Posted by Terra Trellis on April 16, 2014 0 Comments
At TerraTrellis we have a serious case of garden fever. It’s April, after all. Things are blooming, the weather is warming, and every time we check our inbox we’re reading about spring gardening tasks and swooning over garden landscapes, spring plants, and the upcoming edible bounty.
But, let’s face it. Gardening is hard work, and it takes more than a few weekend’s worth of tilling and digging to get the garden up and running every growing season. A garden’s success relies on an army of support staff, including the insect kind.
photo by Christine Casey, UC Davis
This post is about the unsung heroes of the garden. Yes, often honey bees get all the glory: socializing, colonizing, and literally dying for their queen. But native bees, some of them solitary, have an equally important role in the garden. Native bees, including the bumble bee and the carpenter bee, pollinate the flowers we fawn over and the fruits and vegetables we bring to the table.
photo by Daniel Schwen
But new research suggests that bumble bees, one of more than 4,000 native bee species in the United States that supports our agricultural economy, are threatened, according to a report by the Nature Conservancy. And as the natural phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder continues to threaten and shrink the honey bee population with a deadly combination of virus, pest, and bad agricultural management within a monoculture environment, it’s more important than ever that we pay attention to pollinators like native bees.
Commercial farmers are implementing new techniques, or revisiting traditional farming practices, to offset the effects of Colony Collapse Disorder, as reported in a recent New York Times article. Home gardeners can also do simple things to support these important pollinators. The least we can do is create a hospitable environment for them and entice them to stick around in our yard.
Before native bees can get busy in the garden, they need a place to nest. We created our Bee Bungalow to support the native bee habitat with hand cut reeds and hollowed branches where they build their solitary nests. A native bee’s lifecycle is short, but our Bee Bungalow is in the garden year round, providing a safe place for generations of native mason bees to rest and nest and do their thing.
photo of TerraTrellis Bee Bungalow by Rob Wilson/Silas Tom
Even our other trellises like the Mira Garden Trellis and Akoris Garden Tuteur “support” native bees with their functionality. Flowering vines and climbing veggies, when grown on a garden trellis, elevate the colorful blossoms that they are drawn to.
Besides our Bee Bungalow, there are several other ways in which we can attract and retain native pollinators like native bees in our backyard.
Create a diverse plant palette
Diversity in the garden means that no one plant will throw off the garden’s ecological balance. Providing a smorgasbord of plant pollen and nectar with a variety of flower landing pads and pollinator receptacles welcomes a variety of pollinators. Consider plants like California poppy, wild mint, bush anemone, and zinnias. Mix it up with varieties, colors and textures of all kinds.
Avoid Pesticides in the garden
Every time a pollinator lands and feeds or drinks from a flower that has been treated with some form of chemical, that chemical is carried back to its nest and spread to other pollinators.
Plant perennial shrubs en masse
Many pollinators are more productive when they have a wide swath of flowers from which to forage. They’re also more likely to revisit your garden if they have a large area to cover. A flowering shrub, like rosemary or sage, is ideal.
Depending on the climate, some native bees begin emerging as early as January. Early blooming plants like manzanita provide pollen and nectar once they emerge. Even late fall blooming annuals can support native bees until they die off. The important thing is to provide plants that can support the different types of native bees for as long as possible.
photo by Christine Casey, UC Davis
Want to learn more?
The Xerces Society has a Pollinator Conservation Resource Center that includes a state-by-state resource list including bee-friendly plants. It’s a collaboration with the University of California, Davis, which is one of the country’s leading academic institutions on native pollinators. The university’s Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility, has an open-to-the-public Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, provides a wealth of information on native bee habitats and honey bee habitats.
Posted by Terra Trellis on March 07, 2014 1 Comment
As a large part of the nation continues to be blanketed in snow, we here on the West Coast are reminded of our easygoing climate, year round planting opportunities, and perpetual state of renewal. But there’s something to be said for the unique beauty of winter’s dormant nature as the soil quiets itself in a slumbering stillness.
We recently received correspondence from a TerraTrellis customer and we were awestruck by the beauty of her photos and words, describing her historic Pennsylvania farmhouse garden still covered in snow. Her photographs and prose remind us that our artful trellises, though striking when interwoven with vines and blossoms, can be just as impactful when placed thoughtfully in a landscape, snow and all.
We’re inspired by her love of her garden, her hopefulness and anticipation for the seasons to come. In her own words:
I have enclosed some winter photos which highlight how your structures add beauty and interest to an otherwise bare garden. In the first photo, you can see the tops of the tuteurs peeking over the fence in front of the barn, hinting at something interesting beyond. The photos below show the structure of the garden beds and how I incorporated the tuteurs and the Toki bubbles as well as copper arches (used to support row covers and repeat the oxide color of your structures) and galvanized metal fence panels (which repeat and emphasize the color of the metal balls on top of the tuteurs). Although covered with snow and bare of plants, my view into the garden gives me hope that our seemingly never-ending winter will not last forever...
