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Posts Tagged ‘Bees’

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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IMG_5005Sarah Raven Made me Do It

It was Witchcraft !

It all started this week when the temptress Sarah Raven sent out a missive that she was offering cut price dahlia tubers. It was one quick sidestep to her website and I was hooked and drawn into that one click wonder of purchasing a little clutch of dahlias which will be added into our existing dahlia meadow in our garden.

Don’t get me wrong – I love and adore Sarah and will sing her praises and admire her endlessly . She fills up my senses with gorgeous catalogues and aspirational visions of delight ! she cannot go wrong .. so nor neither can I !

So what have I chosen and why ?

Thanks to the Sarah Raven website we have all the pictures to see what was in my basket (a basket which could have been added to many times over .. but rare for me , I was reasonably restrained and stuck with five favourites ! )

  1. Dahlia Magenta Star

dahlia Magenta Star

Love made this choice happen ! Paul and I treated ourselves to a night at Gravetye Manor for our  wedding anniversary last year  .We saw this dahlia planted en masse there and utterly adored it.Tom makes a spectacular display by threading it through his borders and with its glowing , luminous flower and very dark stems and leaves it is stunning. So that one was a must !

2. Dahlia “Blanc y Verde”

dahlia blanc y verde

its always a good idea  to have a white dahlia for cutting and adding into bunches . This one has a luminosity and delicate verdant green within it which sings out to me . Also a perfect single open flower will be super for our bees. Its a cool , calm and collected sort of dahlia !

3. Dahlia “Waltzing Mathilda”

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Not only was the colour combination within the flower beguiling – pink and burnt orange is thrilling to me- but it reminded me of that song and then I couldn’t get it out of my mind .. you won’t either.

4. Dahlia “Burlesca”

dahlia burlesca.jpg

emm again .. it seems to be that orangey pink colour way which has caught me in its clutches.. but obviously that tight perfect form of the flower shape is wonderful and will add flower shape interest to bouquets .The name conjured up that whiff of the nightime and the fascinating intrigue of burlesque nightclub burlesque !

5.Dahlia “Darkarin”

dahlia darkarin.jpg

oops .. that colour again ! well I really loved the name of this one .. a hint of mystery , mood and magic and brooding jewel box velvet.

Now Waiting for Despatch

phew sorted ….order is in , free postage and packing applied, we are on our way . More soon once the tubers arrive.

What happens next

Once the tubers arrive I will show you how to plant them , and then the magic will start ! I will then reveal to you how one can become two and two four (I will for the first time ever do the math !) and we can make a meadow with the few becoming many ! Dahlia cuttings – we love them ! so easy to do when you know how !  and soon you will !

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TextileNatureJKTfin copy

We are delighted to be be able to announce that we are hosting the launch of Anne Kelly’s latest book -Textile Natureon  Sunday 26th June 2016 , 1pm until 5pm.Anne and a number of the artists who collaborated with her and whose work feature in the book should also be here  to enjoy the garden .

Anne Kelly Detail from Natural History Waistcoat

 

Anne Kelly Bags Quilt

We were very lucky to have welcomed Anne as our Artist in Residence at Sussex Prairies in 2014 ,and Sussex Prairies ,and the influence it had on Anne’s work is beautifully documented in the book.

Jennifer Collier Birdhouse

Jennifer Collier Birdhouse

As gardeners and designers we are continually exploring nature in all its forms , textures and hues in the natural gardened world . From the smallest of stem colours,shapes and textures to the largest of leaves and flower structures we are exploring the endless possibilities of pattern and texture.

Hillary Waters "Untitled"

Hillary Waters “Untitled”

This has been our inspiration in creating a huge living and dynamic natural ‘canvas’ here at Sussex Prairies. In the same way we can clearly identify with both Anne and many of the textile lovers and creators who come to our garden to visit and run workshops.

Specimen Box Jane Nicholas

Specimen Box Jane Nicholas

Lovers of the natural living world will also be inspired by the focus on birds, insects and wildlife in the book  and we are very pleased to have created a link with Sussex Wildlife Trust who will joining us for that day as part of their ’30 Days Wild’ initiative. Sussex Wildlife Trust will be holding a raffle  that day and you will have a chance to win an Anne Kelly original piece of artwork , as well as artwork from other artists featured in the book.

http://www.annekellytextiles.com

 

 

 

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ohbeehivecardOh Beehive !

Feel the buzz and make a bee line for Sussex Prairies from 1st June  when we shall be celebrating our love of bees ! Pollenicious baby !

