticides can actually be quite damaging to bee populations.  Chemical treatments such as Round-Up can actually get into the nectar produced by flowers (especially weeds like Dandelions) and might get taken back to the hive where they can cause further problems. If you are looking to attract more bees to your yard I recommend using more bee-safe products like Neem Oil or Nematodes for insect problems and use a hoe or other garden tool to remove weeds from your garden by hand.

Hopefully by using these five tips you will be able to not only attract more bees to your yard or community garden, but also be able to keep them happier. That means more pollination and ultimately more crops at the end of the season. If you really want to do your part to help save the bees, consider figuring out where some local beekeeping classes are held and get involved in some hive building!

Fun fact: WOW! There are over 16,000 different bee species around the world, many of which are actually ground-dwelling. The fuzzy little honey bee just happens to be the species that we think of most.

Works referenced

Bee. (2019, June 21). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bee

Nicholls, H. (2015, June 15). Earth – The truth about bees. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20150615-the-truth-about-bees

Ten things you can do to help bees. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.queenofthesun.com/get-involved/10-things-you-can-do-to-help-bees/

Flowers for honey bees. (2014, May 14). Retrieved from https://fafard.com/terrific-flowers-for-honey-bees/

20 Simple Gardening Tips to Help Bees. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.buzzaboutbees.net/Simple-Gardening-Tips-To-Help-Bees.html

Hochwald, L. (2017, August 18). 9 honeybee-friendly plants. Retrieved from https://www.mnn.com/your-home/organic-farming-gardening/stories/9-honeybee-friendly-plants

Tree & Shrub Planting Guide

Do-It-Yourself Planting can be a lot of fun, but there are some things you need to know before you start.

The Guide

Where: Know your plant’s sun and water needs, and mature size when you choose a location. Remember to contact www.call811.com before you dig.

When: The best times to plant trees or shrubs in Colorado are Spring (March 15th-June 15th) or Fall (September 1st- October 15th). New plantings do best in moderate temperatures.

What You’ll Need:

  • Sharp Shovel
  • Tape Measure
  • Tarp — using a tarp for your soil pile makes mixing and cleaning up much easier
  • Compost — Recommended: Myke (mychorrhizal fungi), used directly on the root ball, or liquid Fertilome Root Stimulator added to the water
  • Garden hose
  • Mulch — Shredded cedar & ‘Gorilla Hair’ mulch are best for wind resistance
  • Stakes, wire, tree straps, mallet (or post pounder if you have one) — Staking is only necessary for trees 6 feet or taller
  • Tree wrap

Planting:

  • Soak the area one day before for easier digging.
  • Support plants from the bottom when moving — don’t lift by the trunk.
  • Lay the plant on its side and wiggle or cut off the container. Loosen circling roots with your fingers.
  • Measure depth and width of the root ball.
  • Dig a saucer-shaped hole EXACTLY AS DEEP and 3X THE WIDTH of the root ball. Leave a small mound of soil at the center for stability.
  • If you’re using Myke, apply to the root ball now.
  • Set your plant down so that the top of the ball is 1-2″ above the original soil level.
  • Mix original back-fill soil with compost in a blend of 1/3 compost:2/3 soil and gently tamp the blend around the roots.
  • Water slowly and thoroughly with a hose—adding more back-fill if the soil settles.

Proper Care:

Mulching: Surround your new planting with a 2-4″ layer of mulch but make sure to leave a few inches clear around the trunk for airflow.

Staking: Trees more than 6 feet tall should be staked, but not for longer than one or two years. Use fabric straps to protect the bark and keep a slight sag in the wires for natural sway.

Watering: After the initial watering, new plants need water at least once a week. In the full heat of summer, you may need to water more often. Proper moisture is key — too much is just as bad as too little. Regular deep watering is better than frequent light watering. If you are not sure whether to water, there is a simple way to check:

Dig into the soil 8 inches out from the edge of the hole and 8 inches deep. Squeeze the soil in your hand — if the soil crumbles, it’s time to water. If it forms a ball, it’s okay for a while longer.

Don’t forget Winter water! We can have very dry winters in Colorado and plants still need moisture. Water once a month if we haven’t gotten enough rain or snow.

Feeding: Root stimulator is essential when planting and also we recommend a mild, balanced fertilizer, such as our Espoma all-purpose Plant-tone, during the first year.

