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Sunday, February 9, 2014
Posted By: Rebecca van der Zalm in Gardening

Introduction to Mason Bees

The Mason Bee is named for its habit of using mud to build nest compartments. The orchard mason bee is one of the best pollinators around. They can easily be mistaken for a small black & blue fly about 2/3 the size of a honey bee.

Image Courtesy: www.neighborhoodnotes.com

Whether you have fruit trees, a vegetable garden, or flowers, these bees will ensure you get the most out of what you are growing. While much attention has been paid to the honey bee, it is important to note that mason bees are exceptional pollinators without the wax, honey, swarm or sting.

It has been estimated that a honey bee can pollinate about 5% of the flowers it visits, whereas the mason bee pollinates about 95% and visits twice as many flowers! This pollination is crucial to growing vegetables and fruit and can help ensure a much greater yield in your garden.

How To Start Mason Bees

Mason bees require a nesting hole (drilled or nature made by beetles) 5/16 of an inch in diameter and 4 inches long. Arts Nursery has a great selection of custom made mason bee houses, and replacement tubes. We also sell boxes of bees instore during the early spring.

buy mason bee hives

You’ll want to put your bee hive outside during the month of March or April. Find a place in your yard that will be protected from rain and where the house will get morning sun, or a south-facing wall to maximize warmth from the sun. This will ensure that they are kept dry and the bees wake up earlier, ensuring more flowers are visited.

The males are the first on the scene, but these are not your key pollinators. They are necessary for reproduction of more female bees. The females will begin arriving around April, and in the month that follows, you will see the difference these bees will make in your garden.

Be sure to have plants that support their food needs. The earliest blooming food source (for pollinators) in the pacific west coast area is the red-flowering currant (Ribes sanguineum) certainly one of the most beloved and showy of native northwest shrubs. They offer a brilliant display of red flowers in spring, growing best in rocky, well-drained soil in a sunny location.This deciduous shrub can feed mason bees as well as early visiting humming birds.

Life cycle of the Mason Bee

Early Spring:
Adult bees break through mud walls and emerge from the bee box nests. The male bees, which leave the nest 2 weeks before the females, patiently wait for the females so that the mating process can begin. Once the female bees make it to the outside world (before their wings have a chance to dry) they are attacked and fertilized by the male bees. Then the males die.

Late Spring:
Females lay both fertilized and unfertilized eggs in the nesting holes and a mixture of pollen and nectar (bee pudding) is placed next to each egg. All of the fertilized eggs will produce female bees, whereas unfertilized ones will produce males. The female will lay about 35 eggs over 4-6 weeks, each one in its own protective chamber, sealed with mud. The egg turns into a larva in about 4 days, and eats it’s food supply.

Summer:
Larvae spin cocoons within the nesting hole. By September they are adult bees, but stay in a dormant state until next spring.

Winter:
The new bees are getting ready for early spring when they will emerge from their nests.

Mason Bee supplies are available in-store and online at our new web store: http://shop.artsnursery.com. The actual Mason Bees are available from February through April, in-store only.

If you have any questions about Mason Bees, please feel free to drop by or give us a call at Art's Nursery, 604.882.1201, during business hours.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Selections for the Discerning Gardener

5 Great Plants to Try For Spring 2012

Posted By: Lyle Courtice A.H. in Feature Products

The planting season has kicked off to a great start, so here are five of my favorites that you can try out in your garden this Spring.

beesia deltophylla plant

Beesia deltophylla

Ginger-Leaf False BugBane

A superb evergreen perennial from China with lustrous, heart-shaped, dark green leaves with an almost oil-like sheen; bronze-red new growth and winter colour.  Plants begin to bloom in April and will continue sporadically through fall with tall sprays of dainty star-like white flowers.  Beesia prefers a slightly moist, rich soil in shade and is quite tolerant of heavy shade.  Makes a great groundcover and works well in mixed planters.       

Height:  30cm  Spread:  30cm+  Zone:  6

Giant Himalayan Lily

Cardiocrinum cordatum var glehnii

Giant Himalayan Lily

A much rarer Japanese form of the more common Giant Himalayan Lily with large, glossy dark green hosta-like leaves; reddish-bronze in spring. This is a smaller growing form with flowering stalks to 2m, the large strongly fragrant trumpets are white with a greenish cast and dark reddish inner markings. Plant in humus enriched soil with good drainage in partial shade.

Height: 1.25-2m Spread: 30cm+ Zone: 6
hylomecon japonica , japanese poppt

Hylomecon japonica

Japanese Poppy

An uncommon woodland groundcover from Japan this vigorous (but not invasive) spreading perennial forms a neat mound of light green leaves. The clear, golden-yellow, single poppy-like flowers appear in early spring and can last for several weeks. Plant in a cool, moist shady location; plants may go dormant in high summer if it gets too hot and dry.

