Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Spring is on the way . . .

Bees in the Sustainable Garden flying in the sunshine today

I love baby ducks, they are so cute, very sweet with wee feet that paddle furiously to catch up to Mum.

Pollen laden honey bees out amongst the spring blooms today.

Peach blossom in the Chinese garden, the ground below strewn with petals. . .

Sunday, August 22, 2010

TopBar Workshop

Two weeks ago I ran a very successful TopBar beekeeping workshop out at my friends lovely Herb Garden/Nursery and Cafe. As you can see from the above photo, there was an excellent turn-out even with the weather being wet and chilly ! We sat outside under cover for most of the time, retreating inside for a hearty lunch and afternoon tea.
I really love doing this, it is such a buzz (sorry) to share my passion and knowledge with all these interesting and eager soon-to-be beekeepers,especially spreading the word about the TB hive, of which there is little known here in NZ. I tend to get some `flack` about them also, they seem to be regarded as faddy and not successful hives, not enough honey etc. As I explain to people, I keep bees for their pollination skills and trying to build up their population again, not for the amount of honey I can rob them of !! Sure, honey is a wonderful bonus, but it is not the top reason I keep bees. With any luck, I have helped to convince afew more to try this hive as well as educating them about the Langstroth and other hives.

The pic below is looking out onto the herb garden, at this time of year looking abit drab, but in a month or so it will come alive with flowering herbs and now, lots of bees ! There is also a TB hive minus roof, on show for the workshop participants to have a close look at. This hive, along with 2 others at the garden are all made using Phil Chandler`s plans from his excellent website, BioBees. Phil is my hero, I always encourage new beekeepers to buy his book `The Barefoot Beekeeper`, my bible as far as my TB hive keeping goes !

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My Morning in the Hamilton Gardens . . .

Magnolia `Alba`, very beautiful, there are many magnolias flowering in the Gardens at the moment. they make a amazing show of colour.
A beautiful winter morning in the Hamilton Gardens today. Above pic is taken in the American Modernist garden, the statue in the pool has many different names, it can be anything you like !
I was out collecting plant samples for one of the tutors and came across the Woman`s Suffrage (NZ was the first country in the world to allow women to vote) building. I haven`t been here for ages, it is very peaceful, surrounded by native trees and tucked away along the valley walk. The tiny swallow, below, came and kept me company for awhile. She kept darting out over the water catching insects, then back to the same spot.