…Nature glories in death more than life. The month of departure is more beautiful than the month of coming – October than May. Every green thing loves to die in bright colors.
-Henry Ward Beecher Proverbs from the Plymouth Pulpit ***
The weather of late around here is the very essence of funereal: grey, cold, with the feeling of the end of days. Dark when I arise in the morning, dark before dinner even in late afternoon. There is not a lot of the color Beecher refers to here, although my lawn is covered golden leaves and pine needles. I must to feeling a bit melancholy and the weather certainly does not help. So I really cannot relate to
You ought to know that October is the first Spring month.
-Karel Capek The Gardener’s October
He does go onto explain himself, and I cannot fault his logic:
… the month of underground germination and sprouting, of hidden growth, of swelling buds; scratch a little into the ground and you will find buds ready made, thick as your thumb, fragile shoots and struggling roots – I can’t help you, Spring is here; go out, gardener, and plant (but be careful that you don’t cut with the spade a sprouting narcissus bulb).
Yes, he is right, but while all this growth is happening under ground, a blazing funeral is overhead. So why do I feel neither the growth nor the blaze?
Or not. What sounds like a swarm, look like a swarm, but isn’t a swarm? When it’s a zillion bees on a huge ivy, loading up for winter.
I really did think it was a swarm mostly because of the roar of the buzzing. And also because this is a favorite go-to place for the garage bees when they do swarm. However, upon closer examination, all the bees I saw were loaded down with pollen and happily going from blossom to blossom.
Honey or not honey
The last post generated some discussion over the role of sugar syrup in honey, as well as the unusual ingredients bees pick up on the way. We are still on sugar syrup, especially with our nuc bees. I was told that you feed them syrup until they stop taking it. And then you apply the fondant. But I am seeing from other posts and discussion lists that bee feeding should end at the end of September to be replaced by fondant for most of the winter. All I know is the bees usually tell me when they don’t want the syrup anymore, but it would be interesting to hear other views on this.
Usually when I give the bees fondant, it is in the form of delicate sheets. Maybe, I am being a bit stingy?
Ah, they really like me….
I have always like the idea of sunflowers, I mean the idea of planting some. Never seemed to get around to it. I often say in this blog how the birds are better gardeners than I am. Well, sunflowers are a case in point. They very thoughtfully planted one for me, as you can see above. We regularly give them sunflower seeds and hearts in their feed, so I guess they decided to put the excess to good use…
Really, I am not following you around, Rusty! She has an excellent post about how bees and other pollinators dominate the sunflower at one point in its life, while birds take over towards the end. I’m going to try re-gifting this sunflower to the birds (check out the post at the Honey Bee Suite).
***exact page for quote: https://archive.org/stream/proverbsfromplym00beec#page/10/mode/2up. I urge you to look at this for an example of excellent use of digitization at least.
Thanks to Jonathan Wallace for the instructive video. I have one question: where do you get those big-ass blocks of fondant?!