Saturday was a beautiful day for doing some digging. I went down to the Ealing Dean Allotment Society’s Radbourne Walk project, behind Northfields Allotments, where they will be planting wildflowers (corn poppy, corn marigold, corn flowers, plus eventually wild foxglove, giant mullein, dark mullein, weld, lords & ladies and teasel) and putting in a stag beetle home. First the soil had to be turned over and cleared of rubbish like glass and plastic. A deep hole was dug and old logs planted in the ground for stag beetle larvae to feed on.
I was really impressed by the amount of thought that’s gone into making the Radbourne alleyway as wildlife friendly as possible and also by tea-break time, which featured flapjacks and toasted teacakes with jam. I brought along a courgette chocolate cake which people seemed to like.
Down at the apiary later, the sunshine was really lighting up the crocuses. The bees were taking their chance to fly, so much so that I put a bee suit on just in case. I’d rather be over cautious than get one caught up in my hair again.
This is a ginger cake I made. Jayne had also made some perfect crumbly rock cakes, a couple of which I got to take home with me.
Mysteriously, one of our hives had these decapitated bees on its landing board. It’s natural for the winter bees to be dying off now, but where have all their heads gone? Either they break off easily or something out there finds the heads extra tasty.
We were talking about shook swarms (a procedure to destroy old comb and shake the bees onto new foundation) and some beekeepers have done theirs already! Depending on the weather hopefully Emma and I can do this sometime this month. Then the beekeeping season will really get going.