DSC04666Our whimsical celebrity, Austin Flowers ,will be creating a buzz in the largest beehive in Sussex. Find him bee- hind you in his foppish attire and count his collection of pin badges and  jewellery as part of the bee quiz .Will you be bold enough to feel the bees in his bee box ?

BisforbeeYou can also follow the bee trail of bee factoids around the garden.. you will be able to answer such questions as -what does a Queen do ? how fast  can a bee fly  ? how do bees communicate ?how long have bees been here  ?  how is honey made ?

and finally make it to the teashop and the  Queen Honey Cake Tower   ! and sample some of our cakes made with honey , herbs and flowers.Bee – licious !

alisoncatchlovebeeWe shall be joined by local beekeepers and a local blacksmith and green woodworker making bee related items on Friday 5th , Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th June 2015. The sculptor Alison Catchlove will be exhibiting her bee sculptures in the garden..

Dates for the Chelsea Fringe Oh Beehive

Monday 1st June             1pm -5pm

Closed Tuesday 2nd June

Wednesday 3rd June     1pm -5pm

Thursday 4th June         1pm – 5pm

Friday 5th June               1pm – 5pm

Saturday 6th June         1pm – 5pm

Sunday 7th June             1pm – 5pm

Venue : Sussex Prairie Garden , Morlands Farm, Wheatsheaf Road (B2116 ), Near Henfield, West Sussex , BN5 9AT.

Tel 01273 495902 email morlandsfarm@btinternet.com website http://www.sussexprairies.co.uk

Follow us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sussex-Prairies and Twitter @sussexprairies and on Pinterest- look out for the board celebrating Oh Beehive !

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Insect Zigurrat takes a bow !

Ron and Libby our lovely ,loyal and stalwart Sussex Prairie volunteers have made us the incredible wheeled insect ziggurat which has now been  wheeled into  place and  populated with insect friendly home fodder  this week. Not only will it be a living home to many insects but should prove to be a talking point at the entrance to the Sven garden (mini prairie).

What is a Ziggurat   ? A massive structure having the form of a terraced step pyramid of successively receding storeys or levels.

Why is it in our garden ? why not .. it deserves a place in our hearts ! and it will be a multi storey home to a world of insects from bees, to lacewings , to miner bees .. and anyone else who fancies a deluxe condominium. It also provides a bit of a diversion for the eye from  the more than plastic unfantastic  digesting septic tank. I only hope the residents are soothed by the bubbling , burbling mechanisms machinating below .They can think of it as musical interlude.

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Wildlife Friendly ! why ? because invertebrates can shelter there and lay their eggs and it can be a feeding place for insects, reptile s and small mammals (if they can clamber up there !)

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Climate friendly ! why ? because it can provide cools , shady places  and extra nesting materials when natural alternatives may not be readily available .

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How did they do it ? (Ron and Libby I mean !) .. well , they collected all manner of materials which could be used to create dark, deep ,mysterious nooks and crannies in the gaps between the artfully stacked pallet structure. Old pine cones, stalks, sticks, wood , old terracotta pots, bundles of twigs , grass seed heads.

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What ? ….Dead wood : good for wood boring beetles  eg. stag beetle and larvae, can also support fungi. Centipedes and woodlice can burrow under the bark.

Hollow stems : ideal spots for solitary bees to lay their eggs

Stone and tiles : provide cool conditions for frogs and newts

Dry grass : give a place for insects to burrow into

Dry leaves : ladybirds might hibernate in here during winter and they are great for eating aphids in the garden.

Rotting wood and bark : is where beetles , centipedes ,spiders and woodlice love to be

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And did you know….. there is actually a living library in the Zigurrat for creatures to enjoy and enrich their brain power and a great many hearts and a lot of love  hanging on it !(literally)

Thank you Ron and Libby for indulging our ever more crazy ideas and schemes !! Next idea : the wildlife matrix ….. coming soon ! Why not come and see the Zigurrat for yourself. It is open for business for wildlife 24 hours a day and open for human kind during our opening hours, daily, 1pm until 5pm from 1st June until 13th October 2013.

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With a summer of wool and sheep ahead of us we are delighted to welcome our newest artist  to the fold : Mo Jackson :a felt maker extraordinaire !

feltmopic4

Mo’s Bio :

• BA Graphic Design/illustration
• Member of the International Feltmakers Association
• Member of the Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers
• Member of the East Sussex Guild of Craftworkers

She has been a graphic designer and illustrator for twenty five years but textiles have always been her first love. Now she is pleased to say she is leaving behind the computer and getting back to a more hands on approach to her creativity. Her life is now about  designing and illustrating in wool!