We live just outside Philadelphia on a horse farm. The structures on the property date back to 1790. We are only the sixth owners of the property, and as far as we know, it has always functioned as a small family farm with crops and livestock. These days our crops are limited to those grown in the kitchen garden, and our livestock consists of horses, chickens (for the eggs) and a fledgling hive of honeybees. The barn and house have been updated to accommodate today's necessities but retain much of the history and charm of yesteryear. We have several perennial gardens throughout the property as well as the kitchen garden. My goal with the kitchen garden was to create a space that combined my appreciation for art, my passion for gardening and my love of cooking. It includes a series of raised beds and growing structures containing espaliered apple trees, blueberry, blackberry and raspberry bushes and permanent beds for asparagus and strawberries. We rotate our favorite spring and summer herbs and vegetables among the other beds and attempt to grow everything organically with very limited use of chemicals as they are harmful to our bees. I love the challenge of finding the right combination of plants that compliment each other's structures and needs. We gladly share the bounty of our farm with our neighbors and preserve much of our harvest to enjoy during the remainder of the year.
By the way, the ladies from my garden club love your products as much as I do and I have passed your information on to them.
Posted by Terra Trellis on September 20, 2013 0 Comments
One recent fall morning, photographer and digital media producer Adam Grossman looked out his kitchen window to admire his vine-covered Gracie Modern Arbor in the morning light.
Just a few minutes later a visitor appeared; a bird of prey taking a bath and enjoying the peaceful shelter of the arbor.
The solitary visitor was likely a red-tailed hawk a species that live in the nearby Santa Monica Mountains.
Later that day, Adam encountered a different creature of prey, a juvenile mantis taking respite under the same Gracie Arbor. The mantis is considered by many to be a beneficial insect and a welcome visitor to the garden.
We love to see our sculptural trellises bringing together wildlife and art. Right in our own front yards.
Posted by Terra Trellis on September 01, 2013 0 Comments
Horticulture, art, design, music, fashion, food and drink. These "best things in life" intersect in a life well-lived, right? They also happen to intersect online, in the wonderfully inspiring blog The Horticult. This beautifully presented site is the creation of the horticulturally-hip and sartorially-savvy couple Chantal Aida Gordon and Ryan Benoit. As they put it:
The Horticult is where we experiment with our space — and also crash other people’s gardens and get inspired. It’s a place where we eat, drink and loosen rootballs, where flora, fauna and culture intersect in unexpected ways.
We were lucky enough to be recently featured in The Horticult and thrilled (but not at all surprised) when just a few weeks later, Chantal and Ryan were discovered in A BIG WAY by the New York Times (see the three page feature Marriage is Yard Work in the Home & Garden section).
Ryan's own design skills are as impressive as Chantal's writing and interviewing talents. Check out Ryan's website Ryan Benoit Design and Chantal's own site ChantalGordon.com to see what we're talking about.
The curiosities Chantal and Ryan explore on The Horticult are influenced by their shared obsession with design and horticulture....and passion for living the good life. We look forward to seeing more of their adventures blossom on The Horticult!
photos by Ryan Benoit
Posted by Terra Trellis on September 02, 2013 0 Comments
Like fashion, gardens are now transitioning from their vibrant summer looks into the more muted tones of the fall season. Our summer was loaded with horticultural and design inspiration, bursting with color and texture from diverse landscapes coast to coast. Below is a photo journal of some magical summer moments; a mashup of images from private potager gardens, to island farms to spectacular public spaces.
Above: The summer landscape of the High Line in New York City is a breathtaking study in contrasts.
Above: Grasses, flowering perennials and trees weave interesting tapestries throughout the High Line gardens.
Above: Horticulture and architecture collide along the former elevated train tracks of the High Line.
Above: Fields of Rudbeckia (Black Eyed Susan) pop in a private New England garden.
Above: Echinacea 'Purpurea' (Purple Cone Flower) patch in New England.
Above: This hoop-house/greenhouse crawls through the gardens of Nip 'N Tuck organic farm on Martha's Vineyard.
Above: Planting asparagus and broccoli seedlings at Nip 'N Tuck organic farm on Martha's Vineyard.
Above: Native grasses frame vibrant pink mallows along a barrier beach pond on Martha's Vineyard.
Above: Akoris Garden Tuteurs support summer tomatoes in a raised modern potager garden by Elow Landscape Design in Los Angeles.
Above: Our Mira Garden Trellis Sr. does double time as a trellis and work of art in a California summer garden. Edible and ornamental plants include Distictus 'Buccinatoria' (Blood Red Trumpet Vine), artichokes and Rosemary.
Above: Our sculptural new Bird Cafe birdfeeder sits atop the Akoris Garden Tuteur Sr. in a southern California landscape. Plants in this edible/ornamental summer garden include raspberry vine, succulents, Rosemary and Wisteria Sinensis.
Above: A Gracie Modern Arbor supports Distictus 'Rivers' (Royal Trumpet Vine) and frames a birdbath, creating a stunning modern composition in a California front yard.