It’s been a long time. A lot has happened. I’ve moved house. I’ve sold my bees, caught a swarm, given that away, nearly given up on bees completely, and then started going to meetings at my local association apiary, about twenty minutes drive away in mid-Cornwall.
I miss my bees and it’s been fantastic watching the bees being inspected. Two weeks ago I spotted a new queen and one of the tutors marked her in this year’s color, red. I’ve now been asked to become a tutor myself and show complete beginners inside a hive, taking them through the basics of the differences between workers, drones and queens, the parts of the hive, and how the colony works.
The apiary sessions reminded me of the lovely Ealing apiary, with its friendly bunch of beeks and plentiful supply of cake. Yesterday we had both Victoria sponge and lemon drizzle, plus tea. The association has a good system where anyone who wants tea brings their own mug and then takes it home with them, avoiding one person getting stuck doing all the washing up afterwards!
I’ve also been trying to make my new back garden more bee and wildlife friendly. I’ve let parts of the grass grow long, and been rewarded by the sight of butterflies dancing over it. The butterflies seem particularly fond of some long grass I have in my similarly sized front garden. After just six months of not cutting it, wild strawberries, plantains, foxgloves and yellow rattles are growing there.
I took the bottom photo in September last year – nearly a year later, many things have almost doubled in size!
I bought some plants from Rosy Bee, a UK company that specializes in plants for pollinators. I have a bare but sunny bit at the top of my front garden which has really poor soil, so I thought I might as well try some wild flowers out there. I got the beautiful sea Holly, Lambs ear (a fave from my old house) and Ox eye daisy as it’s known for being a tough plant that’s good at filling space. I also found out one of my neighbors is a gardener who sells plants, and she has supplied me with rosemary, Michaelmas daisies and sage.
The front garden already had a large patch of mallow flowers, which both honey bees and bumbles have been enjoying. It leaves them with a dusting of white pollen on their backs.
After a stressful couple of years, I’m starting to get the buzz back for this special hobby 🙂