What is Feltmaking ?

Feltmaking is a facinating process of taking unspun wool fibres, adding soap, water and elbow grease and making it into a non-woven material. It’s fun, therapeutic and totally addictive…I’m sure you’ll think so too.

Our Workshops with Mo :

Birds, Bees and Butterflies – Needle felting workshop- Saturday 8th June 2013 , 1pm -4pm

feltmo1

Needle felting is a dry felting process which involves no sewing, instead it uses a special needle with notches. By prodding the needle into the wool fibres this makes the fibres knit together, allowing you to make any shape you like… a kind of moulding in wool. In this workshop we will be making a variety of birds, bees and butterflies. It’s easy and fun, come and give it a go!

Felted Art Workshop- Friday 16th August 2013: afternoon 1pm -4pm

feltmo2

In this workshop you will be bonding wool fibres onto a fabric base, this is called ‘nuno felting’. Wool fibres are laid down on the fabric in the design of your creation. Warm water and soap are added. The wool and fabric are rolled in bubble wrap and aggitated back and forth untill they fuse togerther. The end result is your own felted fabric art. Come and set YOUR woolly creativity free.

Felted Flowers Workshop- Thursday 27th June 2013 afternoon 1pm -4pm

feltmo3

Felted flowers can be as varied as the real thing. You will be guided step-by-step though the ‘wet felting’ process. Wool fibres are massaged together with soap and warm water to form the felted flowers. Come and be inspired by the garden and make a corsage for yourself or as a gift for a friend…if you can bear to give them away!

Felted Soap and Pebbles Workshop- Saturday 24th August 2013 afternoon 1pm -4pm

feltmo5

Felting around objects is fun and very therapeutic. The felted soap is good to use as an exfoliator in the bath. It also shrinks with the soap! Bring your own bars of soap if you prefer. Felted pebbles are lovely tactile objects that can be used as paper weights or just to have as decoration on a table. Both are great to give as gifts. All materials provided.

To book any of the above courses all you need to do is contact us and we shall send you a booking form. Each session costs £25.. Why not come with your friends and family and have a fun afternoon making beautiful things !

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a doorway to India opens again

you know you are in Delhi when you land… the smell creeps in like a ragged spy and assails your nostrils like a beggar with attitude (and we saw plenty of them)..the aircon  in the car must surely be giving me legionnaires disease , it has that fustiness of old water and old dust combined…but strangely the old India is being supremely kicked into the twenty first century ! still plenty of dust and rubbish I grant you .. but on the outskirts of the heaving groaning Delhi ,acres of shiny new things, new buildings, a new sense of capitalism gone mad ! all linked togther by the scariest road ways you can imagine…. its not just the erratic and seemingly meaningless road “rules” , cars come at all angles with menace and crazed intent, leftside, rightside , oblique criss cross mayhem and woven through it all an unassailable fatalism. No one puts their lights on at night.. .. why would you ?…lorries hurtle along with their accoutrements (scarves , black woolly pompoms,glitter,geegaws) like gypsies shrouded in darkness til they are almost upon you with invisible menace … why no lights ? could it be they are parsimoniously guarding that last rupee to the enth degree or the ghosts are gathering… swathed in smoggy tendrils of mist and gloom we travel through the night and through the plastic unfantastic.

up close and personal with a lorry

But amongst the chaos is some sort of calm, in places , and the Lodi gardens provide a measure of peace.Interestingly they have some ambitious plantings of single coloured dahlias . Flowers which are loaded with bees and are immensely jolly and colourful. Big pollination rules ! The bees are enormous but perfectly intent on their work.Easing along from single flower to single flower with dedicated concentration.sucking out the last pretty piece of nectar before travelling on to the next.It works .. you can see how busy the insects are on this single group where other flowers remain dead and unloved.

bees,dahlas and honey production

And kumquat marmelade is absolutely lovely ! imagine a marmelade made of rich tangarine and you get an idea of the taste.  At the infamous Tikkli Bottom bed and breakfast destination , Annie must be the Kumquat marmelade queen. If you have never been there  : go ! Tikkli Bottom is a haven of peace and utter englishness set within a glorious Lutchenesque house and a voluptuous garden. Martin knows his plants and trees without a doubt ,and we were there to pick his brains and tease knowledge from him like the wiley jackals and leopards surrounding his property. take a slice of England , spread it on toast and serve shaken not stirred ! delightful !

Martin's bees at Tikkli

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