It is not even that sunny, but an optimistic trip to the apiary was optimistic because it was mild for the last day in February.
On the way down I saw signs that the moles might be coming through to the apiary. My neighbour’s Christmas card had referred to the fact she thought the it time we took back ‘our’ moles. Originally ruining our lawn they had been frightened off by the earthworks for our heat pump so they had gone to visit – and ruin – her garden. We are mostly all softies round here. Pat, despite wanting to be rid of the moles, won’t allow them to be killed. similarly, I was too squeamish to kill them myself – though had lent 2 traps to a third neighbour, Janet, who was happy to do so. It was the perfect solution for awhile as killing them in her garden meant we all benefitted. Janet has now moved and returned my traps. I still cannot bring myself to use them. To be fair I do have solutions to offer.
The solar mole scarer’s sold by Primrose of London are a big help – mine are lined up along the boundary with pat’s garden like soldiers ready for a seige. If you get battery powered ones the batteries cost a fortune and you forget to replace them so go for solar even if they cost more initially. The supporting strategy is to pour diluted Jeyes fluid into the mole tunnels that connect mole hills the minute you spot them. You may need to open up the mole hills to detect the tunnels with something like a broomstick. If you leave it too long, once the smell has worn off, the old moles will return or squatter moles will take up residence – and continually buying Jeyes fluid is expensive.
So, I must do some work to deter this breakthrough by the little varmints. Not now though, I am too keen to see what is happening in the apiary hives.
I can see and hear the activity as I approach. Not a quiet, housekeeping sort of exercise of a few bees keeping close to the hive, but some purposeful forays to a place beyond the hedge and signs of pollen on some of the returners. I feel justified in feeling pride in their bravery and endeavour – the new term / bee year seems to have begun.
Once I am happy with the bees’ progress, I look at the plants I have placed close to hand to reduce their shopping trip if the weather is not too good. No sign of the winter aconites and the Michaelmas daisy, planted at the wrong time to replace one demolished by our neighbour’s fencer looks pretty dead. Something has been digging near its roots.
The mahonia is not yet in flower but looks healthy and established …
and some alliums are starting to grow. How I love alliums. I wonder if I could paint alliums and honey bees on my car instead of the rather dull green?
test test test