On Wednesday we discovered a swarm of bees had attached themselves to the new bamboo tunnel structure in the hollow. On further investigation we found that they were honey bees probably from our hives that is just above. Chris Bauer, our beekeeper, was contacted and he came with his equipment to see if he could capture the swarm and replace them in the box. Chris wasn't completely convinced that they were originally from our hive, since after inspection our hive seemed to be full. The bees dropped down into a box he set out as he brushed them off the structure. He covered them with a burlap sack and carried them back to the bee box. The smoker came in handy to mask his smell so the bees would not continually sting him. Today we checked the area and found a small "mango shaped" group of bees clinging on the structure. Chris returned and moved them to the hive. video: [media id=18 width=480 height=360]
Wednesday is the day that EDSET (Environmental Design, Science , engineering and Technology) Students from Albany highschool come to the garden to work on various projects. Today they are installing steps in one of our steep slopes that lead to the creek. The steps are made from our garden's downed redwood and pine trees and they have hand hewn with broad axes.
The UC College of Environmental Design held a two day event that included student presentations, lectures, and award ceremonies. Events were held at Wurster Hall and Oakland Museum of Art. The garden was asked to participate by providing flowers for the public events. Anastasia , one of our workstudy students at the garden, was the lead designer and made some colorful & stunning arrangements out materials collected from the garden.
One of the many sustainable practices we engage in at Blake Garden is collecting seed from our flowers and vegetables. The flower shown is Lavatera trimestris, annual mallow. Once the seeds are ripe, we collect, then separate the seeds from the rest of the flower. This year, we donated our surplus seeds to the Richmond Public Library’s Seed Lending Library where they are available to the public free of charge. This is a great community resource to which we are delighted to contribute. For more information about their program and seed saving, visit their website at http://www.richmondgrows.org/
Between two redwoods is a path to a tributary of Cerrito creek. Over time the path has eroded and become very steep. Lucas, Nolan, and Kian, Albany High School intern students from the EDSET program (Environmental Design, Science and Engineering Technology) have been hand hewing downed redwood lumber to put in risers for steps to make it easier to get to the bench site overlooking the creek.
Glenn Keator's Plant Materials Class from the College of Marin visited the garden today to look at our plant collection and our ongoing projects.
The stone pine cleanup continues with campus arborists, Bill, Doug and Angel with help from our staff, Mike and volunteers, Peter and Kevin. They are chipping the smaller pieces of pine creating some great mulch to be used in the garden beds. Larger pieces will be stored and used later for hand hewn benches & fences.