If your houseplants are on “vacation” on the back deck this summer, then at around this time you should think about getting them ready to move back inside for the winter.
Bring your houseplants indoors before night time temperatures dip below 7 or 8 degrees (C). Most tropicals will suffer damage at temperatures below 5 degrees, a few even below 10 degrees.
Sudden changes in temperature, light, and humidity can be traumatic to plants, resulting in yellowed leaves, dieback, wilting, and even death. To prevent shock when you bring houseplants back indoors, expose plants gradually to reduced lighting.
Before moving day, inspect plants for insects and diseases, and treat as appropriate before bringing plants back inside. Spray them a couple of times over a 2 week period with a mild soap and water mix so that you don’t bring bugs from outdoors in with your plants. Alternatively, soaking the pot in a tub of lukewarm soapy water for about 15 minutes will force insects out of the soil. Allow the plant and pot to dry completely afterwards. If snails, earthworms, or other insects burrowed in the soil, you might want to repot the plants, placing a piece of wire screening over the drainage hole to keep them out next year.
Personal anecdote: A couple of years ago, I brought a large cactus planter inside without inspections or the soaking method. The next day, we found a curious “deposit” left behind by some unknown critter on our kitchen floor and we kinda freaked out. We set live traps in the house and were on high alert for a chipmunk or squirrel or even something huge with big teeth that could drag us out of bed by the big toe. It was a little bit traumatic. A day or so later, my son found a large toad in the living room and we connected the dots. Turns out that toads leave very large deposits for their body size (Google it!) and closer inspection of the cactus planter showed an open hibernation hole. Whew!
Moral of the story? Check your plant pots for toads too!
Continuing on a similar theme to last week’s blog on Orchids by Master Gardener Cheryl Harrison, I thought I would touch on another family of plants that are tropical and exotic; the Bromeliaceae family. Known as Bromeliads, it is a large family which includes more than 50 genera and at least 2,500 known species which are native mainly from an area stretching from the southern U.S. to Central and South America.
Before COVID, we would do an annual visit to the Sarasota area in Florida. One of my favourite places to visit is the Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. Selby Garden botanists have made hundreds of expeditions into the tropics and subtropics and have contributed to the most diverse living and preserved collection of epiphytes in the world. They have a greenhouse that is beautiful to walk through with very knowledgeable volunteers to answer questions.
Many bromeliads are stiff-leaved, rosette-forming plants with brightly coloured leaves, bracts and flowers. The majority of them are epiphytic, meaning that they grow on the branches of trees without taking nutrients from the tree. They can also be lithophytic which means they reside on rocks, and the remaining are generally terrestrial, meaning that they grow in soil. Bromeliad flowers can last several months, but they generally only bloom once. The mother plant will produce new plantlets, also called ‘pups’. They are incredibly resilient but do not like to be overwatered. Their roots are usually used for balance and not for transferring nutrients. Instead, the leaves take in all of the water and nutrients the plant needs. They never breath out carbon dioxide almost as if they hold their breath in order not to lose moisture. It is a very special photosynthesis.
Many bromeliads have leaves that form a reservoir to hold water at their bases (known as tank bromeliads), with the largest holding up to two gallons of water. Types that don’t hold water are called xerophytic or atmospheric bromeliads.
One of the most well-known Bromeliads is in the Ananas genera. This is the pineapple, Ananas comosus. Europeans first found out about bromeliads when Columbus went on his second trip to the New World in 1493. The pineapple was being cultivated by the Carib tribe in the West Indies. After colonization, it was rapidly transported to all areas of the tropics and became a very important fruit.
Another genus is Tillandsia. It is the largest group in the family and this genus is also known as “air plants”. Most do not form tanks and have grey-green leaves and are densely covered with fuzzy scales that give the plants their characteristic colour. Tillandsia require more humidity than other bromeliads and tend to dehydrate in the dry air of most homes, but can still be grown successfully with more frequent watering.
Spanish Moss falls under this genus, Tillandsia usneoides. It is very prevalent in Florida and is neither Spanish nor a moss. Unlike other epiphytes that have roots to anchor themselves to their host tree, Spanish moss has tiny scales on its leaves and its curved structure to cling to its host tree. It is important for diversity as its large mats that drip from trees harbor a great variety of insects, birds and bats. In Florida, you usually see Spanish Moss clinging to Live Oaks.
