In the garden

Master beekeeper Diane Almond will share tips and bust myths about pollinators at the Swannanoa Library on Thursday, Feb. 28.

Biker turned beekeeper

Diane Almond, co-owner of Honey Bees and Heather Farm, wasn't always a beekeeper. In a previous life, she was a biker chick with a penchant for speed. When she hung up her helmet for a life among the hives six years ago, Almond turned to natural beekeeping for her buzz. On Thursday, Feb. 28, at 6:30 p.m., Almond will lead a class on "Our Precious Pollinators: Bees and Beyond," which will focus on helping pollinators thrive in the garden. What can you do to bring pollen-loving bees and bats into your yard? Almond suggests weaning your garden off pesticides, even organic ones, which can be just as damaging. Go further by planting fall flowers like golden rod and aster to help nourish bees before winter. Almond will reveal the secrets and myths of bringing bees out of the hive and into your garden at this free class.

Feed your face

"Your skin is a living organism that needs to be fed," proclaims herbalist Jaime Sparks. So why not throw a dinner party just for your skin? Learn how to transform healthy food into facial cleansers, scrubs and oils at an "herbal skin picnic" workshop, hosted by Small Terrain, on Sunday, Feb. 24, from 5-9 p.m. Increase your knowledge of plants, essential oils and carrier oils to help soothe a range of skin types and conditions. Learn how to take food off the checkered tablecloth and put it on your face instead. $70 includes three skin products to take home.

Master beekeeper Diane Almond will share tips and bust myths about pollinators at the Swannanoa Library on Thursday, Feb. 28.

What would the masters do?

If your squash mysteriously withers in the dark of night or your roses just won't bloom, the Buncombe County Extension Master Gardeners probably have the answer. With the help of Master Gardeners, Xpress collected some of the quirkiest questions that have come through the group's garden hotline, which is now open for business: 255-5522.

Q:  "I bought eight shrubs last fall and now three are not doing well at all. I've watered them but these three seem to be dying. What is wrong?"
A:  "Have you had a soil test done in the area you planted them?"
Q:  "No, they are still in the pots!"

Q: "What does one do with the spent amaryllis and narcissus after the holiday season is over?"
A: "Remove the spent flowers, but don't cut the plant back as the leaves are giving it energy. Mixed results have occurred from transplanting them outside." 

Farmers from Asheville to Spruce Pine bring the bounty of winter indoors at local tailgate markets. Courtesy of ASAP.

Q: "When can I start pruning shrubs?"
A: "Only prune evergreen shrubs at this time. Wait until after spring flowering shrubs bloom before pruning." Learn what to cut at Pruning in the Mountains on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

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