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Common household remedies request

Actually, first a remark on pollinators: I've deliberately surrounded the garden with white clover, now flowering, and twined honeysuckle round the fence-posts, also now open, in order to attract pollinators. (I've also let some sort of herb with tiny blue flowers bolt; I forget the name, because I'm bad with herbs.) With success, since I now have a few tiny cukes and a squash or two.

But I'm not seeing honeybees at all, though they should love the clover. I do see bumblebees and hornets (and dragon- and damsel flies, oddly, though they don't pollinate). But no bees, just like last year. So while I'm guessing plant life on earth isn't in imminent danger of collapse for lack of pollination, something has changed....

And now the request, which is not about pollinators:

After hacking down a mini-forest of suckers growing out of the stump of a very untidy berry bush I cut down last year, I realized that the stump was occupying some prime real estate: A six-by-six spot that catches both morning and afternoon sun! So I should really plant something there. It's not the best area, because it's close to the street and outside the perimeter of the woodchuck fence, but my iris and the raspberries are doing just fine in a nearby area (and the raspberries, being thorny, fence off the street from humans and aren't attractive to the woodchucks).

So, I could dump the last of my compost and manure on that spot, but (a) do I actually have to do anything that sounds like work about the stump, or can I just cover it over and let it rot in the darkness? If not, would chopping it up with an axe and then covering it do the trick? And (b) it's July, for pete's sake. What on earth can I plant? (I don't really want to plant more raspberries; they're finicky, and I'll have to cover them with remay when the Japanese beetles arrive, and that's work).

Readers, thoughts?

NOTE Note to self: This afternoon, thin beets, arrange soaker hose, remove remaining grass -- grass is The Great Enemy -- from western border. Funny, that doesn't sound like work, but fun.

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Kathryn's picture
Submitted by Kathryn on

...that are missing here in NJ. Except for a few thin rafts of the small white ones, there have been none. Despite having flowers of all kinds available. I've been traveling to several local gardens and the lack of butterflies is marked, and disturbing. Local and anecdotal, but still....

Bumblebees out the wazoo though, but no honeybees.

Things have changed.


Submitted by lambert on

Butterflies are up here -- a tiger swallowtail had a regular flight. None of the small white butterflies, however, "cabbage," I think they're called.

Eureka Springs's picture
Submitted by Eureka Springs on

Opening pandoras box are we? LOL. Honeysuckle can take over, and over and over. I hope you are considering a pet goat for that is the only way we could keep our honeysuckle at bay. Your herb may be thyme or lavender. As for the bees, they have been MIA way out here in my isolated Ozark valley for years. Even when flowers are blooming in over abundance in both variety and quantity. Occasionally I see a few (as in half a dozen at most) early on... on japonica and such, but they disappear after that.

This year I have not seen one honey bee.

Submitted by Lex on

honeysuckle is not invasive like it is in warmer climes. Winter keeps it pretty well in check.

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

Is that if you don't dig em out or kill em, they sprout out from the roots, so I don't think smothering it will work, it'll just shoot up new growth along the root system.

I have a mulberry bush, that has an extensive root system, it spreads all along the foundation of the house, so I have bushes that come up right alongside the house. When we the massive one on the south side down, a new one pops up. I now have bushes on the south side, and the northwest and northeast corners. I also have one next to the black oak in the south west portion of the yard, one about 12 ft away in the south west corner of the fence line, and another about 20 ft up the south fence line, which is also about 20 ft away from the one on the south side of the house. Those suckers are ENDEMIC

It being so late in the year I'd think that would best to plant next year, and clear out the area and prepare it for planting this year.

badtux's picture
Submitted by badtux on

Note that honeybees are not native to the Americas. They are a European import. It is ironic that we're decrying the disappearance of honeybees from America, when there were no honeybees here 400 years ago. Yet somehow plant life survived without them. It is only European import plants that depended on European import honeybees to reproduce that are going to have issues with the disappearance of European honeybees from American soil, the natives already evolved to work without honeybees.

Submitted by Lex on

most of our food producing garden crops are also imported.

Submitted by Lex on

Aeryl's right. Especially if that stump is suckering, covering it over won't do a damned thing but make the suckers look like new shrubbery.

Digging it out will be work, but not that bad if you go about it correctly. Dig out from the base of the stump a few feet. Cut through what you find, and dig out some more. Dig out more than you cut to undermine the structural integrity of the stump. A sharp hop onto a square bladed garden shovel will cut through all but the biggest roots.

What you're aiming for is to be able to move the stump more and more as you go down. That will make cutting roots easier and you'll reach a point where you can break them.

Or, you can hollow out the top of the stump (if it's big enough) and plant right into it.

If it were me and i didn't want to garden there, i'd remove the stump and plant a new fruit tree (self-fertile, like a cherry).

Aeryl's picture
Submitted by Aeryl on

Dug out a stump, and the next spring, that had this beautiful little circle of baby trees that came out from the roots.

It was pretty.

And a pain in the ass, so do be aware.