Bromeliads will survive for months or even years under less than ideal conditions. They need satisfactory light, temperature and humidity. It is best to use water that is not softened. You should use a potting mix that holds moisture yet drains quickly. Orchid bark mixed with course perlite and humus is good for most bromeliads. The small air plants only need to be misted with a spray bottle or put in a bowl of water for an hour. If you would like to learn more about these amazing plants, visit University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The idea of growing and caring for orchids may be daunting, but perhaps you would like to try something new. Don’t be afraid! A few years ago, I was seduced by a beautiful, exotic bloom and bought my first orchid. I was very happy to discover that even I could successfully grow orchids!
All of my orchids are Phalaenopsis orchids; these are the easiest ones to grow. I love the airy sound of the Latin name and it suits the common name perfectly which is “moth orchid”. These orchids bloom in many different gorgeous colours and have shiny, thick and leathery green leaves. Their aerial roots are part of what makes them look so exotic. They like the average home’s indoor temperatures and light levels so make great indoor plants.
Phalaenopsis orchids are epiphytes, or air plants, which means that they grow on rocks or trees in their natural, usually tropical or subtropical, habitat. They get much of their water and nutrients from the air. As indoor plants, these orchids will need to be potted in a special potting mix. Orchid potting mix often contains bark, vermiculite, perlite and moss. Regular potting soil retains too much water which will rot the roots of your Phalaenopsis orchid. Orchid pots often have holes in the sides of the pot in order to keep the roots well aerated. This inner orchid pot is then often placed in an outer more decorative pot as shown in the picture above. Orchids need to be repotted every 2-3 years as the bark in the potting mix breaks down. Orchid potting mix is available from many of our local nurseries.
Phalaenopsis orchids do not like direct sun but will do well in indirect light close to an east or west window. You may put them outdoors during the warm summer months but not in direct sunlight. They like high humidity and may benefit from sitting on a drip tray.
I water my orchids once a week. I flood the surface of the potting medium with room temperature, non-chlorinated water until it runs through the bottom of the orchid’s pot. I allow the excess water to drip from the bottom of the orchid pot before placing it back into its outer pot. I have also used ice cubes to water my orchids. Place 2-3 ice cubes on the surface of the potting media, not on the plant, once a week, and let them melt. I know, I know, ice to water a tropical plant??!! The Ohio State University and the University of Georgia did some experimenting to prove that ice cubes will not harm your orchid. Check out the results here (Watering Phalaenopsis orchids with ice cubes) . I do not fertilize my orchids but if you wish to do so here is a link (How do I feed my orchid).
When you purchase your orchid, it may be in full bloom. Don’t just look at that beautiful bloom! Check the plant for signs of poor health, disease and/or pests. The plant’s leaves should be firm, shiny and green not pale and floppy, wrinkled, cracked or missing pieces. There should be no insects living on your plant. If you can, look at the roots in the pot, make sure that they are white/cream coloured. Black/brown roots indicate root rot. The best place to purchase your orchid is from a reputable local nursery. Big box stores may have what appear to be lovely plants but you may bring home more than you bargained for…perhaps pests or disease that will kill your orchid and infect your other indoor plants.
The gorgeous blooms on your orchid will eventually die and drop off. Cut the flower stem back to the node closest to the where the bottom flower was located. The stem may die then you will cut it off close to the parent plant or it may develop into a new flower or a baby plant called a keiki. Cooler night temperatures may encourage reblooming. I move my plants to my cooler basement to encourage them to rebloom. Note that they are still exposed to lots of indirect light during the day in my basement.
Don’t be afraid. Give Phalaenopsis orchids a try. They are well behaved indoor house plants and their blooms are spectacular!
Just 3 short weeks ago I shared my thoughts on the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) on our gardening activities, shortly after the World Health Organization declared it to be a pandemic.
So many events have been cancelled – garden shows, seminars, Seedy Saturdays (and Sundays) – that even the cutest cat photos are not making us feel any better. (yes these are my two cuties – Lulu and Roxy).
Although garden centres and nurseries that grow their own stock are permitted under the conditions of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (as an agricultural activity), many of our favourite nurseries have closed their doors to in-person shopping and resorted to online sales with no-contact pickups at their entrances in order to protect staff and the public.
