Sunday, November 15, 2009

Rose show with Japanese twist ..

For the last few days the annual Rose Show has been happening down at the Hamilton Gardens. This year it has had a Japanese touch with a traditional Japanese Tea Ceremony to open the event - all the officials were there including the Mayor, rose breeders and Japanese Govt reps.I think the ladies in the picture above look so elegant and beautiful - I had to sneak up and look inconspicuous to get that photo !
There were lanterns hung in the trees, these were in the Gingko and big flying fish banners which made a colourful sight. I would have had photos of the roses but the weather has been very windy and quite cold, not alot of sun, the roses are out but not at their best. My poor girlfriend, Alice, who is charge of the rose garden, has been pulling out her hair and gnashing her teeth over the crappy weather, it is usually much warmer by now

The pretty opera singer must have been freezing, the wind was blowing and we all had jumpers on ! She sang beautifully, a trio of songs from Madam Butterfly, one of my favourite operas.
The Gardens are the perfect place for these sorts of occasions, during the summer festival there are plays, shows, music of all sorts and general good fun.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Swarm to catch !

On a bright sunny evening last Sunday, my friend and I captured this beautiful swarm hanging in a very convenient place under the grape leaves on a neighbours` vine - it was just about to easy to get, I half expected them to turn ferel and sting me !! They didn`t, and it was a super swarm to catch.
It was such a nice size that the complete swarm nearly did fit into the nuc box I was holding. It was a case of hold the box under the bees and shake the branch, we couldn`t cut the branch they were on as it was a main leader and I don`t think the bloke next door would have been happy with me.
We swept the rest off the branch, managed to get most of them, I popped them in the back of my car, my grandaughter, Lia was with me and she wasn`t the slightest perturbed, in fact she took some of the photos ! We drove out to the beautiful garden I was putting them in with me in my bee suit, Lia in summer clothes and the bees all covered up on the back seat !!

I poured the bees into the hive I had set up in Moondance Garden, check out their website,, and I`m sure they will be very happy there, the garden is stunning, huge with river views. Stephen and Jeanette are a lovely couple and I intend to see more of their gardens and them of course ! The hive is surrounded by perennials, all flowering, roses, big trees, a pond - you name it, plus a magnificent manor house. Perfect place for weddings.

I went out last night to check the hive, all looks well with plenty of bees flying around, orientating and checking out the food supply ! If all goes to plan, I might put another hive out there next year. The owners are very keen to have the bees in their garden, the hive really looks nice in the setting - adds to the ambience !

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Comings and Goings at the TB

It is a very busy bustling time at my TopBar at the moment - I have yet to decide on a name for this hive - I vary between a Maori name like my other one or something from the classics, I think I might let my grandaughter choose.

The bees don`t seem to have a problem with the 2 round holes as entrance ways, they actually line them up, the guard bees also manage to do their job sucessfully. I have been reading Phil Chandlers book, `The Barefoot Beekeeper` every night, it is such an interesting read. having my own TB makes it all the more fascinating, it is easy to read and makes so much sense I can`t believe no one else has ever come up with the idea !! TB hives are not a new thing, but I don`t know anyone else here who has heard of them let alone wants to try one - I am going to change all that !

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Orange blossom - ahhhh

There is no other scent like it - orange blossom ... Bees and other pollinating insects love these flowers and I can never resist sticking my nose into these delightful, delicate blooms.

One corner of the Italian Garden, another of the Paradise gardens at with a selection of potted citrus trees, covered in flowers all spring and summer . Each quarter of the garden has different Mediterranean plants growing, herbs, roses,annuals etc with large citrus in each corner.

Summer planting ..

Gardeners planting summer annuals in the Char Bar Indian Garden, one of the Paradise gardens built at the Hamilton Gardens , My work place is situated in this 140 acre gardens and park and it could not be a more beautiful place to spend your day. The Char Bar is planted twice a year with seasonal annuals which give a fantastic display in the shape of a Persian carpet.
The plants are all grown at the Council nursery which also supplies the plants for all the road side and roundabout plantings, Hamilton is known for its` displays of fantastic public gardens and trees. We have a beautiful city, with a river running through it and also a small lake which has alot of sail boating and rowing on it and people just enjoying the scenery.

The garden is divided in the traditional ancient Persian garden design, always having water and moats that point to the 4 directions, there is a lotus shaped fountain in the middle with a stage affair to relax in - an oasis of calm. The Waikato river runs behind the gardens and can be seen from the raised stage at the back of the garden.