In the Garden

Sitting in the garden watching
the bees among the lavender,
a pigeon bathing in the pond.
The sun burns down 
from a cloudless sky.

Despite the cool breeze
it is far too hot for me.
I retreat indoors.

Spring Joys

Bumble bees busy in the rockery,
insects buzzing around the trees,
birds flitting from feeders to shrubs;
my garden is full of Spring joys.

Butterfly Bush

Butterfly
bush blooms,
welcoming the bees,
but where are the 
butterflies?

Manna

Manna from heaven;
the bees busy foraging.
Our clover filled lawn.

Bees in the Wilderness

How the bees
seem to love the wilderness
that is the bottom corner
of my garden.

How I am caught
between the need to tame,
let in the light and yet
not drive the bees away.

Somewhere between
I need to find a means
to satisfy me and still
please the bees.

Buzzing

Busy bees buzzing
around the hives in the field.
Sweet delight promised.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * 

When we first negotiated with a local bee keeper to put a hive or two on our field he wasn’t very hopeful that they would do very well there, he thought there didn’t seem much for them. However I was confident there was plenty, he was just viewing at a dormant time. There is fruit blossom in the hedges, clover and buttercups and other wild flowers among the grasses, flower filled gardens not far away and yes, they have done very well. Last year he actually gave us two jars of honey as rent despite only one hive being there (rent is traditionally one jar per hive!).

I saw him in town a few weeks ago and he told me he was keeping three hives there now although there were currently five, two of which were starter hives which he would be moving elsewhere later. Unfortunately though, with the cold spell and bad weather he was having to feed them. Up at the field yesterday, with a considerable improvement in the weather I counted six very busy hives so I assume one is yet another starter hive. I’m looking forward to my honey!

Honey Bees

Bees
doing well
despite variable weather.
Rent paid in full —
honey.

* * * * * * * * * * * *
About a year ago I arranged for a local beekeeper to keep a hive in our field. He was a bit pessimistic at first about how well they would do as he didn’t think there would be much for them to forage, but he agreed to give it a try. I was fairly confident there was more than he thought – plenty of brambles in the far corner, fruit trees in the hedges and flower-filled gardens within flying distance.

They have apparently exceeded expectations and have been thriving despite the unpredictable weather this year. Yesterday I received my ‘rent’ – two lovely jars of honey!

Parallel Lives

What do the birds know of lockdown,
or the bees of social distancing?
Flowers have no cares about gathering
in groups of more than two or three.
See them all rejoice in their
innocent parallel lives.

Busy Bees

The bees are busy
feeding while flowers still bloom.
Autumn approaches.

A Very Mini Pond

It all started with a bee drinker. We are always being told that bees need water to drink in hot weather and every year I put some out for them. This year I had placed it on top of the stump of a tree that had been felled before we moved here, but then I decided to put it on the ground at the base of the stump so that our regularly visiting hedgehog could also have a drink.

This got me thinking about some more permanent arrangement such as a mini wildlife pond. Now hubby is not a fan of garden ponds so this was going to have to be something acceptable to him. It needed to be fairly small, preferably in a container of some sort and then there was the problem of where to site it. After much thought I decided the ideal place was at the base of our rockery where it is retained from the patio by a low wall which the ‘pond’ could sit behind.

Mini pond trialFor a container I remembered an imitation wood (plastic/resin) mini half-barrel which had originally been a small water feature on the rockery until the pump broke, at which point I had got hubby to drill some drainage holes in the bottom so that I could use it as a planter. This year I had not planted it up with anything but there was the small problem of the holes in the bottom. So hubby squirted some waterproof caulking glue into the holes and when it was dry I set it in position to see how it would look. I left it in position overnight and during the night it rained. In the morning there was about half an inch of water in the bottom. When I next went out to look, an hour or so later it was dry – obviously it was leaking. Hubby decided that the caulking stuff he had used was probably past its sell-by date and we would have to think again.

So it was back to the drawing board and I was re-thinking the whole project. Was this container big enough? Could I find another? Was that the best place for it? etc. etc. I spoke to my daughter-in-law (they have a proper garden pond, which my son built), mainly to scrounge a few small water plants and she told me that they still had some spare pond-liner if I wanted to do a bigger project. I didn’t think it would go down well but I ran it past hubby.  The answer? No, stick to plan ‘A’ and he would fibre-glass over the holes.

One week later the project was back on track with the original container. The plan was to place water plants through the holes in the covered section where the original pump had sat. This area would also provide some shade. I bought some aquarium gravel to go in the bottom and we were in business. It is preferable to fill ponds with rain-water but meanwhile we had had a problem with our full water butt – it was leaning over where the paving slab it sat on had sunk at one side. We had to empty the butt to solve the problem and all the water was sent down the drain as we had nowhere to store it – so no rain water! Second best is to leave some tap water overnight in a bucket or large bowl in order for the chemicals to evaporate and this is what I did.

nearly finished pondLast Friday I visited my daughter-in-law to collect a couple of small water plants. I set the container in place, filled and planted it up, adding some floating weed for purification (which came along with resident water-snail purely by chance!). The stones have been added to act as a bee/bug drinking platform and also to give access for ‘Spike’ the hedgehog to easily drink.

On Saturday morning I woke up to find that a Life Guard had turned up for duty, though Health and Safety would not be impressed as he was not wearing any headgear to protect him from the sun and nor was there a life ring for him to throw for critters in difficulty. However this was soon rectified and the pond is now complete and fully Health and Safety compliant. Some landscaping around it has been done but a little more is still needed. Hopefully, despite its miniature size, some wildlife will find it soon. When I commented to hubby that it may be a bit small to attract much do you know what he said? “You could have made a bigger one!” Sometimes you just can’t win. Maybe in another part of the garden…

Life Guard on duty

 

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