Height: 30cm Spread: 60-90cm Zone: 5
double stuff variegated solomons seal
Photo Courtesy of Terra Nova Nurseries

Polygonatum odoratum var. pluriflorum 'Double Stuff'

Variegated Solomons Seal

An elegant woodland classic with arching reddish stems and dark green leaves with a broad clean white edge. In early spring you will find small clusters of white bell-like flowers hanging just below the leaves. Prefers partial shade to shade in a rich woodland soil. This superior selection is sure to be an eye-catcher that will brighten any dull site.

Height: 75cm Spread: 60cm Zone: 3
poppy fern picture
Photo Courtesy of Harkaway Botanicals

Pteridophyllum racemosum

Poppy Fern

Until a few years ago this plant was scarcely known to but a few of the most avid collectors, even Rebecca didn't know how to classify this one! A very unique perennial endemic to the mountains of Japan it forms an evergreen rosette of dark green, fern-like leaves (like a miniature Jurassic tree) which are topped by short spikes of pendulous clean white flowers; spring into summer. Prefers moist, humus rich, well drained soil in a cool shady site. Makes a great container specimen and conversation piece.

Height: 15-30cm Spread: 30cm+ Zone: 5

All of these plants are available at Arts Nursery, albeit in very limited quantities. Please call ahad to confirm availability.


Saturday, July 9, 2011
Posted By: Rebecca van der Zalm in Feature Products

What would gardening be without exciting new plants. Here's a collection of 5 unique and interesting plants to consider adding to your garden for July 2011.



Beesia deltophylla

 Beesia
Beesia deltophylla
An excellent evergreen groundcover from the Dan Hinkley Collection. Exceptionally shiny, green to gunmental blue, heart-shaped leaves and pretty star-shaped flowers in mid to late spring. A fuss-free filler for shady understory spaces or a woodland garden. Best in full to partial shade. A slow grower. Maximum 18-24 inches tall and as wide. Hardy in zones 7-9

Justicia brandegeana




Shrimp Plant
Justicia brandegeana
A terrific tropical element to use in pots on patios or planted in entryways to enjoy the pendant terminal spikes of showy, unusual flowers. An evergreen in warm climates, but treat as an annual or as a houseplant in winter here in the pacific northwest. Best in full to part sun. Flowers year round (in warm climates). Will grow 3-4ft tall. Water regularly when top 3 inches of soil is dry. Hardy in USDA zones 9-11



Dianella revoluta 'Baby Bliss'

Baby Bliss Flax Lily
Dianella revoluta 'Baby Bliss'
A compact, extremely versatil and easy-care selection with blue-green foliage and pale violet flowers followed by attractive purple berries. An excellent mass planting or border in front of shrubs. Tolerates most any soil and salt spray. Evergreen. Thrives in either full sun or shade. Forms small clumps 1ft tall and 6 inches wide. Hardy in USDA zones 7-11. Needs only occasional water once established.



Disporum pullum 'Variegata'

Variegated Fairy Bells
Disporum pullum 'Variegata'
A charming groundcover with dark green leaves sreaked with pure white, golden fall colour. Easy to grow and makes a good naturalizer. Spreads to form a loose carpet of arching stems. Large creamy white, bell-shaped flowers in spring. A woodland plant best in cool shady sites. Height 40-50cm. Spread: 60cm. Hardy to zone 5.



Eucalyptus parvula

Small Leaved Gum Tree
Eucalpytus parvula
This mid-sized tree has juvenile leaves that give way to longer-pointed mature foliage which is attractive for cut arrangements at any age. Tolerates poorly drained, infertile soils and drought. Fast growing, with spreading, semi-weeping branches to 30-50ft tall and wide. Hardy in zones 7-11. Evergreen. Best in full sun. Water occasionally as needed.

All of these plants are available at Art's Nursery, but possibly seasonally and in limited quantities. Please give us a call at 604.882.1201 for more information or to have us put one of these specialties aside for you.


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Art's Nursery is a 10+ acre retail and wholesale garden centre located in Surrey, a suburb of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. We've been in business at this same location since 1973 and we're proud to serve you today!

We carry an incredible selection of plants, shrubs, trees, annuals, perennials, vines, groundcovers, roses and much more. Soils, bulk materials, pottery and a variety of garden accents are also available.

Our plant selection is so large that you can actually drive a golf cart while you shop!

We pride ourselves on providing high quality plant, expert advice and an exceptional gardening experience.

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