I haven't given a progress update on our site for some time but this evening when I was doing a tour round, after work, I suddenly realised that its beginning to look quite attractive. I am used to my tours being to identify and prioritise jobs to do; so not a relaxing stroll. But slowly, we are cultivating some areas and they are beginning to mature; in other areas we are managing the grass-land or sowing seed for various purposes but the sense of a building site has gone and the bee-haven is emerging.
Here are the highlights of how it looks right now.
From our entrance gate the long 'avenue' where we trial nectar rich seed mixes is in full bloom; here you can see the phacelia in the annual mix in the foreground and the oxeye daisy that dominates the wildflower mix beyond. The phacelia is one of the very best bee plants.
The main area of the field we leave quite natural, allowing the sheep to graze a section at time. Its about a month since it was 'topped' and the clover is thriving, offering nectar to bumblebees.
At one side of the grass area we have our apiary. Having picked up a couple of swarms we now have 5 healthy bee-hives on site and took a small honey harvest last weekend.
Then there are the areas we have cultivated: here is one of our planted borders which are where we undertake our bee-counting research but I also use them to show how the rosybee stock behaves as it matures. Right now its a sea of blue, purple and white with star plants being the salvia nemorosas, geranium pratense and veronica spicata.
Finally I wanted to show off the 'allotment' which - although not much contribution to the bees - is looking quite tidy so at least I am not ashamed to show it.
We still have much to do including adding more trees and we have dreams of increasing the planting to increase the volume of flower for bees but we need to do it in stages (as and when we have the energy)