February 01, 3000

My Colorado Beekeeping Calendar: A sticky post

A Phenological Calendar for Colorado Beekeepers

By undergoing VIT, I successfully reduced my sensitivity to honeybee venom to safe levels! After taking several years off, my interest in beekeeping has not waned, and I'm anxious to restock our hives. I will definitely let you know when that happens, but first we have to find where to get bees in our new home state of Virginia!

Meanwhile, what about you? What are your plans for this season? If you're in the Denver metro, maybe my Colorado bloom calendar will help you think them through. ☝️ Yellow bars = mason bee tasks, blue bars = honeybee tasks. The green bars in the calendar are what's blooming now. Keep in mind that the dates can shift a couple of weeks in either direction depending on weather conditions. For example, the excessively warm 2017/2018 winter had elm trees blooming well before Valentine's Day. The snow storm on President's Day, though, cut short its blooming period. You can click on any of the events for more details and additional reading. I hope you find it useful.

And don't forget, Marty Hardison's booklet, "The Appropriate Beehive" is available at right. If you like The List he wrote for when to do what for one's bees, please consider making a donation. It'll ensure "The Appropriate Beehive" remains available through this website. I'm working with Marty on an update but am challenged by the limits of Google Docs or 365. Like many right now (2021), I'm unemployed so can't afford Microsoft Word, but I'm trying to find a solution so we can post it for you ASAP. Until then, may your hives be humming. — BB & HB

Blogger Tip: create a "pinned" or "sticky post" by publishing it with a date in the future, like in the year 3000. It'll stay at the top of your page as long as the date hasn't passed.

April 05, 2021

Cherry Cherry Boom Boom – it's the best time to see the National Cherry Blossoms!

Last time I spoke to my sister, she asked if being "homeless" and without belongings made us feel ungrounded. Quite the opposite, I responded, as we feel free to explore and roam at will. Untethered, we can go anywhere we want. I'll say it again; the world is too big to spend all your time in one place. Now may be the last time we're in the DC area, so I was adamant that we witness the famous Cherry Blossoms, pandemic be damned. I'm so glad we did because road and parking lot closures designed to discourage the usual crowds made street parking a breeze!

Eleven varieties of cherry tree surround the Tidal Basin, where the most famous, oldest, and numerous are. Mostly white, they are Yoshino cherry blossoms. The cherry trees in NoVA neighborhoods are popular with all sort of bees, the canopies alive with activity. But the only bee we saw at the Tidal Basin was a lone Eastern Carpenter.

Road and parking lot closures are keeping crowds at bay.
The main cherry blossoms have already peaked, but if you have FOMO you might still be in luck with the Kwanzan cherry blossoms. If you're hoping for pink, the Kwanzans are what you're looking for anyway. Their blossoms are multi-layered like a little rose, which is not great for bees but very pretty if not prettier than the simple Yoshinos in my opinion. They should peak on April 12.
Panoramic experience of the Tidal Basin.
If uncomfortably crowded at the Tidal Basin, you can enjoy cherry trees and other spring bloomers just a few blocks away. 
Grouping of daffodils, candytuft, squill and pansies looking lovely albeit barely established. The catmint behind is waking up nicely, and this garden will surely be abuzz this summer.
The Smithsonian Gardens are open, and with everyone at the Tidal Basin you'll find peaceful space, mostly to yourself. By now, the utterly magnificent saucer magnolias will have yielded the show to Redbuds, a fantastic source of both nectar and pollen for bees.
White camellias and Lilac daphne are peaking while the witchhazel behind is already done blooming.

Art in Bloom at the Enid A Haupt Gardens. The Downing Urn is in the foreground.

Chiyogami Compilation by Peijisan Art

Saucer Magnolia trees are all about the garden.

Daffodils and pansies with unknown yellow flowers in between.

"Men and nature must work hand in hand. The throwing out of balance of the resources of nature throws out of balance also the lives of men." ~ Franklin Delano Roosevelt, January 24, 1935

Forsythia provides a splash of yellow among the cherry trees.

Regardless of type, the cherry trees are peaking early (perhaps explaining the lack of bees) even in Japan where the gifted trees are from. In fact, peak bloom date for the cherry trees is trending earlier, exacerbating my concerns about climate change. If bees don't adapt to it, we will be in serious trouble. More than we already are. The impact of shifting bloom times on pollination – a different type of silent spring – and food security isn't talked about enough.

What worries you about climate change? More intense heat/cold? Catastrophic weather events? We fled Colorado because of its extreme heat and drought. And wildfires. And snow. But now I'm freaked out about coastal flooding. We're still at my in-laws', looking for a place of our own. I miss having a garden and a place to put our beehives. If you're not affected by climate change tell me! I want to move to where 𝙮𝙤𝙪 live. 💬