I still have Phragmites tubes left but all out of cocoons for 2017

Basket full of cut tubes..

I package these in lots of 30 now for $15.00.I include a variety of lengths and diameters if you want.  Smaller diameters attract other mason bee species.

Some successful tubes split open before cleaning out the cocoons.

Even if you cant get bees this year, set out some tubes placed in a home made from a PVC pipe and you will probably attract native ones.

Put Out Your Mason Bees when Pollinators are Needed

The time to put out your mason bees which have been overwintered in your refrigerator is when you need them to do their work. I release mine in batches.  The first batch was several weeks ago when the peaches and nectarines were in bloom. This week, the pears, plums and cherries are in bloom so I just put out  another batch of cocoons near my bee homes. I will save the last batch for my apple trees which bloom later.

2016-03-31 peachI had to transplant this peach tree this year to the corner of the vegetable preparation building so I found another good spot to place a bee home.

Phragmites reed grass for Mason Bee tubes

Phragmites in estuary/marsh
Last years stems of Phragmites in estuary/marsh being harvested for mason bee tubes. It is important that this is done only before new shoots start to emerge.  I have a theory that this native Phragmites exists in this marsh only because the marsh was fenced in the early years to prevent grazing by cattle and sheep. It has been eliminated from most of the other marshes in BC by grazing (personal communication with Robert Prescott-Allen). The reason this marsh was fenced was that the plant Triglochin maritima  (Sea arrow grass) grows in the marsh and it is toxic to grazers.


“Seaside arrow-grass (Triglochin maritima) is a native plant found sporadically across Canada in saline, brackish, or fresh marshes and shores. This plant contains cyanogenic glycosides, which can release HCN during mastication by animals. Poisoning occurs primarily with ruminants, including cattle and sheep. The concentration of toxic chemicals increases during times of moisture depletion (Majak et al. 1980, Cooper and Johnson 1984, Poulton 1989).”




Phragmites australis subsp. americanus: the native reed grass on Vancouver Island

phragmitesYou will find many articles on the internet about the invasive species of Phragmites but the one that grows here on Vancouver Island is the Native species, Phragmites australis (Cav.) Trin. ex Steud. subsp. americanus. 

The following article on the Metchosin Coastal website describes an example of  misidentification of this species in British Columbia. titled:

A new Lease on Life for the Rare Marsh Plant: Phragmites australis subsp. americanus–A note of caution when attempting to control Invasive Species.  



Ocean Spray in flower : June 13 -Phenology

2015-06-21 ocsprayOne of the latest blooming native shrubs on the farm is the Ocean Spray. These bushes can be up to 10 metres in height.




Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Genus: Holodiscus
Species: H. discolor[1]

Holodiscus discolor (Pursh) Maxim.

Ocean Spray in the pasture

Mock Orange –phenology 2015

Several small clumps of Mock orange survive in the roundabout in the laneway. It was transplanted here from Hornby Island.
2015-06-04 mockorange
Kingdom Plantae –
Subkingdom Viridiplantae
Infrakingdom Streptophyta – land plants
Superdivision Embryophyta
Division Tracheophyta – vascular plants,
Subdivision Spermatophytina
Class Magnoliopsida
Superorder Asteranae
Order Cornales
Family Hydrangeaceae –
Genus Philadelphus L. –, mock orange
Species Philadelphus lewisii Pursh – Lewis’ mock orange

Native Plants of Metchosin- blooming this week

This past week brought the emergence of flowering on several more of the native plants we have on the farm.

Native plants of Metchosin April 28

Keeping track of some blooming times of native plants (phenology) .

Click on the phenology tag below for other examples.