Fellow gardeners are panicking. After all, this is the time of year when we finally get outside again, clean up our gardens, start seeds, decide on our plans, and look forward to purchasing our favourite plants at the stores.
However, gardening is not cancelled. This year will definitely be different, and we will have to adjust.
In these chaotic times, let gardening be therapy, providing a place for you to find calm and peace.
Working in the soil, with the sun on your face, can take away your worries, at least temporarily. You are using your hands, digging in the dirt, taking in the fresh air, watching the birds flutter around the yard and – best of all – all the news and social media is in the house! Your garden is an escape!
For families with kids at home, gardening offers the opportunity to get the kids outside and busy, while building their self-esteem and bringing variety to what has suddenly become a lot of time spent together. For those on their own you are never truly alone in a garden – there are always birds, bugs, plants or other living things to observe all around you.
COVID-19 is forcing us to re-examine how we live, and how we consume goods and services. This has translated into an increased interest in people wanting to grow their own food, taking us back to World War II, when millions of people cultivated Victory Gardens to protect against potential food shortages while boosting patriotism and morale.
We still don’t know whether we will be able to get starter plants, so many people are ordering seeds. As a result, seed companies are experiencing a deluge of orders, with many stopping new orders until they can catch up. Your local Master Gardener groups and horticultural societies can help you out if you need some advice on how to grow plants from seeds.
Start some seeds.Just seeing something grow out of the soil is a very positive experience. Hopefully you have some seed starter mix around (or can get some) and you can use anything to grow seeds in – from old roasted chicken containers to yogurt cups to folded up newspapers.
Check out social media gardening groups– there are groups out there for every topic under the sun, from seed starting to plant identification to perennials. Since the pandemic began, I have noticed far more people joining these groups, which is wonderful because gardeners just love to share their experiences.
Plan your vegetable garden – figure out which ones you can grow easily from seeds. Learn from others and search Google for ideas.
Stuck inside on a rainy day? Find some online gardening classes or check out YouTube for some good instruction videos on any number of gardening topics.
Get outside for a walk in nature – while maintaining physical distancing, enjoy getting some exercise and seeing all the plants emerging from their winter slumber.
Repot your houseplants. You might just find they reward you with some lovely blooms once we start getting more sunshine.
Hopefully soon we’ll be able to look forward to getting plants at our favourite nurseries (you can be sure they are working very hard to find safe ways to do this). When we do, make sure you support your local nurseries and #buylocal as much as possible.
Until then, find your inner gardening zen, whatever that may be, and enjoy all that spring has to offer. I know I will be sitting by my garden pond, thinking about brighter days ahead.*For best information on the COVID-19 situation contact your local health unit or the Government of Ontario website. Peterborough Public Health, led by Medical Officer of Health Rosana Salvaterra, also has great resources.
African violets are the plants that immediately come to mind when anyone asks me about houseplants. This plant is an old favourite for good reason. I have two. As the name implies, African violets are native to the cloud forests in the mountains of east Africa. Many of the native plants are threatened or endangered due to habitat loss. African violets are not violets (family Violaceae, genus Viola) but are included in the family Gesneriaceae, genus Saintpaulia.
African violets are classified by size from the “Mini” which are less than 7.6 cm (3 inches) in above-ground diameter to the “Giant” which ranges from 30.5 cm – 40.6 cm(12-16 inches). They are pretty plants even when not in flower which they will do almost continuously under good growing conditions. Their flowers may be single, semi-double or even double. This refers to the rows of petals on the flowers. Flower colours include blue/violet, pink, fuchsia, white and bi-coloured. Their dark, green leaves appear velvety because they have a fleshy texture and are covered with fine hairs. The plants maintain a compact form but do come in a trailing form. Lots of choices!
African violets prefer soil that has excellent drainage because the plant may rot if water lays on top or the soil stays water logged. You may purchase specific African violet soil to help ensure a porous growing medium that allows water to percolate through.
Water your plant so that the soil stays moist all of the time but pour off the standing water from the saucer under the plant to prevent the soil from becoming water logged. Do not get water on the leaves of this plant because disfiguring rings will appear where the leaf has been damaged. You may also use a system that allows you to water your African violet from the bottom. This can be as simple as filling the saucer under your plant with water then allowing the plant to absorb water from the saucer. Discard any water left in the sauce after about 45 minutes. Remember to check the surface of the soil to make sure that it is moist … if not, then repeat this process. There are also self-watering pots available. Over-watering or under-watering will damage and may eventually kill your plant.
