Spring is here at the farm, and not just in spirit, the blossoms and flowers are out. YES! The magnolias are in bloom. Our peach trees and blueberry bushes are in full flower. There are buds and new growth on the apple, pear and fig trees. The cherry and nectarine trees are almost there, just a day or two away. The herbs are green and the artichokes are sending up canes. Time to get back to work in the garden and orchard…..and we couldn’t be happier.
We often mention the cognitive dissonance of the Northern California seasons. Green in winter, brown in summer. We will focus on the green….and the flowers that hang on through winter. The roses get their petals knocked off by the rain, but they keep coming back. The rosemary is still in bloom and a few of the bees are working the blossoms. The hummingbirds scrap over the remaining flowers (and let us know to back off!). Our kind of winter.Continue reading →
Just as we have falling leaves amidst the flowers, the flowers still thrive among a shower of fallen leaves. The flowers never quite leave us here in Norcal. It gets colder, and some die back, but the rain brings new growth. And even in winter, the sunny days confuse encourage the flowers and they spring forth. The roses keep up a good fight and herbs thrive with the rains.
We will have a frost this winter, as we always do. The Bougainvillea will die back to almost nothing, the roses will succumb and the herbs will wither. But the Narcissus will leap up and spring will come again. The leaves will turn green….and new colors from the flowers won’t be far behind…
It’s hard to call taking photos of flowers “labor”, but it is certainly something we love. Even the kids get into the act and have very strong opinions on the “best” flowers and photos we should share. But truthfully, we love them all. Any flower you have the time to appreciate is a good (sometimes great) flower. Here are some from the Santa Ynez Valley… (Thanks to Sonja And Bill!)
The crew busy at work on the mint. Supposedly we may get a bit of mint flavor in this honey.
This week we got the first large batch of our late spring / early summer honey. (We have sort of a co-op going on and will explain how this all works in a later post). Very exciting. Most of this honey comes from our early season flowers, so it combines the nectar of the fruit blossoms, herb blossoms, roses, wisteria and the ornamental plants. Later in the year the lavender dominates, but this is truly a blend from the garden and orchard. Surprisingly the honey is very light in color and flavor, with some delicate herbal notes. We served it with grilled figs and it was lovely. (And we just ate a bunch with the honeycomb…what a treat. Might include it in a few cocktails, too.)
Red leaf lettuce flower.
Normally our local honey is a “mountain” or “forest” honey that runs darker with more bitter notes from the variety of flowers the bees work, and that is not a bad thing at all- these honeys are big, rich and complex. But we will admit to enjoying our more traditional golden honey. It seems the bees focused mostly on our garden this spring. And that got us thinking about all the “little” or “lesser” flowers that supplied such light, tasty honey.
Like many gardeners, we sometimes focus on our “big” flowers like roses, but we have many lovely flowering ornamental or ground-cover plants. The bees seem to like most of them, and we figured it would be fun to take a few photos of these “little” flowers. And after enjoying the honey from these flowers, maybe we shouldn’t call them “little” at all…besides, any excuse to walk in the garden with a Macro lens is a good one ;-)Continue reading →