Tuesday, 8 February 2011
Feast for Winter Bees
February 8th has been a lovely warm day, frosty at first but then filled with sunshine; a welcome change from the endless grey days of late plus the roaring winds.
Suddenly I heard a great commotion on the verandah where baskets of hellebores and winter flowering aconites were in full bloom. I noticed not just one, but maybe 8 or 10 honey bees buzzing about from one flower to another, most indignant that I had appeared and interrupted their feast. One bee had a huge sack of pollen; it could hardly move. Weeks of starvation meant that it was determined to go home laden. Our two beehives seem to have survived the winter so far. These have been extreme times for them.
By coincidence I wrote a blog on February 5th last year after noticing the bees on hellebores and snowdrops. Maybe we should collate the information in a survey of winter honey bee sightings, as is done for garden birds!
The sunshine was especially welcome today as this was one of my February Open Tuesdays bringing visitors to see my winter garden. The grasses were magical with their sunny backlight,the cornus stems glistened,and the newly washed white stemmed birches positively gleamed. The aconites were in full flower and the bees obviously enjoyed them.....the snowdrops will follow in the next ten days.