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Archive for the ‘Spring’ Category

IMG_0390Flip to the Bee Side – Paul tells his tale about his bees

As I walked past my five hives of bees this evening, not paying much attention, I heard a deep buzzing noise coming from one of them. I bent my ear close to the hive entrance(there being no flying on this damp dusk) and the buzzing increased as if they were being disturbed. I glanced up and realised that I had failed to observe a medium sized swarm of about 5000 bees, clustered on the outside of the hive 6 inches from my face. Yikes! I thought, along with some other less Enid Blyton like curses!!

Have a Go Beeman.

My challenge, I decided, was to find a way of collecting, hiving and feeding the swarm, within the twenty minutes of daylight left to me. I had to think quick, and this is what I did.

Cakus Interuptus

Firstly, interrupt Pauline making Rhubarb cake in the kitchen to boil the kettle and make some sugar syrup. Then search for a suitable way of scanning the  bees off the flat wooden exterior of the hive. My eyes alighted on a box of 12 Schweppes tonic waters. The empty cardboard box, with it’s end cut off made a perfect scoop for bee collection. So I hoped.

Job Done!

I trotted off to the bees in the field, got my kit on, and slowly slid the tonic box, whilst holding it tight, flat against the hive, until all the bees slipped into the box. Amazingly, I collected all but three bees in a matter of seconds. Two minutes later they were in the new hive with a feeder full of syrup and a reduced entrance to discourage other bees from robbing.

Moral of the Tale 

a swarm in the hive is worth two in the bush !

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Bra- Drona at Cardrona, New Zealand

Bra- Drona at Cardrona, New Zealand

on a day when we have had sun,hail,snow and sun ….Vest is not a sexy word nor can its name be spake in this garden !

A lacey slip of a thing it could be considered a wonder garment of warmth and subtlety but the fact is we are looking for something a little more robust . We are searching for a solution to the age old problem of the gap of winter colly wobbles created when you bend and stretch and today we need something of strength and purpose to breach the gap between trouser top and achingly exposed back acreage.What will it be ? The Damart dance of destiny ? a sneaky peak through the small ads of shame and nicker pink thermolactyls ? what  to do as the prairie winds blow coolly this springtide?

 

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When Serena contacted me to ask if she could show her work in our garden I felt very honoured . Now I have a stunning array of her work in our house garden for the winter and spring months. A canny collection of exceptionally diverse and imaginatively wrought beasts and birds fashioned from a salvaged collection of old tools, artifacts and ironworks.

Serena Thirkell is the great-great-granddaughter of the Pre- Raphaelite artist Sir Edward Burne-Jones, whose stained glass windows can be seen in St Michael’s Church, Brighton and who is buried in St Margaret’s Church, Rottingdean. (there are two wonderfully designed windows in the church too !)

stretch poodle

Scrap metal pieces take on a bizarre life of their own as they become the crazed stretch poodle or the marvellously composed Blade Swan. The poodle is composed of a spinning series of cogs,spiralling crazily around to form the coiled curls of a poodlesque fur coat .Luckily he has a food dish full of bolts and screws to nourish him !

blade swan

  Cowering in the shadow of the hornbeam hedges the Mudflapper snaps its mouth menacingly and with his multi -fork legs dangerously  akimbo looks as if he has settled in perfectly.Something industrial becomes something entirely magical and enchanted in Serena’s hands.

The Trojan Horse and now its Blue Foal are poised for flight in the front border ,and you can imagine them cantering serenely through the grasses and out on to the prairie beyond, arching their graceful necks and swishing their tails. The metallic clatter of hooves strikes fear into the highwayman’s soul !

And presiding over the whole scene like an all seeing spectre , the Hectapus, ghoulish and menacing.

Read More about Serena, her work , background , inspiration and where she is exhibiting on her website at www.serenathirkell.co.uk

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This week Paul and I are very honoured to have been asked to help The Sussex Beacon gardening team with supplying Sussex Prairie plants for a mini prairie  bed in the wonderful Beacon garden .Located high up on what must have been a former fire beacon position the unit snuggly nestles into the hillside and curves around its slopes . The garden is set at its heart.

Having met with the volunteers we worked out our plan of action  ! Firstly Paul and I will design a simple planting scheme using some of our signature prairie plants that would fit the garden perfectly and then the plan is that the team will come out to us and help propagate the plants that will go into the border . Propagating from our immense plant stock here in our garden we will have a choice of  super varieties. Having set them going in our polytunnel we will then plant up the space in early spring hopefully in time for a bit of colour to be emerging in readiness for this years Garden Gadabout in June and July.

The Sussex Beacon is a dedicated HIV centre , which has been at the forefront of specialist HIV service delivery since 1992. The ten bedded unit cares for people recovering from serious HIV related illness and supports those initiating new drug therapies or struggling with the extreme side effects of antiretroviral medication. And at the heart of the unit is a calm restful haven : the garden. Green space and the peaceful courtyard will be the perfect place for the plants we love to encourage bird and insect life into the garden. The gentle noise of grasses moving and the soft colours will be beautiful there.Paul and I are really looking forward to this project and getting to know further the wonderful volunteers who are working to make the whole place such a success.

 

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top fish shop

such a gorgeous evening tonight that ,following the evil ministrations of the dental king in Henfield ,we just piled everyone into the truck and headed down to Rottingdean for fish and chips on the beach as the sun set over Brighton in a very pink and girly way. Fish and chips when you are starving, and suffering probably from a overheated day at the mulching rack, is just the most perfect thing and a completely understandable reason for me not attaining the legendary size zero again this summer !but I don’t care !

The name of the shop in question is Smugglers and is right down at the sea side edge. Heaven !

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