It’s the Half Term holiday and we are hoping to spend some good time in the garden. We’ve got courses coming up and are pleased to have been invited to speak about bees at the Country Living Spring Fair next month.
Buds, bulbs, blossom & bees…
I know I’m not the only one who is very confused with the weather recently; one day I’m watching the bees fly and counting the daisies on the lawn, then the next day it’s torrential rain and winds of 80mph! Fortunately, here at Hen Corner, whilst we are very close to the River Thames, we haven’t been affected by the nearby floods and our corner plot seems to have shelter on most sides, which is a huge relief as I’ve been kept awake at night by the noisy wind, worrying that a beehive might be blown over….
I need to keep reminding myself that it’s only February; yes, my teenage son is wearing shorts and we’ve had some mild sunny days, but we haven’t actually had winter yet. I’d really like to get it over and done with, please. You see the plants and trees need a good cold period of dormancy to prepare for a new fruitful season. With trees blossoming early, the birds and the bees respond, but a late winter (remember the snow in April last year?) can damage flowers and young crops, which affects the harvest, and our poor bees miss out on vital pollen and nectar as it could be too cold to fly when it’s most needed. Add in the challenges of a low pollination rate and you’ll find I’m talking like a farmer, not a London mum!
TLC for the trees…
We took advantage of a recent dry day by spraying our fruit trees and bushes with Winter Tree Wash. We try to do this several times during the dormant winter months, Ahem see above, to help kill off any nasties that might be hiding in nooks and crannies… It’s nice and natural and helps keep trees in tip top condition.
Looking back to last year, whilst we had loads of beautiful blossom on our flat Italian peach tree (the peaches are flat, not the tree!), we saw no fruit due to peach leaf curl, this is caused by a fungal infection where the spores are transmitted through wet, windy weather. The suggested solution to protect trees of this family is to build a waterproof shelter using polythene stretched over a frame that covers the tree. I was really quite pleased with my shelter, made using an old towel ladder, but the polythene sheeting was no match for last weeks wind, and have you noticed the rain???
Country Living Spring Fair 2014
We are really pleased to have been invited to do a series of talks about bees in the Spring Garden at this year’s Spring Fair run by Country Living magazine. The topics are:
Who is in the hive? Explaining the structure of a honey bee colony, looking at the nest, the castes, the life-cycle, and roles of each bee.
The full programme for all the talks in the Spring Garden can be found here and show tickets can be bought here.
Coming up at the Corner…
This year we have planned courses right throughout 2014 giving everyone the opportunity for ‘A little bit of country life in London’. Our next courses, on Saturdays 22nd February and 5th April, are the first of our family sessions where children and their grown ups can hug a hen and consider if chicken keeping would work for them.
Family Feathers and Fun includes all the information of our Urban Hens course but also provides treats and craft activities for our younger guests.
Book of the Blog Post:
A Squash and A Squeeze
By Julia Donaldson
I love this book that encourages us to appreciate all that we have around us; a children’s classic with a powerful message!
It also reminds me of the times our chickens hop through an open door into our house, it’s always so funny…
This book is available with many of our other favourites books from the Hen Corner Shop!
- After our Toast and Marmalade course, London blogger Chiswick Mum wrote this great review
- A cheeky squirrel sneaked into one of the Eglus looking for a corn snack and couldn’t find its way out!
- Poor Ascot is not very well, I think it’s Oral Canker, I hope she gets better soon…
Jobs for next week:
- Do some spring cleaning in the garden
- Spend more time building our new website
- Get ready for our Family Chicken Keeping Course
Join us on the Journey!