African violets like bright indirect light. A sunny, warm window is okay in winter but in summer, place your plant in a north or east window or just sit it back from a south or west window so that it does not receive direct sunlight. African violets prefer cooler temperatures at night around18C (60F) and up to 27-29C (80-85F) in the day. Too cool temperatures will stunt their growth.
Like any houseplant, African violets can suffer from some diseases and insect pests including botrytis blight, powdery mildew, mites, mealybug, aphids or thrips. Be sure to purchase your African violet and all of your house plants from a reputable seller to avoid these problems.
With all of the new African violet cultivars and their colourful blooms, why not try one? If you enjoy house plants then the African violet may be the one for you!
Christmas is only a few days away and hopefully you have all your cookies baked, your shopping done, presents wrapped under the tree and your decorations up. Here are a few last minute tips to help you and your plants through the next week.
If you are taking plants to family or friends, bundle them up before putting in a warm car so they won’t be shocked from the drastic temperatures. If you buy a poinsettia, be sure the clerk wraps it well as they are very susceptible to drafts. If you are taking the plant home before you give it away, remove the paper or plastic wrapper to let the plant breathe once you get it into the warmth of your home. Check the soil to be sure it is damp and water if necessary. The same applies to any arrangement you might be transporting. Keep warm and watered so the plants are happy.
If you have leftover cut evergreen pieces, now is the time to use them up. BC cedar and Ontario white pine look the nicest. Make little arrangements for in your bathroom either in oasis or in water. Place stems in vases along with fresh flowers. Lay fresh greens on mantles, side tables or your dinner table. Add stems around your amaryllis bulb or with your paperwhites. You can purchase a WiltProof product which when sprayed sparingly on fresh greens, will prolong their life. Please be mindful of fire hazards when you are decorating with fresh greens.
And have a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday Season!
When I was growing up, my mother always had a big green and red poinsettia sitting in the centre of the dining table during the holiday season. By the middle of January, it had lost all of its leaves so out it went in the trash. Oh yes, we also called it a “pointsetta”.
In Mexico, where it grows wild as a leggy shrub or small tree, the native plant (Euphorbia pulcherrima) has been associated with the Christian Christmas holiday since the 16th century. Thanks to Joel Robert Poinsett, the first U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, poinsettias were introduced to the United States in 1825. They did not really take off, though, until the California based Ecke family grew plants using a grafting technique discovered by Paul Ecke Sr. in the 1960s. They began aggressively marketing the holiday season blooming poinsettia as a holiday tradition. In the 1980s, John Dole identified the technique used by the Ecke family to produce their compact poinsettias. This led to many more growers entering the retail market.
Poinsettias are members of the Euphorbia family. The brightly coloured “flowers” are actually bracts (modified leaves). Their bright colour helps to attract pollinators in the wild.
When purchasing poinsettias, look for an erect plant that has dark green leaves down to the soil and fully coloured bracts. The actual flowers, located at the centre of the bract, should be immature and red-tipped or green, not yellow with pollen because these more mature blooms will not last as long as the immature blooms. Plants displayed in plastic sleeves or crowded together may be stressed and deteriorate quickly after purchase. When purchasing any plant, always check for disease or insects. Yellow leaves, wilt or the presence of insects (check the underside of leaves too) always indicate problems and a plant that you do not want.
Poinsettias are not poisonous to humans but may cause pets to experience vomiting and diarrhea if consumed. Like all Euphorbia, damaged poinsettia stems and flowers exude a white sap that may cause skin irritation to susceptible individuals and pets.
There are over 100 varieties of poinsettias. They come in many colours from the traditional red to white, pink, cream and marbled or speckled.
Poinsettias prefer 6 hours of indirect light each day away from heat registers and cold drafts. Water the plant when it is dry but do not overwater because it may wilt and drop its bracts. (I think that is likely what happened with my mother’s poinsettias!) Allow the water to drain into a saucer after watering then discard this water. Do not let your plant sit in water. If you would like to keep your plant past the holiday season, fertilize it once a month with a houseplant fertilizer once the plant has stopped blooming.