Wrapping: Trees and shrubs can suffer from sunscald in our intense Winter sun. We recommend wrapping all newly planted trees in their first Winter. Use paper tree wrap around the trunk up to the lower branches. Apply the wrap in late Fall (early November) and remember to remove it in the Spring (mid-March).

Our Guarantee

Trees | Shrubs | Vines | Perennials | Roses | Grasses

We offer a ONE (1) YEAR GUARANTEE for these plants. Simply return the plant (a sample or photo works fine too) along with the receipt within ONE YEAR of the purchase date for a one time store credit in the amount of the ORIGINAL PURCHASE PRICE.

MYKE TREE & SHRUB: We also offer a 5-Year Extended Guarantee for our Woody plants that is valid only with receipt(s) showing purchase of both the plant material & MYKE at the time of planting.

Our guarantee DOES NOT COVER the cost of original planting OR delivery.

If you have concerns about the condition of your plant material, please call our Nursery at 970-484-5022. We’d be happy to answer any questions. Please don’t dig up your plants before contacting us, THIS COULD VOID YOUR WARRANTY.

Our goal is to help you grow happy and healthy plants.

Annual Flowers | Herbs | Veggies | Houseplants

30-DAY GUARANTEE from date of purchase

Other Products

  • Unused merchandise may be returned with receipt within 30-days of purchase.
  • All clearance sales are final.
  • All returns require a receipt for a full refund.

Don’t Wait on Wasps!

Now is the Time to Trap the Queen

Wasp nests are typically made of paper, mud, or

Wasps are nothing new. They’re a nuisance, they’re aggressive, and in the case of allergies, can be deadly. So do yourself and loved ones a favor and use these tips to keep the Wasp swarms at bay this summer.

1. Trap the Queen in the Spring

Understanding the behavior of wasps is crucial to keeping their numbers down. During the winter, the Queen is protected in a sheltered space. But in the early Spring, it’s finally warm enough for her to venture out. It’s in this time that she is looking for a new site for her nest.

Using a Wasp trap can be an incredibly effective and eco-friendly way to prevent major issues all summer. If you trap the Queen early enough, you’ll stop an entire nest from starting. But don’t worry, these traps use pheromones, so they won’t hurt our Bee friends at all!

2. Soap & Water

Another eco-friendly option for Wasp management is good ol’ soap and water. Some wasp removal experts say that you can handle small hanging nests with a bit of soapy water. Mix 2 tablespoons of dish soap in a spray bottle and fill with water. The soap will clog their spiracles, the pores that they breathe through, and will kill them almost immediately.

3. Use a Decoy Nest

With all the bad buzz that Wasps get, they actually do have a very important role in the eco-system. They are predatory insects, and they feed on pests like aphids, caterpillars, and even West Nile carrying mosquitos. So if you’d like to try to scare them away before you take more extreme measures, try this Decoy Hornet’s Nest.

DeWitt Natural Wasp Away is a very effective Wasp prevention tool

It acts basically like a scarecrow, telling the Wasps that a whole nest of their natural predators are near. Many people swear by these; however, they are more to prevent a Wasp nest from forming. If you already have Wasp nests, you will have to remove them first.

4. As a Last Resort, Use Wasp Spray

Wasp spray is often the tool most turned to when you already have a booming Wasp issue. If you choose to go this route, try to go with an eco-friendly option like EcoSmart Wasp & Hornet Killer. Make sure to spray the nests at sunrise or sunset, when they are less active. Soak the nest and try to spray as many insects out as you can, and make sure you have enough spray to finish the job the first time.

What are some other techniques that you’ve found to effectively curb a Wasp infestation?

May Plant of the Month

Dracaena Fun Facts

Fun Fact #1: The origin of this plant’s name means “Female Dragon”

The name Dracaena comes from the Greek word drakaina, which means female dragon. The Dracaena contains a resin in the stem, which was compared to dragons blood due to the red gum-like quality. For many centuries, this was used for dyes, medicine, and even toothpaste. However, we mostly only use it for varnish and photoengraving today.

Fun Fact #2: Dracaena is related to the Asparagus family

Though the displayed traits may be very different from this favorite summertime veggie, they are indeed under the Family Asparagaceae. The Genus Dracaena is made up of about 40 different species, the most popular being “Song of India.”

