Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A stroll in the Gardens this morning ...

A red flowering native Manuka, Leptospermum scoparium, covered in flowers most of the year - bees love it ! This is a garden variety of Manuka, the original having soft pinkish white flowers and is the sp that provides the medicinal honey that is so popular now - it usually grows wild. This red sp is popular in gardens here as it offers colour during the colder months and is very hardy.

Viburnam tinus `Eve Price` flowering profusely all round the Gardens at the moment - fabulous purple berries follow the softly scented, delicate flowers - one of my favourites ! Viburnums are interesting shubs, I especially like the sp that flowers on bare wood before the leaves appear, they are usually stronly scented also, but don`t last very long when picked. Who in NZ didn`t grow up with a Snowball tree in the backyard - another Viburnum . .

Spring blossom from the Chinese garden, one of the themed gardens here that are based on original landscapes - check out the website below.I pressed this small branchlet, I think they are the most delicate of flowers .. I love botanical art and my favourite job in the world would be to work in a Herbarium, pressing and mounting dried samples of plants from around the world !

I don`t mind grey skies ... the tracery of the trees shows up clearer - this little sparrow was busy waiting for crumbs, he didn`t mind either .. I can`t explain the `buzz` I get from strolling in these gardens - they are the jewel in the city of Hamilton`s crown I believe - no matter what time of the year there is always plants and trees flowering - to think the area was originally a Maori Pa site, then amongst other things, a race track, dog dosing strip and finaly the city rubbish dump, miracles have been worked - it is my `soul` place . . .

Saturday, August 2, 2008

ApiLifeVar - organics all the way !!

Last week at the monthly meeting of my local Bee Club ,we had a very inspirational speaker - Reuban Stanley is his name and his passion is ApiLifeVar, an organic treatment for varroa mites.

Reuban and his lovely Swiss wife Anne drove over from Rotorua about an hour away, and kept us all entertained for nearly 2 hours. First we had a great power-point display of the photos they had taken on his beekeeping adventures around the world, starting with keeping 80 hives in Switzerland and continuing into Asia with the promotion and selling of ApiLifeVar.

ApiLifeVar, to quote the pamphlet, is based on essential oils - Thymol,Eucalyptus,Menthol and Camphor, absorbed on an inert medium, is the organic solution for the treatment of varroasis in bees and against tracheal mite. After listening to Reuban`s very informative and interesting talk, I for one will be using this treatment in my hives this coming spring - surely it is so much better for my bees not to put any sort of chemicals that are going to have bad affects on them eventually, into their living space ??

Reuban is the NZ rep for this product, which is manufactured in Italy and exported to many other countries. It was so refreshing to listen to another point of view, even the critics had to admit that they were interested !

The meeting concluded with refreshments and a delicious honey and lemon cake made by Sandy - a pleasent end to a very good night ..