Welcome to my Garden Blog

Nature: wild & untouched. Photographing it, preserving it, taking walks and drinking in the landscapes as they unfold.

Gardens: touched by loving hands. Cultivated, nurtured. Drinking in those landscapes is wonderful, as well.

In my garden one enjoys some of both. Generally unpruned & wild, my plants reshape the garden as they grow.

Beyond the garden borders, natives from the Santa Monica Mtns await. Oak trees with their shady canopies. Cactus & Sage in the sun.

Always there are animal creatures to join in the fun.

I look forward to sharing some of my experiences with you as they unfold.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Making Honey with California Native Flowers

                  Phacelia grandifloria, Topanga Canyon, Photo by Kathy Vilim

We’re making honey out here in Southern California. How do we do it? Well, beekeepers are taking advantage of some of nature’s finest resources: flowering native plants! Luckily, the hillsides are covered with blooming natives in the coastal mountains from Santa Barbara down to Baja, including here in Topanga Canyon, home to Topanga Quality Honey.

Many California plants have nectar that is delicious to the honeybee. Beekeepers take their bees to a meadow where wildflowers such as largeflower phacelia (above) are blooming in the spring. When those blossoms fade, they move to a hillside of white sage or buckwheat (below), which bloom into fall.

      California Buckwheat, Topanga, Photo by Kathy Vilim

California buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum) has an abundance of flowers—creamy white, tinged with pink. As they mature, the flowers turn to a rust color. "Viewing wild hillsides covered with the coppery seed heads of California buckwheat is a uniquely Western experience," wrote Carol Bornstein, co-author of California Native Plants for the Garden. The honey made from this plant is sought for its dark, full-bodied flavor as well as its nutritional value."—Kathy Vilim of Topanga Canyon, California

The above post was written in June, 2010 for the National Wildlife Federation's "Gold Medal Favorites" feature. Thank you, Kelly Senser, for the opportunity to share my photos of plants for pollinators. 

For full NWF article: http://www.nwf.org/News-and-Magazines/National-Wildlife/Gardening/Archives/2010/Native-Plants-for-Pollinators.aspx

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Wildflowers, Santa Monica Mtns

Wildflowers, Santa Monica Mtns