It’s all about The Birds and The Bees !

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The apiary in Saltwell Park is inside the “Bird Feeding Area” . I found out last week that there used to be a giant draughts board marked out here. We’ll have to look into the archives and see if we can find any images of it in use.

It was then turned over to use as a garden with bird feeders. The end wooden wall on the right of the image above has peep holes at various heights to form a hide. In front of it hang various bird feeders which are regularly filled by Eveline, so birds are attracted there year round and can be watched by folk of all ages.

Saltwell Park Volunteer Gardeners and Friends of Saltwell Park planted up the area several years ago,  and Thrive took over maintenance, but it has fallen into a neglected state since Thrive funding was cut and they were no longer able to stay here.

The insect mesh around the hives is to lift the bees above head height when the are foraging, meaning volunteers can come and feed birds and garden without always having to suit up.

We’ve been restoring this area, taking out overgrown ash trees and non productive weeds, relieving bee friendly plants which have been smothered by more aggressive species. Helpers from our club and The Church of The Latterday Saints regularly maintain the area now.

Having acquired a hosepipe, we can now water everything – at last. Members are donating plants, and a planting plan is now worked out to provide forage year round.

We will have examples of bee friendly plants and trees, with advice from Al Robinson of Honest Graft,  which may also just be delicious for people !

The idea is to have information available to inspire residents and park visitors to plant in their own surroundings, no matter how small. We hope it will also be able to show hive inspections live. Watch this space !

As you may have noticed Keith , our Secretary, is our go to guy for inventing, building and repurposing things, to save the club money and cut down on waste.

He and his grandson Ethan came over yesterday and did an amazing amount of work. We needed to make the inner enclosure larger so that the bees are not quite so shaded, and to make it accessible for wheelchair users and school parties. Looks like there will be a bit more clearing work to do on the gravel, but we are nearly there !

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