Let it Bee. In My Garden, January 2017

I’m reinstating my monthly garden series today, in the hope that it becomes another posting habit in this new year. The January vegetable garden delivers an abundance of food and with it comes the search for novel ways to deal with the glut. Like our ancestors of old, some will be dried, preserved, or frozen for leaner times. Expect that there will be yet more zucchini, tomato, bean and cucumber recipes as the summer months go by.  But in the meantime, as I navigate my way through the narrow paths that criss cross my orto, I have once again come to admire the work of my friend and yours, the bee. Without these busy visitors, I wouldn’t be eating so well and neither would you.

Leeks and celery going to seed. The bees love them: I love their dying beauty.
Leeks and celery going to seed. The bees love the flowers while I’m attracted to their decadent beauty.
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Bees and leek flower heads.

If bees are scarce in your neighbourhood or vegetable garden, try to encourage them.  Grow more purple flowering plants in your garden and let some of your Spring crops go to seed. Be rewarded with spectacular beauty, whilst simultaneously attracting cross pollinators for your crops and those of the neighbourhood.

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Bees at work- all day. Leek flower heads.

Towering seed heads in a vegetable garden look magnificent, adding drama, shade and wind breaks for smaller sun shy lettuces and young plants below. I grow Endive lettuce mainly to watch them bolt after Spring, tying them to poles near the tomato patch. The blue flowers of the bolted radicchio are the brightest of all,  growing to around 8 feet high. They open during the morning then close on very hot days. In the meantime, fading leek and artichoke flowers do the job.

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Flower head of the artichoke. Bees adore them.

I can honestly say that my vegetable patch is a little wild and disordered, but there’s purpose and beauty in all this chaos. The bees agree.

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Bees at work

My young visitors have learnt to respect and admire bees. They now know that the world depends on bees for the future of 70% of all crops and walk through the purple flowering bee garden with a little more ease, in their hunt for ripe strawberries, raspberries or a crunchy radish.

Cartoon via Pesticide Action Network
Cartoon via Pesticide Action Network

If you have a vegetable garden to share with us this month, add a link to your post via a comment below and I will then pop it onto the end of this post. Happy Gardening.

29 thoughts on “Let it Bee. In My Garden, January 2017”

  1. The importance of bees is something I have written about several times, we are fortunate that we have many in our garden and long may it last. Of course I am rather jealous of all your fabulous vegetables, in the depths of winter here and so nothing is happening in the vegetable garden, but we do have lots of ripe lemons on our trees which so far have not succumbed to the frosts of the past two nights, time to take the fruit off and wrap them up in their winter blankets! Wishing you a very happy and healthy 2017 xx

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    1. And all the best for the New Year to you too Susan. Yes, wrap those lemons before Jack Frost gets to them.
      I think I may have done a few posts on bees before too. Their decreasing numbers are a worry.

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  2. I love your description ‘decadent beauty’ for those beautiful voluptuous [my term 🙂 !] pregnant seed pods promising riches for the following year ! Oh I understand the importance of bees – just keep away from them somewhat as stinging me seems a favourite occupation for many . . . looking forwards to the recipes . . .

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    1. Seed pods fascinate me- watching their stages, the drying and spilling. Especially beautiful in the poppy seed. the bees always seem to favour one grandchild in particular, but then, he never wears shoes and seems to be everywhere at once.

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  3. Such a summer sensation and experience to enjoy. It is reminiscent of laying around the summer garden reading a book and enjoying orchestral bee busyness and smelling the pollens and honey. Stunning photography Francesca – thank you!

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  4. Your vege garden moonlights as a flower garden ♡
    Looking after the bees can be as simple of not mowing the lawn so often and/or leaving swathes of dandelion flowers untouched.
    Our yard, the entire village, is alive with the hum of bees, many of them native. We’re truly fortunate but many of us also understand the value of a bee friendly environment, for others it’s a benefit of benign neglect.

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  5. Bee-utiful post Francesca and love the photos. As you say, bees love wild and disordered in the garden. I started beekeeping last year and love having these little pollinators around 🙂

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  6. Thank you for this, Francesca. Although we’re currently experienced a fabled “January thaw”, our gardens are flooded as the rain cannot sink into the frozen earth. Seeing your lovely garden and its blooms is a reminder that this, too, shall pass.

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  7. I have a gardening question: my uncle tried to grow radishes (the red bulbs grown underground, I hope I have the correct word for them) from the seed and failed three times. Nothing materialised. He lives in Ljubljana, Slovenia, EU. It’s beautiful how you cooperate with nature. Is it called permaculture?

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    1. radishes are so easy to grow. I wonder what happened to your uncles seeds? Maybe the seeds were too old or it was the wrong season. I grow them every few weeks so that we have a perrenial supply ( except in winter). My garden is a bit like a permaculture garden these days.

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