A queen is born

A queen is born

Perhaps it was only the beginner’s luck, but last year we had three bee swarms that all came directly to a six frame hive that we had placed outside to attract them. This year we thought we were well prepared with our three polystyrene hives to attract any new swarms. Swarm fever seems to have … Continue reading

May orchids at St-Maurice-de-Tavernoles

May orchids at St-Maurice-de-Tavernoles

It was a warm sunny day with a partly covered sky when I finally went to see the path of the orchids at St-Maurice-de-Tavernole.  I’ve had the intention of going since I was given the beautiful guide “Les Orchidée Sauvage” of the Haute-Saintonge which is available free, thanks to the funding from the Communauté de … Continue reading

Still running to catch up with April

Still running to catch up with April

I feel guilty about our front garden.  Recently I have not been able to give it much attention and yet even the outside wall looks pretty with plants put in years ago. We did manage to remove an old lilac tree early last autumn which has left us with a very blank wall.  But I … Continue reading

The bees swarm again

The bees swarm again

A  few days ago I wrote how queen Violette decided to swarm and then changed her mind and went back.  Amelia and I opened up the hive after they settled down and made an artificial swarm, as we had found a couple of queen cells in the hive.  One was already closed, and so we … Continue reading

Still running to keep up

Still running to keep up

The winter was mild and now the spring is coming, as it should, with sunshine and rain showers but I am still running to keep up with the changing season. The star of the moment is the Amelanchier – the blurry, white blossoming in the middle of the photograph above.  It looks better for real. … Continue reading

A swarm in April can change its mind

A swarm in April can change its mind

Amelia and went on a couple of weeks of holiday in March, but before that we made our first inspection of the four hives.  All four hives seemed be doing well but we discovered that although Cornucopia, our strongest hive had six frames of brood cells, she had also built queen cells on one frame.  After … Continue reading

How not to plant daffodils

How not to plant daffodils

March has almost finished and in this upside down year it certainly has not been “in like a lion, out like a lamb” as the winds are roaring down the country.  It continues to be exceptionally mild, going to 21 degrees centigrade a couple of days ago.  Seemingly this winter has been the mildest since … Continue reading

A welcome home

A welcome home

Back from two weeks holidays and the first thing I saw as the car turned towards the house was the bees flying around my bee hotels. It was so good to see them chasing each other and flying from beehouse to beehouse. These are the male Osmia cornuta with longer antenna than the female and cute … Continue reading

A February of contradictions

A February of contradictions

It has not really been a cold month, with hardly any frost but in the middle of the month there was a hard one that froze the molehills, making cunning trip traps for me as I made my way down the garden.  It has been a good winter for the moles. The frost tried to … Continue reading