Summer Flowers & Busy Bees + a GIVEAWAY!

   Greetings from the steamy prairie! If these photos look slightly ghostly, its because my camera kept steaming up as I tried to take photos. It is hot and it is swampy out there! But the garden sure looks good, doesn’t it? In that ‘about to turn into a jungle’ sort of way….

   The roses are totally done….the cabbage and kale are monsters, the lettuce has literally gone to seed. But the zenias are up and looking marvelous, as are the sunflowers. The birdhouse gourds are thriving and climbing up the little chapel, and I’ve got squash and eggplant going, almost ready to pick. This is summer!

  The bees are very busy too, and I love to go out and watch them work (they’re the only ones motivated to work in this dripping heat!) There are big bumble bees that love the sun flowers, but I love seeing all the little bees flying around too, and I hope that some of them belong to my neighbor’s hive. I need to remember to take my spoonful of honey a day to help allergies, because what’s more local than honey made from blooms in your own yard? I’d say nothin!

   The sunflowers are going crazy too, and I love seeing their sunny little (and big) faces reaching for the sky. There is something so wild and magnificent about sunflowers, bobbing in the breeze and following the light of the sun. I’ll have to save some of these seeds and feed the birdies the rest. I must always have the sunflowers, since they’re my mama’s favorite flowers— and the bees too, of course!

   And now that we’ve turned the calendar page over to the month of July there is no escaping it– it is SUMMER. And since I’m always game for a treat, I thought it would be fun to do something special– something garden and something bee inspired!

  So— I’m going to have a little giveaway here on my blog! All you have to do is comment on this post and you can win an 8×10″ copy of my painting “The Bee Keeper’s Garden”, shown below:

   This piece was so fun to make, and inspired by a brambly, riotous cottage garden— and my love of bees! There’s a wonderful article just out in the latest issue of British Country Living (June issue, but we Americans are just getting it here) all about bees and how important they are to our ecosystem. They do so much, and they’re little powerhouses! Humans have been enjoying honey for many centures as well, and they do such good for our gardens and environment.
   Over the last few years, I’ve been trying to be a ‘bee friendly’ gardener and planting flowers they’ll like and providing shelter and water. We’ve got a terribly overgrown patch in our yard but I’m going to say ‘oh, that’s bee shelter!’ lol! They can take refuge there. We dont spray our yard and have let the lawn go wild with what we’ll call ‘native flora.’ We also have a ‘bug house’, which is a little wooden structure we have attached to the siding of the studio and it has little places where a variety of (good) insects can live, including mason bees.
   Mason bees are unique because they like to lay their eggs and take refuge in holes they find– they arent able to make them themselves. So This little house has rows of pieces of bamboo. The mother mason bee lays and egg, leaves it some food, and then plasters the ‘cell’ closed with mud. She’ll do it again and again until she fill the length of the tube. When the babies hatch, they’ll eat the food their mama left them, then burrow our. They are some of the first pollinators of spring as well, and so important for our spring blooming fruit trees. There are even sites out there where you can order a hive of mason bees to go in your mason bee house! So you have ready pollinators when the growing season comes, how fancy is that?

   However, as much as I love the bees, I dont want to touch the bees, so I am happy to buy honey from my neighbor up the street. On Saturday he had a booth set up at our town Famer’s Market and I was so happy to buy from him (you can see his honey bear in the pic above!) Some other neighbors were also selling lavender products and I bought a nice little bouquet I’ve got hanging in my kitchen window, and I also got a jar full of dried organic Bay Leaves.

   Bay leaves are always called for in some of the old homey recipes for soups and stews and baking and I always think “where in the world am I gonna get a bay leaf?” well now, I have a whole jar! They also make me think of Tasha Tudor and her famous Bay tree that she was so proud of…and I was able to see when I toured her home 3 years ago!

  Well, I should sign off for now, but please dont forget to enter the print contest! If you’d like your own pretty little bee keeper, this is your chance! 😀 And if you’re a bit like me with no patience, please know that I have prints in my etsy shop read to go out!

  I am also putting the finishing touches on my newsletter and would love to send it to you as well. It is mostly a homey little letter that I send to you, my kindred spirits, about once a month– usually with a treat enclosed. You can sign up for the newsletter HERE and please know your information is always private and never shared. And I love being able to send you a little something extra!

  Well, have a wonderful day! I hope your world is full of loveliness and bloom. And may you always–

Take Joy,
H

17 thoughts on “Summer Flowers & Busy Bees + a GIVEAWAY!

  1. Good morning to you, Heather! Thank you for sharing photos and thoughts on your lush summer garden…I so enjoyed it!! Adding a bay leaf to beans (I sautee/ carmelize onion, add black beans, then a bay leaf or two) really enhances the flavors. Blessed day to you!

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  2. Hi Heather. My friend Chris Spanbauer turned me on to your artwork a while back…and…I'm so glad she did! You seem like such a kindred spirit. I grew up in farm country (upstate NY)…gardens…space…beauty. Many of your paintings remind me of home…warms my soul. Thank you for sharing your gift.

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  3. You visited Tasha Tudor’s home?! Oh I’m so jealous! She’s one of my favorites! Thank you for doing this giveaway. This painting caught my eye when you first posted it on Instagram. It’s just beautiful. I am a huge fan of yours! So glad I found you!

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  4. What a lovely garden you have! My mother is a wonderful gardener too and would appreciate it. Father has been wanting to keep bees for a while but we keep living in non-bee-friendly areas. It’s a beautiful painting!

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  5. Your zinnias look amazing! I am only 4 hours south of you and I am struggling to keep anything alive. The painting is gorgeous, of course, it reminds me of having bees as a teen.

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  6. I love your beekeeper painting (as well as your other works). I have planted lots of NW natives for the birds, bees, and butterflies here in western Washington and love to watch all the activity. I need to start identifying all the different kinds of bees!

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  7. I have a friend who is a lover of bees but recently found out she is VERY allergic…this print would go lovely in her kitchen!I love Bay leaves…I use them all the time in my Fall/Winter soups & stews!

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