On pollinator patrol at the patch

 A blue-banded bee spotted in the garden

A blue-banded bee spotted in the garden

A few intrepid bug spotters gathered at the garden this morning to take part in the Wild Pollinator Count.

The Wild Pollinator Count is an opportunity to contribute to wild insect pollinator conservation in Australia. Thousands of native pollinator species contribute to pollination in crops and gardens all around the country. However, relatively little is known about them. This citizen science project aims to help identify all our insect pollinator species, understand their ecology and how they are affected by human activities.

Unfortunately, the overcast day meant that our pollinating pals weren't out in force, but we still managed a few sightings.

The salvias won the 'Best Pollinator Attractors' award. We also found pollinators on the basils and brassicas.

Our final tally for the day was:

  • European honey bees: 11
  • Blue-banded bees: 2
  • Ladybird beetles: 1
  • Hoverflies: 4
  • Wasps: 3
 These little green long-legged flies weren't doing any pollinating, just hanging out on the leaves.

These little green long-legged flies weren't doing any pollinating, just hanging out on the leaves.

Coffee-powered morning in the garden

Sydney summer is in full swing! It's hot, and it's humid, too. Recent rains have filled the rain gauge to the brim. The warm wet weather means the garden is prolific: the zucchini plants are putting on one zucchini after the next, the tamarillo tree is laden with fruit, and the cucumbers are flowering whilst producing plump cucumbers. 

 A beautiful, crunchy cucumber from the communal bed (upper garden wall bed). Yum! 

A beautiful, crunchy cucumber from the communal bed (upper garden wall bed). Yum! 

Weeding is a good job to do now (isn't it always ;-) ?) to help vegies grow. And a feed is important, too. With so much to do yet so few cool(ish) hours of the day we have moved the Sunday working bees forward to the morning, commencing at 9AM.  

J.,  a PermaPatch member has been pulling out weeds since the start this morning. Sweat drops glisten on her forehead and there is  is a big smile on her face "I love this garden!" "Look at these beautiful little flowers" she says pointing to the sage showing off red and white hues "they add so much colour". And they are edible, too, adding a bit of colour when sprinkled over salads. 

This morning we are joined by our very own barista, T. from PermaCulture Sydney North. He is manning the coffee machine and makes sure nobody goes without a coffee to fuel our work efforts. And there is homemade cake, too - what great way to start the day! 

 Come one, come all - morning tea (coffee) at the Community Garden! 

Come one, come all - morning tea (coffee) at the Community Garden! 

We also had bee-keepers inspect our hives. Unfortunately, unwanted beetles have taken over, driving out the bees. The infested boxes needed to be removed. 

This might be a bit of a relief for those of you who need to be careful around bees because of allergic reactions to beestings. Our bee-keeper has some good advice: "Avoid wearing any colourful clothing, or perfume". Basically anything that a bee might mistake as a flower. Also, bees can be attracted by the glistening of eyes, so wearing sunglasses is another good tip to keep bees away. 

Eventually we'd like to get another beehive established because they are so important. And in previous years we were able to treat our members to beautifully cold-filtered honey  straight from the garden. So hopefully we'll soon be able to welcome a new beehive!

 The pawpaw tree (located at the southern border of the lower garden) in full bloom.

The pawpaw tree (located at the southern border of the lower garden) in full bloom.

All in all a beautiful morning in the garden - thanks to all who contributed with coffee and cake, hard work and community spirit. 

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Mandy's Open Garden

Hi – As you may already know, my garden is in the Open Gardens Australia scheme on 29th and 30th of this month. The flyer they have made for me is attached.

Would love you to come and have a look at the 150 species of edibles growing here, flowers, natives, edible sharing verge and of course – the chooks! We have talks, home-made lemon butter, jams etc, tea, coffee and cake, home-made elderflower cordial, home-grown (no sprays) plants and some shady or sunny spots to sit and chat or relax. There is also going to be a sculpture trail with some small sculptures for sale. Doug Purdie, The Urban Beekeeper, is coming to talk about his new book – how to keep bees in the city – even on top of tall city buildings!

I would be very glad if you could pass this flyer on to anyone you think might be interested. We are raising funds for our community garden, that we started about 6 years ago and is now going really It is completely community run and unfunded, other than a Council grant when we are lucky. Like my garden, it is run on Permaculture lines and a local hub for learning about sustainable living – growing your own food is one great way to reduce your carbon footprint – and eat great food while you’re doing it!  

When my garden was open two years ago, we had a lot of visitors and a lot of fun. This will be the last time, as Open Gardens Australia is sadly folding up next year.

Thanks so much. Mandy Stubbs


Honey for sale
$8 per jar for members

$10 per jar for non-members

On Sunday 16th March we bottled the very rare, very delicious PermaPatch honey.  We were rewarded with 84 jars of the gorgeous gold liquid, which is now for sale to members for $8 per jar & non-members for $10 per jar.

You may purchase the honey on any of the upcoming weekends in the garden or by using the honesty system & collecting some from the shed. The honey is in a box marked "honey" - please try & bring the right change so that it makes it easy for everyone & please, no IOU's.

We ask that if you are intending to on-sell the honey to friends, family, work colleagues that it is sold for $10. That way we can maintain our exclusive member's price for this precious nectar.

Our honey is rare, we have only had the one batch per year since we've had the bees at PermPatch, so it is very special to us.  Enjoy it while it lasts!

Honey Bottling!

My very first trip down to PermaPatch was last year on honey bottling day!  It was held at the end of the month on an Open Day and there were about 15 people who attended the garden to help. It was pretty amazing to process a product made in the garden, knowing it was all being done by hand, by a community of people who were connected with their local environment and the food they eat...  and that this was all happening right across the road from where I live made me quite giddy!

There are so many health benefits to eating locally produced honey, not least of all that it reduces the severity of any pollen allergies.

The great news is that Honey Bottling Day is back!  And this time we are ramping up the excitement by having delicious honey laden pikelets to feed and energise the hard workers of the bottling production line!  

You can also buy a bottle of honey on the day! Sunday March 16 from 2 - 5pm.

Bee-ware! Angry Bees

Could everyone please take great care at the community garden at the moment, as the bees are annoyed about something (possibly about having 60kg of honey removed!) and have stung two people this week. If you go up to the garden and a bee flies around your head, PLEASE LEAVE AT ONCE, as it will try to sting your face. Brightly coloured clothing and hats can aggravate them more. Hopefully they will settle down soon, or they will have to be removed. If you get stung, think about taking an anti-histamine tablet as soon as possible (if you are not badly affected by the tablets), to avoid swelling. Please go to the doctor if it doesn't settle down. Stingose seems to help the immediate pain of the sting.

Hopefully, we will have some honey jarred-up soon for sale, to ease the pain too!