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.
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,
The countryside showed signs of spring with wild narcissus and heather as well as gorse in flower.
It was nice seeing the bees collecting different colours of pollen, This one from what looks like our red hot poker – Kniphofia.
The evening sun on this flower showed the bees still busy collecting yellow pollen.
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,
As we paint our beehives I found the museum’s hives an inspiration.
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.
Although I have no idea what type of bee this little lady is!
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.