Poinsettias may be put outside in the summer after all danger of frost has passed. But if you would like it to rebloom during the following holiday season, bring the plant back indoors before frost. Then, beginning in October, keep it in total darkness for 14 hours each night. The combination of total darkness and warm, bright days should cause the bracts to colour. This might be fun to try but to guarantee that you have a blooming poinsettia during the following holidays, purchase a new one and compost your old plant.
Poinsettias have long been associated with the holiday season. They come in several colours which will help to add holiday cheer to any home decor. Enjoy them while they last!
For more information on poinsettia care and reblooming, please see the links below.
It’s not too early to think of Christmas gifts for the special gardeners in your life. Every gardener has a long list of things they wish they had because many of these items will make their gardening hobby just a little bit easier. Also, most of them will rarely treat themselves.
Christmas gifts for gardeners can be purchased at nurseries that remain open in the fall, at local home & garden stores, online at Lee Valley Tools or via any other local or online suppliers. Hopefully, the following suggestions will help you to surprise the green-fingered folk in your life.
Plants! A small succulent planter, a unique and weird looking cactus, a fancy orchid, an amaryllis bulb or an african violet for indoors can spruce up a cold winter.
Basic Garden Tools. Who among us doesn’t need another/new garden tool?
Lee Valley Root Knife (my go-to weapon)
A new pair of secateurs (pruners). My choice is the Felco #6, great for smaller hands.
A padded garden kneeler or good quality set of knee pads
Salves and Soap, Especially for Working Hands. There are many items like garden salves and soaps with hydrating formulas & great scents that will always be appreciated by anyone unwrapping them on Christmas Day.
For our Feathered Friends. A good squirrel-proof bird feeder or a birdhouse, and some good quality birdseed will go miles to attracting useful, pleasant-sounding visitors to your yard all winter.
Magazines. A subscription to a Canadian gardening magazine about growing perennials or native plants or about water gardens is always appreciated and will delight the recipient monthly or bi-monthly.
GLOVES! My favourites are the nitrile Gardena brand — stretchy but grippy. I go through several pairs of these each season.
A transplant shovel, a new garden hoe or a step-on weeder. These items are not “must have” but “would be nice” so gardeners will rarely purchase them for themselves. Believe it or not, there have been advances in these tools in the last 20 years! For example, my favourite new shovel has a super-sharp cutting edge, and an enlarged “step on” bracket so the middle of my foot doesn’t get sore with heavy digging. Very nice.
Stocking Stuffers. Stocking stuffers of heirloom seeds, plant markers, a mini nail brush, some twine or plant ties are welcome unique gifts.
A Year Round Gift. An inexpensive membership to local Horticultural Society like the Peterborough Horticultural Society offers you discounts at many local nurseries, plant exchanges, plant shows, socializing, and the opportunity to hear good speakers throughout the year. A great stocking stuffer for $20.
A Garden Show! Treat someone to a trip to Canada Blooms or the awesome Peterborough Garden Show — $10 each for “enjoy all weekend” admission on April 24, 25 and 26, 2020; our 20th fabulous show!
So, why don’t you surprise your favourite gardener with a garden-related gift this Christmas season? Hoping that this list helps with your decisions. Happy shopping!
Definition of conundrum
A confusing and difficult problem or question
Despite the shortening days and dark and dreary November weather, every year around this time I am delighted to see members in my various gardening groups posting photos of their “Christmas cactus” in bloom. The colours are many and varied – from red to pink to white to some lovely peach selections. People post amazing stories of plants being handed down from generation to generation and being over 100 years old.
The conundrum? They are generally not “Christmas cactus”. Since education is a big part of the role of Master Gardeners, I thought I would offer some explanation of the various types of indoor cacti we see here in Ontario (and Canada) and how to figure out what type of cacti you have!
There are actually three types of holiday cacti – all theoretically named for the time of bloom (although that gets messed up depending on whether you are north or south of the American/Canadian border!). The three types are:
Thanksgiving Cactus (Schlumbergera truncata)
Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera bridgesii [also S. buckleyi])
They are all called “leaf cacti” because the plant bodies are flattened and the leaves are actually stems. These type of cacti are epiphytes from the tropical treetops of the rain forest and natural forests of Brazil and require similar care, even though they bloom at different times of the year. In their natural habitat, they grow on trees or rocks in habitats that are generally shady with high humidity, as opposed to their desert-dwelling cousins. So they don’t need bright sunlight and they don’t have nasty spines!
