a french garden

Gardener / Beekeeper’s holiday!

22 Comments

To begin at the beginning:  May I wish everyone a very Happy New Year and as they say in this corner of France I wish everyone plein des bonne choses – a lot of good things.

Although here the winters are on the whole quite mild compared with Northern Europe and the USA, this year we decided to escape the dull winter days and spend the Christmas and the New Year in the Andalusia region of Spain.

Arriving the first evening in our rented apartment we had a fabulous view of the countryside all the way to the sea.

IMG_0070 Benalmadina from the apartment But frankly, what does a beekeeper and gardener do on holiday?  Well, apart from enjoying sunshine and temperatures of around 24 degrees C ( nearly 75F), naturally I chased after the girls – the feathered and buzzing varieties.  The only problem was that unlike in our own garden, in Spain I did not recognize most of the flowers.  So hopefully somebody can enlighten me.

This tiny cutie reminded me our warblers,

IMG_0020 Malaga

The countryside showed signs of spring with wild narcissus and heather as well as gorse in flower.

IMG_0097 - Benalmadina Dec 25thIt was nice seeing the bees collecting different colours of pollen,  This one from what looks like our red hot poker – Kniphofia.

IMG_0125The evening sun on this flower showed the bees still busy collecting yellow pollen.

IMG_0158 Benalmadina

We took a trip inland north west of Malaga to visit the bee museum (of course!) at the pretty small town of Colemnar.  My son joined us and Amelia and him braved the only rainy day in the town square,

IMG_0109 Colmenar

As we paint our beehives I found the museum’s hives an inspiration.

IMG_0111 Colmenar Bee Museaum

Incidentally the picture of the bee bringing a bucket full of honey to the nest-like hive shows the hives that the Spaniards in the North hang from the trees.  It was at the museum that I also learnt that the bees there were of a totally different specie from ours.  They were Apis mellifera iberica.  They are apparently more nervous and more aggressive.

Rosemary of any variety seems to attract the bees.

IMG_0209 Benalmadina

Although I have no idea what type of bee this little lady is!

IMG_0214 Benalmadina

So we came back to France with a few ideas – and a few seeds collected here and there.  But isn’t that what all gardeners do?

I hope that 2018 will be a great year for all creatures great and small and that includes all of us.

Kourosh

 

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22 thoughts on “Gardener / Beekeeper’s holiday!

  1. Merci beaucoup for the report of a lovely vacation & winter break. Your bee & flower close-ups are fascinating & how interesting you visited a bee museum –a bit of a busman’s holiday or coals to Newcastle adventure. Thank you again & Bonne Année.

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    • Merci encore. I suppose most of us take our interests with us when travelling. I come back from holidays with a few stolen (hush!) seeds and loads of photos of flowers and bees.
      Have a wonderful year – K

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  2. Thank you Kourosh for taking time to post. I always enjoy seeing and hearing how the garden and particularly the bees are managing.
    We are experiencing a very wet winter once again on the southern West Coast of BC, Canada. Fortunately we did not have snow or an ice storm where we reside. Only 25K east the results of an ice storm persisted for over a week and I do hope all the apiaries in the Valley survived. No doubt we will know in the next couple of months as the weather warms.
    My garlic and narcissi are breaking soil and there are swelling buds on the camellia so the suggestion of Spring is with us.
    All the best for the coming year.
    Regards Janine

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    • Thank you, Janine for sharing your garden news too. Amelia and I only visited Ontario when we lived in the US and sadly never saw your region. But it is heart warming to hear that the signs of early Spring is everywhere.
      May your year be full of joy – K

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  3. Saw a couple of honey bees out yesterday on a Christmas Rose in the garden. Our Rosemary is trying to flower in this mild weater too, lovely to see the same in Spain.
    Best wishes for 2018.

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  4. A Spanish Christmas – what a great idea. And of course you had to find some Spanish bees. Thanks for the pics of the painted hives.

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    • Thanks, Emily. I do hope that you had a wonderful festive holiday, too. The painted hives shows that the beekeepers everywhere do really love their bees, – K

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  5. The warmth must have been wonderful at this time of year.

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  6. Those hives are too pretty to put outside!

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    • Tony, we too paint our hives and as we have named each colony with a flower name, the motives painted in the front also represent sunflower, Iris, viollet, etc. Best wishes for 2018 – K

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  7. A very Happy New Year to you and Amelia. We had some lovely warm days at Christmas (as well as some cold ones as it varied very much from day to day). But it was warm enough to sit outside and enjoy a pre-Christmas dinner aperitivo.

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    • It is something magical having a drink outside under the sun in winter. Amelia and I take our coffee out as often as possible. I can just imagine your Italian garden in all seasons, so different from ours and yet so lovely. Best wishes for the Spring to come. – Kourosh

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  8. A Happy New Year to you and Amelia, also a healthy bee year. Thanks for sharing the Spanish sunshine.

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  9. A very Happy New Year to you both, Kourosh, and thanks for the photos and words of warmth at this cold and dark time of the year ( here!). Interesting that a few bee keepers take the time and effort to paint their hives – I’m guessing this is always a good sign of how much care and affection they have for their inhabitants over and above more commercially minded beekeepers,I can’t recall seeing a painted hive in the UK, but maybe also weather is a reason why more don’t?
    best wishes
    Julian

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    • Thank you, Julian for the comments. Amelia and I have contacts with a few amateur beekeepers in the UK and elsewhere, and they indeed paint their hives and like us give names to individual colonies. The bees become more like a pet for us amateurs!
      We are obliged in France to register the number of hives we have with the government each year. And so I regularly receive a demand for tax, even though each year I tell them we do not sell any honey and only share it with all the neighbours and friends. The greatest pleasure for us is to observe the bees and learn from them. Even just a few minutes ago with the temperature only 9 degrees C, Amelia and I walked through the garden and saw the bees very active coming and going and buzzing on the viburnum tinus and the winter flowering honeysuckle, both in glorious full flower at this time of the year,
      All the best to you and your family
      Kourosh

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  10. Belated NY & beaucoup des bonnes choses à vous aussi! RH

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  11. Belated Happy New Year to you both! Thanks for sharing your photos of bees and flowers from Spain. Here the weather has been poor, wet and cool with little sunshine, but rosemary seems to flourish, by the sea at least, and atttracts bees even in midwinter.

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    • Thank you, Philip,
      Amelia and I are also back to lots of rain, and windy days, here in France. But I suppose we should not grumble as last year was very dry and the garden and the countryside badly nees a good soaking.
      At this time of the year our bees, in great number, are visiting the winter flowering honeysuckle and the viburnum tinus. You see them returning to their hives with lots of pollen and presumably with nectar.
      I hope that you will have a wonderful 2018 and can enjoy early spring walks in the countryside taking beautiful pictures.
      Kourosh

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