I HAD WORD FROM OUT SOUTH DAKOTA WAY today that my friend Andre Jordan, master doodler, is soon to become a beekeeper, too–that he’s thinking meadow more than manicured backyard, and yes, maybe even a hive someday. What’s the buzz from your corner of the garden world?
December 21, 2009
doodle by andre: a postcard for the garden
THIS WEEK’S DOODLE IS REALLY A POSTCARD, one to send to the beloved garden in appreciation for a year of its devoted service and joy...
December 4, 2008
doodle by andre: father xmas or an elf?
THE TOPIC OF GNOMES is a popular one here at A Way to Garden (or should I say an unpopular one in that gnomes rate..
Proud Mama of three hives!
I feel the same way. The farmers here put pesticides and herbicides on their fields like it is the only way to farm. The honeybees don’t have a chance. It’s nice to have a little GREEN oasis chemical free!
Each year in my town (Richmond Hill, Ontario) the Healthy Yards Programs sells native flowers, shrubs and trees to residents. I reserve a few pots and a corner of my vegetable garden for the native flowers, which my husband affectionately refers to as “your weeds.” They are often buzzing with bees and other happy bugs. Last summer I was on my way to trim the flowers of my pennyroyal mint to encourage more leaves when I noticed it was humming with happy bugs, and I just couldn’t do it. This year I bought a packet of bachelor buttons seeds, since I heard the bees like them. Love your blog, and am enjoying your latest book!
Hi, Beth. “Your weeds” sound good to me! :) Nice to meet you, and thank you for the very kind words on all fronts. How sweet!
Hi, Sara. Three! I have never managed a hive, but I do enjoy the bees in the garden.
So my neighbor says to me, “I have good news and bad news. The good news is you have bees in your birdhouse. The bad news is you have bees in your bird house.” T
hey attacked him when he mowed too close to their nest. Fortunately, the birdhouse was one that could be moved further away from lawns. They seem to be some kind of bumble bee.
I always plant Borage between my veggies, it brings in the bees. I interplant dill, cilantro, zinnias, all sorts of bee loving plants all thru the garden veggies, I don’t banish them to just the ‘flower-spot’ or ‘herb-space’.
If I need to spray (sometimes you do- always organic) I make sure I get up at the crack of dawn ( “0-dark-thirty” my husband says) and spray well before the bees wake up for the day.
We had a drop in our bee population several years ago, but we’ve seen them coming back over the last 2 years. Keep your fingers crossed that they make a strong return.
Lead by example: bravo, Andre!
This is actually the first year that I’ll be planting flowers among my garden veggies. I’m very excited to see how many I can attract.
Good idea, Jess. I always used to edge my vegetables in small marigolds and calendula and such…must get back to the practice!
What a lovely idea!
A garden that delights butterflies.
walked round the botanical garden in Madrid today and thought, “oh, yes……a garden of roses and wisteria in our future”.
Planning and plotting.
Still in awe of your book. And blog. And your path.
I’m going into my third season keeping bees. It started as a fun and natural way to improve my gardens and has evolved into a passion that I, and my garden now serve. My property my not look as formally well-kept as it used to, but it sure is healthier!
Hi, Clare. Sounds wonderful — makes me want to try my hand at it!
And thankk you, Team Gloria. Very kind words, much appreciated.
We had a honeybee inn-festation at our Bed & Breakfast and the story below tells of our adventure and our experience that it takes a Village to relocate a honeybee!
When you own a Bed & Breakfast, the thrill is in the arrival and hosting of guests – except when the guests are an active colony of honeybees. We have hosted thousands of guests for short vacations in the seven years we have owned the inn…but these inn guests were planning on establishing permanent residence!
It all began when several summers ago on a hot August day, we noticed hundreds of honeybees congregated, almost stuck to the outside wall at the inns highest point. Knowing little about honeybees…other than the fact that honeybees are becoming endangered, we decided to let Mother Nature take its course and let the honeybees just bee. Winter came…and back to Spring and on the first hot day of Spring…there they were again! Finding a beekeeper in late June, willing to tackle the task of relocating and removing the hive and opening the inn’s outside wall, 40 feet in the air was a daunting task…And so the bees stayed in place for another year.