Most people have the Thanksgiving cacti, which bloom between November and January. Christmas cacti bloom in December, and Easter cacti in April/May.
The leaf stems (and to some extent the flowers) tell you which type you have, rather than the bloom time. Thanksgiving cactus is often known as “lobster cactus” because the edges of the leaves are hooked, giving them a claw-like appearance. The Christmas cactus has leaf projections which are more scalloped or tear drop shaped. The Easter cactus has very rounded edges which are centralized on the leaf.
All three cacti are short day plants, so in order to induce the plant into bloom it must have 12 to 24 hours of darkness and cool temperatures. If you have put your plant outdoors over the summer or purchased it recently it should be kept in a cool, dark location until it sets buds. A seldom used bedroom or lower level is the ideal place. The Christmas and Thanksgiving cacti require approximately 6 weeks of short days in order to bloom (the Easter cactus requires 8 to 12 weeks to bloom). When the buds appear it can be brought into a warmer area. If it starts dropping buds it could be due to drafts, too-warm temperatures, too much water or direct sunlight.
FUN FACT! Unlike Christmas poinsettias, Christmas cacti are not toxic to dogs and cats, making this cat mum very happy.
Since they are from the rainforest, they like acidic well drained soils. Use a cactus mix and add perlite, vermiculite and orchid bark. Do not overwater – why most of them die! Neglect is better than over watering. Water when the top 2 inches of soil is dry. Mist them frequently to increase humidity and fertilize them with a all purpose fertilizer. Those who hate repotting plants can take comfort in knowing that holiday cacti bloom best when they are slightly pot-bound and only need repotting every 3 or 4 years.
The most common issue you might face is dropping buds, which can occur when there is any type of change in the temperature, lighting, humidity, or the amount of water the plant is receiving. Try to keep the soil moist, the temperature a steady 15 to 20 degrees Celsius, no fertilizer in the late summer to fall months, and 14 hours of darkness each day. Other issues that could affect your cactus include stem rot (this fungal issue occurs when the soil is too damp – start a new plant before the infection spreads too far), root rot (happens if roots get soggy, so remove that root so it doesn’t go further up the stem, which might kill the plant), and Botrytis blight (which is grey mold and can be removed if discovered early).
When they have finished blooming, these cacti need at least two months rest. Give almost no water or fertilizer during this time. The Thanksgiving and Christmas cacti may bloom again in the spring, but probably with less (and smaller) blooms.
While holiday cacti appear to be a bit finicky, if you understand where they come from, and what they need to be happy, you may be able to successfully keep your holiday cactus for 100 years!
This past growing season was my first foray ever into growing marijuana. I tried this because I want to attempt to make a salve that I have been purchasing locally for arthritis (which, by the way, seems to work for me!)
I started my seeds inside under lights. When I planted the seedlings outside, one went into the ground in my garden and the other went into a 5 gallon bucket with holes drilled in the bottom. The bucket plant went into my little greenhouse.
I did not fertilize either plant regularly – maybe 3 times the whole summer – but I did water the potted plant pretty well daily. I gather from other growers that I should have fertilized a lot more and then held back on the fertilizing later in season to clear chemicals out of the plants.
I thought this would be a good way to test growing techniques – greenhouse as opposed to outdoors but in the end it was not. I had planted 2 varieties that had very different characteristics. One had a beautiful bluish, reddish tinge to it and the other was twice as bushy.
Both plants ended up being well over 5 feet tall with lots of flowers. I cut them down before first frost and hung them in the greenhouse with shade cloth draped overhead.
So now, I am not sure if all the work was worth the effort and I haven’t even made the salve yet. I don’t know how the hippies from the 60’s and 70’s did it. I was told to trim off all the leaves before I hung the plants. That took an incredibly long time. And apparently I will have to trim the dried flowers off in the very near future. The marijuana plants themselves are kind of interesting architecturally but they stink. Birds for the most part avoided them and I don’t think I saw even one bee on them and I have lots of bees here. At any rate, I will make the salve and reserve judgement until then. We have to try new things, right?