Friday, 7 August 2009

The bees have returned

Three or four inches of rain fell yesterday afternoon and evening. We were expecting Chris Lewis to bring two hives of bees, but wondered whether he would prefer to leave them for another day.

But, no, at 8.30pm he dank, dark conditions. We had placed five large slabs in readiness besides the native species hedge. Out came the hives. They were placed on bricks, then the straps taken off and the front entrance unplugged. Our Stevington swarm from the end of May had returned! They were really active, we were told. The other from Great Staughton was altogether smaller and quieter.

This afternoon I went to get a photo. Wow..the noise, the hum, the activity. I wasnot going too close! Our swarm was the one on the right.....there was masses of activity and a very loud buzz. Let's hope they want to stay!

Thursday, 6 August 2009

Humpty Dumpty

As if a Mondrian Wall is not enough to hide the compost bins, we now have Humpty Dumpty sitting on top...all a remarkable tribute by two x Bedford School boys; the first by our son Jonathan executed some 9 years ago; and the second by Neil Burley who rose to the challenge made only three weeks ago at Hampton Court Flower Show to produce Humpty Dumpty in time for our Mad Hatter's Tea Party. No sooner said than done! What a fantastic talent for someone who has never ever undertaken a commission before. I can't believe this will be his last!

Who stole the Tarts

Our Mad Hatter's Tea Party meant that we had croquet on the lawn, although the flamingoes barely stood still, let alone the hedgehogs. Meanwhile tea trays were flying through the air. All very bizarre. We had lots of fantastic paintings around the garden and also in the Church Rooms where the feast and play took place. Star of the feast were the Jam Tarts which of course were stolen. Actually all 72 of them were very kindly and lovingly made by Hannah's Mum.

Mad Hatter's Tea Party

Saturday Ist August came and went like a dream with a feast and play for 55 people! The Mad Hatter's Tea Party theme created a wonderful atmosphere with lots of our guests dressing up in hats and costumes. White roses were painted red, and adorned the two long banqueting tables with pink flamingoes, rabbits disppearing down rabbit holes, mouses in a pool of tears, gravel cup cakes, etc etc all created by the fantastic Masterchef finalist Hannah Miles, was amazing. The theme of the play was who stole the tarts. Simon was the fearsome judge,I was the Queen of Hearts, Suzie was Alice, a friend called Paula was the White Rabbit and three great players from a local amateur drama group were the MC, the Mad Hatter and the doormouse. Oone of our guests called Danny was the Knave and two small children called Belina and Theo were the guards. Hannah of course played the cook.

Monday, 3 August 2009

Peacock butterflies and honey bees in our Monet and Hokusai borders

This has been a magical weekend with bees and butteflies in great numbers visiting the verbenas, buddlejas, blue geraniums and echinaceas.

These photos were taken in our Monet waterlily borders where Echinacea 'White Swan' represent the white waterlilies in Monet's painting in Tate Modern and the blue Gernaium 'Rozanne' represents the water beneath.

Elsewhere in the wild flower meadow the scabious and knapweeds are alive with insects. A fabulous show of native insects enjoying native food.

Yet to walk through the Hokusai borders is mesmerising beyond brings tears to my eyes every time; flights of Painted Ladies and cabbage whites, meadow browns and common blue just lift off into the air, soaring and fluttering above supping, tasting, feasting on the Verbena bonariensis; so walking through a dream. It is a butterfly wonderland. Free and fantastic.