bee on sidonie lavender

Bee Swarm and New Queens

A bit over a month ago an enormous buzzing brought me running to see the sky clouded with bees, which quickly started to coalesce into blobs on the trees.
bee swarm in tree
After about 15 minutes they had settled into two biggish blobs on trees a few meters apart. We thought we had probably already had one swarm from Beresford’s hive, so we didn’t want to lose any more. Quickly setting up a ladder we collected the two blobs into buckets, and tipped one into a new hive, and the other into a new super separated by a sheet of newspaper from Eleanor’s hive, which wasn’t doing as well and had seemed more susceptible to Varroa.

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In a Kettle on Monday

The kettle belonged to C’s parents, originally used for boiling water on a wood stove, but stored in a cupboard over the last few years. When C found it, the lid fell off and almost broke his toe – it takes 2 hands to carry it when full of water. I’m looking forward to having it boiling ready for a cup of tea on the wood cook stove next winter.

flowers in old cast iron kettle

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cut flowers dutch iris and narcissus

In a Vase on Monday – a sad week

C’s Dad passed away this week, having fought cancer bravely and gained a hard won year. For him, the end was a blessing I think as he was in a lot of pain yet struggled with the effect of the painkillers on his ability to communicate.
I know this doesn’t really belong in this meme – however growing and gathering and photographing flowers is my main creative expression at the moment so… all things come into it.
cut flowers iris and kniphofia and honeywort
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bees at hive mouth

Bee Conversations

I set my camera up in front of Beresford’s hive, and after getting stung and dropping the camera, we all got used to it and took some pictures. It was a sunny late morning so there was a steady stream of bees leaving and returning, although not nearly as many as in Summer.

bee check at hive mouth (3)

The pattern seemed to be that the bees would arrive and clean themselves outside the hive before being checked by the guard and allowed in. You wouldn’t want to be a bee arriving back without the right credentials.

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In a Vase on Monday – Roses in Winter

Wow, last year at this time I had tulips and hyacinths, no roses in sight. The tulips are still only small, and daily being eaten by a stoat, I think. So there may be none at all at this rate.

While much of the country has had record snow falls last week and some are still without power, we didn’t even have a frost, which was nice for the new twin lambs frisking around the next door paddock. There must have been strong winds though, and the olive branches in my vase are from the olive tree which was on the ground when we arrived.

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cut flowers iris unguicularis

In a Vase on Monday – a mixed batch

My Iris unguicularis is doing so brilliantly! I’m very excited about it – the nurseryman who sold me the baby plant said he grows his under a big Totara tree facing the sun. Mine is at the base of a tree at the edge of a path and it has spread to about 18″ wide after 3 years, and has been flowering since late Autumn. I’ve combined them in the vase with some native cultivars : leaves of the Cordyline ‘Magenta Rays’, and a pink flowered Tea Tree (Leptospermum).

cut flowers with cordyline Magenta Rays

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Bee loved Red Hot Pokers

The Red Hot Pokers are flowering (Kniphofia ‘Winter Cheer’) and this reminds me that last year I assumed that bees didn’t like them, because I hadn’t noticed any bees when I looked at the flowers. Others quickly mentioned that theirs were covered with bees. Sure enough, as the flowers start to go over the bees come in. It’s just a case of timing.

bee in kniphofia flower

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