Fun Fact #3: Dracaena is toxic to cats & dogs

This one may not be as fun as the other facts, but important nevertheless.
If eaten, cats and dogs have vomiting, overproduction of saliva, and lack of appetite. Cats may also may have dilated pupils. Make sure you keep your fluffy friends in mind while choosing houseplants, and if you just can’t live without the Dracaena, please make sure you are educated and cautious.

Modern Gardening

How to Have a Fresh Veggie, Fruit, and Herb Garden in Small Spaces

Imagine this. You walk outside on a warm June evening, the smell of fresh cut Grass fills your senses. You glide over to your abundant garden, full of Lettuce, Tomatoes, and Summer Squash. You pick a few Cherry Tomatoes, and pop them into your mouth. The sweet satisfaction of a hard summers work finally pays off.

You open your eyes, realize you live in a rented 2nd story apartment with no yard, and feel defeated. Will your garden only grow in your dreams?

With the rental movement on the rise, and housing becoming more restrictive, it can be difficult to find the proper space to plant anything. But as Jurassic Park has taught us, life finds a way. Whether you have a small studio apartment, an HOA, or simply want a beautiful garden with minimal maintenance, we have a few ideas to turn your gardening dreams into reality.

We used our Liberte Pot & Saucer from Chive to house Lettuce, Cilantro, and Basil. We love the teacup feel, and there’s hole in the bottom for proper drainage!

Pot it Up

Who says you need to have a plot of land to have a gorgeous garden?
Many herbs as well as Lettuce and Spinach can be grown indoors successfully. Be sure to talk to your local garden store for specifics.

This not only allows you to grow your favorite veggies wherever you’d like, but also to add fun visual interest to your humble abode.

2 birds, 1 stone. Love it.

DIY Compact Your Compost


Speaking of 2 birds with 1 stone, check out this multi-functioning beauty. If you’re anything like me, you don’t want to throw food into the trash, only for it to sit in the landfill and never decompose. And, if you’re anything like me, you don’t have space for a heap of compost in your yard, or kitchen— or really anywhere. Introducing the DIY Garden Tower! Quiet Corner, a resource for making life easier, published this awesome tutorial on how to make you’re own Compost/Garden Tower. You can put kitchen scraps and worms in the center compost pipe to feed and grow up to 45 healthy, nutritious plants in the outer pockets. Who’s up for this DIY project this weekend?!

Raise it Up

If you happen to have a yard, even if it’s small:

A. I’m jealous

B. You can have an amazing outdoor garden in a raised garden bed!

Not only is this a space saver, it’s a relatively easy way to implement edible landscaping without using heavy rototillers, moving rock, or digging at all. Build your raised bed up to waist level if you can, your back and knees will thank you later!

What are some of the ways you’ve innovated you’re gardening tactics?

Arbor Day: A Little History

“Each generation takes the Earth as trustees.”—J. Sterling Morton

We all know Arbor Day as a day to plant, celebrate, and talk about trees. But how did this holiday begin? What some may associate with more modern environmental causes, the history of Arbor Day actually takes roots all the way back in 1872, and of all places, in Nebraska.

J. Sterling Morton was a pioneer, settling in Nebraska, and a strong advocate for trees. He recognized the need for trees in the Plains not simply to please the eye, but for windbreak, keeping soil in place, providing building materials and fuel, and of course, giving shade from the Mid-West sun.  He used his position as a journalist to advocate tree planting in his articles and editorials, and when he became Secretary of the Nebraska Territory, he utilized his platform to further encourage the value of trees.

In January 1872, Morton proposed Arbor Day, a tree-planting holiday, to the meeting of the State Board of Agriculture. They agreed and set the date on April 10, 1872. More than one million trees were planted in Nebraska on that day, with prizes going to the counties and individuals who planted the largest number of trees (properly of course).

Arbor Day was officially named a legal holiday in Nebraska in 1885. It was to be observed on April 22 in honor of J. Sterling Morton’s birthday.  Today, many states observe Arbor Day on the last Friday of April, but some observe the day depending on the best weather to plant trees. Whether you plant in January and February in the South US or in May in the Northern States, Arbor Day is certainly a day worth celebrating. For the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now. —Chinese Proverb

This article was written with information from www.arborday.org/celebrate/documents/history.pdf.