Fast forward to 2011…beginning in February, I began sending e-mails to some local beekeepers in search of someone to remove the honeybees and the hive early in the season. The first responder was a local beekeeper, hivemaker, hive manager and all-around nice guy named Roger. He lives in a nearby town and is passionate about his hobby of beekeeping. He gave me a crash-course on honeybees and the habits of bees, according to Roger. It seemed that the honeybees had indeed established residency under the soffit and were quite happy there. He guessed that the hive had been in place for about 5 years due to my description of the activity seen the past 2 years. It seemed to Roger that the hive was going to be large and not easy to remove. This was going to be quite an undertaking! Prior to the discovery of the bees, we the innkeepers talked about adopting the hobby of beekeeping and keeping a hive behind the property for honey to use at the inn…but now it was all too real. The task at hand was to relocate the bees…and Roger was willing to help with the plan. He called in friend, professional colleague and a fellow beekeeper named Robert. Robert’s forte seems to be bee & hive removal from odd and high places! Robert loves a challenge and loves his bees. With one call from Roger, Robert came to the inn and evaluated the situation…too high to use a ladder…and too high to use a scaffold. A lift was needed! Call in the services of a local painter who has his own lift and the secure the services of a brave carpenter…one who is not afraid of heights to put the inn back together after the bees are removed!
The team’s schedules and a horrifically rainy spring necessitated the changing of the bee-removal and hive relocation date several times…but finally, Tuesday May 10 came…and it was the perfect day! The team was gathered for the task at hand…Roger, Scott, Roger’s son and winemaker at Old York Cellars (and was our photographer for the day), Robert the brave bee removal man, and lift owner/local paint company owner, Scot, who rented us the lift for the job. With sawzsall in hand and honeybees buzzing, Robert carefully cut into the soffit at the peak of the inn. He removed a 12” x 36” piece of soffit and with it came old and new hive and more buzzing bees than you could count! What was more amazing than Robert’s unwaivering focus and lack of fear, was the hives & honeycombs the honeybees had constructed inside the inns outside wall and soffit. Old and new hive was now visible to all of us on the ground and it was an unbelievable sight. The beekeepers estimated that the hive was home to about 60,000 bees! Our paramont concern and reason for hiring a professional beekeeper to take on this job was out of respect for the bees. We wanted the hive properly removed and the honeybees relocated safely to a new home. Robert took great care to remove the hive piece by piece (we even got to taste some of the honey from the hive!) and with the use of a gentle hose vacum, he suctioned the bees directly into a box for transport. The soffit, bee & hive removal was an unforgettable 3 hour process and an amazing experience!
Fast forward to today… So much excitement and such a great feeling for us knowing that the bees from the inn have been safely relocated and taken up residency in the next town. It seems Roger (the inns first responder) is a neighbor to Old York Cellars Winery in Ringoes and has been managing the bee hives on the property…and now Main Street Manor’s bees are residing on Old York’s property too, in top bar hives that Roger builds and maintains. We meet Roger every so often at Old York and visited the inn’s bees at their new Bee & Bee! Roger showed us firsthand the hives location and the comb and honey the bees are busy making! All-in-all, it was a sweet experience getting to know these dedicated beekeepers and learning about the life of honeybees, up close and personal. We are still on the fence about adding a hive or two to the inns ‘amenities’…we’ll see what the year brings…in the meantime, we’ll continue to visit ‘our’ bees at the nearby Winery and toast to their new home!
PS…Margaret,,,I LOVED your presentation at Fiddlers Elbow last week! Thanks so much for all the great info..and thanks for signing my book!
Thank you, Donna, and welcome. What a great personal story you have! I will be sure to tell Andre about your beekeeping adventure. Loved the event in NJ – what a great and warm group!
I can’t keep bees, too many bears here in the Catskills. But I do plant flowers with the veggies, as well as keeping my raspberries and blueberries there. (Again, need to keep some for myself. The deer and maybe the bears take what is outside the fence, unless the dog barks scare them away.
My goal is an English cottage garden, with little to no grass. Making paths this spring.
Hey, what about those native bees???
I just gave a talk at our Garden Festival in El Cajon on Solitary Native Bees;
for those of us who can’t maintain honey bees Solitary Bees are the way to go!
They have no interest in stinging, are kid-friendly, and are SUPER pollinators!
Fascinating, MJ, thank you. Will read up on them. Thank you, and nice to “meet” you!
We have two hives in our backyard, and use the honey to brew mead, and for baking. My husband’s mead has gotten medals in the International Mead Festival. Yum!
Hi, Laura. Mead! Now that’s a word I don’t hear much. Sounds quite delicious — and homemade, no less. See you soon again, I hope.
We have the same problem with bears here in Colorado Springs, so hives are a real challenge, but I am adding bee friendly flowers every year. Two perennials which always seem to be covered with bees are nepeta and Silver Lace Vine. My garden club also had a workshop where we all made mason bee houses for our native bees. We painted them with beautiful bright colors so they double as garden art. Very easy to make, basically drilling holes in wood. I love working in the garden with the bees swarming around. It makes the garden feel so much more alive and healthy!
Sounds wonderful, and beautiful, Sarah — the bee houses in bright colors, and all of it. I love the bees, too — and all the pollinators. My bottlebrush buckeye or Aesculus parviflora, when in bloom, is probably the busiest place here all year!