My Bees Are Flying

I am so lucky.  All four of my hives are alive and thriving.

For the last eight months my bees have been left to their own bee-ish devices.  I’ve been too busy with Culinary School and professional cooking to mess with them.  I’m delighted they’ve been thriving despite my benign neglect.  I guess this happens when one lets one’s bees be bees…

A few years back when I was busy preparing for a big trial, my inattention resulted in the growth and development of what I fondly refer to as my “Mean Bee Hive”.  It’s the biggest, healthiest, and most productive hive I have! (Yes, they are a little defensive….)

The Mean Bee Hive

The Mean Bee Hive

I still avoid messing with my Mean Bees.  I have no idea what’s going on in their lower deep, and I don’t want to know.  I suspect it’s some type of mystical and magical bee alchemy I wouldn’t understand.  I’m happy if they’re happy.

Notwithstanding the above, late winter/early spring is a precarious time for bees.  I’m going to make some Bee Fondant (Yes, that kind of Fondant!) tonight or tomorrow.

But here are a few pictures I took yesterday.  I wish these pictures showed how active my bees actually were!

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Obviously, there is much cleaning and gardening to be done to pretty up the Apiary.  But right now, I’m delighted that everyone is surviving the winter!

Save The Bees This Christmas

FYI, the wildly popular “Save the Bees” poster is available for purchase from Etsy. (http://www.etsy.com/shop/NiftyGnomes)
 
plant poster

My UK beekeeping friend Emily Heath let me know that another popular bee poster is available for purchase from Friends of the Earth (http://www.foeshop.co.uk/suppliers/stuart-gardiner) as a tea towel and and an apron. Just in time for Christmas giving!!

bee plant poster

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Cottage Gardening – The Grand Dahlia

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It’s a cold, rainy and generally gloomy Saturday in Cincinnati. I’ve managed to get a few errands done, but all I want to do is curl up and keep warm. Maybe do a bit of needlepoint…

Then there appeared a  bright spot – the blooming of a spectacular Autumn-colored dinner plate dahlia!!  It loves the miserable weather.  A gorgeous reminder that even a dark and damp Fall day can be beautiful!!

Cottage Gardening – October Garden

The coming of Fall is bittersweet. I hate to see my garden dying, but some flowers are at their most beautiful. Here are a few pictures I took yesterday.

Bee-Friendly Dahlia

Bee-Friendly Dahlia

White Dahlia And Hosta

White Dahlia And Hosta

The Last of the Roma Tomatoes

The Last of the Roma Tomatoes

Goodbye Until Next Year

Goodbye Until Next Year

English Cottage Gardening – Herbs Of The Mint Family

Herbs of the Mint family are a beautiful and useful addition to any cottage garden. They include such favorites as basil, mint, rosemary, sage, savory, marjoram, oregano, hyssop, thyme, lavender, and lemon balm.

Basil flowers

Basil flowers

Sage

Sage

Originally, cottage gardens were grown for household use, not for beauty alone. Herbs were used as medicine, as flavoring for food, and to freshen the air in the damp, musty lodgings.

Rosemary

Rosemary

The concept of a separate herb garden, isolated from other flowering plants, would have been inconceivable to an early cottage gardener. Herbs and vegetables were grown side by side with roses and foxgloves, both of which also had household uses.

Bee on Lavender

Bee on Lavender

As you can see from these pictures, herbs can be as beautiful as purely decorative plantings. They are also very attractive to bees and butterflies.

Thyme

Thyme

I try to incorporate as many as I can into my overall garden design.