Summer Bulbs in Stock

20% OFF!

Dahlia

  • Decorative
  • Dinnerplate
  • Cactus
  • Waterlily
  • Anemone Flower
  • Purple

Gladiolus

  • Nanus Hybrid

Lily

  • Double Oriental
  • Oriental
  • Asiatic

Lily of the Valley

  • Lily of the Valley
  • Freesia Single
  • Babiana Stricta
  • Sandersonia Aurantiaca
  • Tricyrtis

Freesia Single

Babiana Stricta

Sandersonia Aurantiaca

Tricyrtis

Edible Gardens: How to Make Rose Syrup

The Perfect Addition to Your Tea, Coffee, or Cocktail

Floral syrups seem to be everywhere these days; and for good reason! Flowers such as rose, lavender, and tulip add a new dimension to a dish or drink; you can add it to anything from pancakes to salads to cocktails. Edible flowers also have stellar amounts of Vitamin C; no wonder Cleopatra used to bathe in roses and milk (allegedly). But you don’t have to be royalty to enjoy everything that edible flowers have to offer. Here’s a fun recipe for Rose Simple Syrup that we think is fit for a queen!

Ingredients

6 cups Unsprayed Rose Petals from a deep red scented rose; we suggest the Mister Lincoln variety (Pre-order for Summer 2019 at Bath Garden Center)

12 cups of water

12 cups of raw evaporated cane sugar

6 TBSP fresh lemon juice (optional)

Makes about 15 cups of Rose Simple Syrup

Instructions

Rinse the petals thoroughly. Chop petals (by hand or in a food processor).  In a large stock pot, bring the sugar, water and chopped rose petals to a boil, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat and let simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let sit for a 1-2 hours. This gives time for the rose fragrance to infuse thoroughly.

Place a double layered cheesecloth or muslin over a large bowl or another stock pot (we suggest having a helper or tying a band around to make sure the cloth stays taught while you pour). Pour the mixture over the cheesecloth, making sure to strain all of the petals out. Let sit for about 30 minutes to allow all of the syrup to pass through.

Stir in the optional lemon juice; this will turn the syrup into a bright and vibrant red! Pour into a bottle or mason jar with a lid and refrigerate up to a year or freeze until ready to use. Enjoy!

Pansy and Alyssum Arrangements We Love

Pansies and Alyssum are perfect Spring flowers. They are fairly hardy (keep above freezing!), display a variety of colors and patterns, and will make the entire space smell amazing. Here are some of our favorite ways to arrange Pansies and Alyssum together, whatever your style!

Use a basket as a planter.

A tried and true method, you can’t go wrong with potted Pansies and Alyssum. Try this fun French Country style basket.

Keep it Classic.

Or add interest with a classic glazed outdoor planter using a Spike to add height and flowing Pansies and Alyssum for movement.

Stay Simple.

Sometimes less is more. Keep things simple and fresh with a warm clay pot and small bunch of Alyssum.

Get funky.

If you love thrift store shopping, you’ll love this. Use an old steel or copper tea pot, gravy dish, or flowering can for a pot. This technique adds a lot of character for a fun Shabby Chic look.

Hang it up.

Pansies and Alyssum add a special flow to any hanging basket. Hang them anywhere, including right on your front porch. You’ll delight your guests and family by creating a clean, warm space from the time they enter the door.

What are your favorite ways to arrange these beautiful Spring flowers?

Love, Bath Garden Center

Spring Frost & Freeze Warning!

Call (970) 484-5022 or email smaes@bathgardencenter.com if you have any questions about protecting your plants.

TEMPERATURES AS LOW AS 22°F for the next 4 days

Blizzard Warning April 10th-April 11th

PREPARE FOR THE COLD!

Frost cloth is best for any seedlings coming up or annuals you might have planted. We have frost cloth available!
Bring potted plants indoors to protect from cold and heavy snows.

SPRINKLER & HOME PREPARATION

REMOVE garden hoses from outdoor faucets just to be safe
SHUT OFF your indoor water valve that is connected to your sprinkler system. Wrap your vacuum breaker/back flow device in a heavy blanket to keep it warm. Put a trash bag over the blanket to keep it dry. This will
help protect your sprinkler system in a short cold snap.
STAY WARM THIS WEEK!