bees on frame with queen

Bees in Winter

After last year’s loss of the queen and decimation of the hive, I was feeling a little nervous when we opened the hives at the start of Winter in late May. There was almost no brood, and less honey than we had expected. So it was a great relief when our bee keeper friend showed up unexpectedly and offered to check out the hives.

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Bumble bee and flowers

Bumble Bee in Winter

I’m assuming she is a queen, since only the queens are supposed to last through the Winter. In any case, when I first encountered her on a cold morning she looked still and dead, hanging from the Lavender ‘Sidonie’ flower by her front legs.

Bumble Bee on lavender Sidonie 1

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vase of flowers beach in background

In a Vase on Monday – Sunset on a Short Day

Not long to go now till the shortest day, when the sun will start moving back along the horizon toward Summer. Flowers from the orange garden and buds of Rose ‘Crepuscule’ (‘sunset’) reflect the sunset colours.

rose crepuscule bud with other flowers

Purple Verbena and Penstemon,  Geranium ‘Roxanne’, and Erysimum Bowle’s Mauve’ bring in the purples.

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cut flowers in rain

In a Vase on Monday in the Rain

After two perfect days which were more like Autumn than the first days of Winter, today’s Queen’s Birthday holiday started out with rain. It was a nice day to stay a little longer in bed, but eventually I ventured out to take photos from under the awning on the porch.

iris unguicularis and daisy

Iris unguicularis is flowering, which always reminds me of Beverly Nichols who called her a ‘prima donna’. Luckily, (and touch wood) she seems to like me, although I have only one, rather than 20 as he did. From ‘Down the Garden Path’ :

The best of all is the Iris stylosa, (or the Iris unguicularis, if you are feeling high hat). It is a real sky blue . . . not the deep blue of summer, but the brilliant paler blue of a frosty January day. The lower petals have gold patches in their centres, spotted with purple. If you want a finer flower than this in winter, you had better go and lock yourself up in your greenhouse and sing hymns.

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