We’re Back – With 2015’s Bermondsey Street Honey Offering

Bermondsey Street Honey Stall

And we’re off to a flying start with our new www.bermondseystreetbees.co.uk website. The Apis bee-blog and much more can be accessed through the site. And we’ve also been busy in the Press: see this profile in ES Lifestyle : Made in London .

The start of the Bee Year is September, once the honey harvest has been gathered in. So it’s time for our subscribers and local customers to be offered Bermondsey Street Honey before it goes on sale to the public at the Bermondsey Street Festival on 19th September 2015. Continue reading “We’re Back – With 2015’s Bermondsey Street Honey Offering”

In The Apiary : Mid-August : CSI Pollen Study

Pollen
Pollen

Premise: We are fervent advocates of science-led discovery of the wonders of the bees’ existence. We also feel that the availability of sustainable sources of forage is the primary consideration in maintaining healthy and productive apiaries. That is why we organise local pollinator-friendly plantings, have developed our proprietary Apis Forage Index to measure available forage in a specific location and now participate in programmes to further academic studies of apis mellifera. We get involved.

Continue reading “In The Apiary : Mid-August : CSI Pollen Study”

In The Apiary : Mid June : Jet and Indigo

DJG - Photo by Hung Quach - Jet and Indigo
Debriefing – Photo by Hung Quach – Jet and Indigo

In life, as in beekeeping, when you collaborate with talented people, good things happen.

When Hung (pronounced “Hoong”) Quach approached me to propose an article about the Bermondsey Street Bees‘ rooftop apiary, in the “Locality” section of her Jet and Indigo blog, I was delighted to accept. I had been especially impressed with the crispness and clarity of her photographs (and her food images in particular) and Hung’s bee photography certainly did not disappoint! Continue reading “In The Apiary : Mid June : Jet and Indigo”

Leathermarket Gardens : One Year On

Bee On Borage
Bee On Borage In Leathermarket Gardens

Last weekend, we witnessed a minor metrological miracle. For once, the rain held off when we went in to weed and tend our patch of fruiting trees, bushes, herbs and wildflowers in Leathermarket Gardens. Even the bees showed up to help us out.

Apple Blossom And Setting Fruit
Apple Blossom

Maintenance is important when you’ve planted for forage. Here we were, tidying up after the Leathermarket Gardens’ first anniversary, encouraging our fruit trees, currant bushes and herbs and preventing non-descript ground cover from overwhelming them.

So in went clumps of Forget-me-nots and scatterings of seeds from LMG stalwart, Nikki Vane:

Nikki On Parade
Nikki On Parade

And out went thistles and tufts of grass, as Antoinette weeded busily in the sunshine.

Antoinette
Antoinette At Work

 And Xander, too:

Xander
Xander : Hands-On

The bees were not slacking, either. Big pollen sacs were coming off the ceanothus. As is often the case with pollens, the colour of the flower does not match the colour of the pollen. The boisterous blue ceanothus yields a yolk-yellow pollen.

Bee On Ceanothus

It’s good to see the plants getting their feet down and fruiting copiously, now that the blossom has almost gone – a sure sign that the Bermondsey Street pollination brigade has been on the wing !

Currants
Currants, Currently

That’s what it’s all about, after all.

Greenwood Theatre Pocket Park

Joe Swift, Surrounded By The Pocket Park's Team
Joe Swift, Surrounded By The Pocket Park’s Team

I often encounter pessimism about the future of bee-friendly forage in London. You’ll be familiar with the argument: with property development squeezing the last drop of square footage out of any available space, homeowners decking or tarmacking over gardens and playgrounds and work-out areas nibbling away at park space, we come up against the same old problem: Land. “They ain’t making any more of the stuff”, as Will Rogers quipped.

Bees Love Salvia !
Bees Love Salvia !

But small, determined projects really roll back the defeatism about forage. Like our Leathermarket Gardens edible planting. Last night, I went to applaud King’s College for the “Pocket Park” which has been constructed along with their impressive new Greenwood Theatre building. This project had many local contributors: Dame Zandra Rhodes; St. Mungo’s Broadway; the London Bridge BID, as well as a bold design by top garden designer, Joe Swift.

Dame Zandra Rhodes Was There In Spirit !
Dame Zandra Rhodes Was There In Spirit !

Pocket parks are part of the Boris Johnson’s London’s Great Outdoors – the £2million pocket park programme seeks to improve streets, squares, parks, and canal and riverside spaces in over 100 locations across 26 London boroughs.

The Greenwood Theatre
The Greenwood Theatre

Pocket parks are small areas of inviting public space for all people to enjoy, providing relief from the hustle and bustle of the city. These spaces have trees and greenery; they are open to all; they have places to sit and relax and for people to come together; and they contribute to making the city friendlier, greener and more resilient.

And they’re wonderful for bees.

 

CSI Pollen

Pollen

The Bermondsey Street Bees have enrolled in the COLOSS CSI Pollen study, which covers 18 European countries, working with Norman Carreck of the University of Sussex. This is an important adjunct to our own work on forage (watch this space!).

The protocol involves taking a representative 20g sample of pollen from three Bermondsey Street hives, dividing the pollen loads into different colours and then classifying the number of each different hue (Abundant, Rare and Very Rare are the categories). The number of days taken to provide the sample is also noted. Results are classified according to the protocol and e-mailed to Norman Carreck. The pollen sample is then frozen, so that a microscopic analysis could establish the exact number of pollen types (botanical diversity), if required.

In some quarters, local pollen is said to be a palliative for hay fever sufferers. So if any Apis readers in the Bermondsey Street zone would like some fresh local pollen, there are 3 small jars of Bermondsey Street pollen available.

If you’d like one, please give me a shout on dale@apis.gb.com , with “Pollen” in the message box. They’ll be allocated on a strictly “first come, first served” basis for collection next week.