Bee Palace

“The flash of a red mason bee lights up a grey spring”.

June 20th, 2016

Jonathan Tulloch writing in The Times (30/06/2016) lavished praise on the red mason bee when he chose it as the one animal he would nominate for a berth on the ark! Given the weather we have had recently, this may not be far from the truth!

Read the rest of this entry »

 

 

Brian, our very popular Potter from Stoke…

February 22nd, 2016

DG Iphone photos 376

We published this picture of Brian, our Potter, at his workshop in Stoke on Trent on our Facebook page and got a lot of “likes”. Everyone likes a happy face! He’s a fantastic potter running a family business with a real passion for producing good pottery. Read the rest of this entry »

 

 

“Be in your pleasures like the flowers and the bees…”

July 31st, 2015

It feels like the summer is over and it is only the end of July. Such is the British climate. But it has been a great year for our bees so far and the solitary bee seems to have been very active from what we have seen and heard.

Probably the worst thing to happen for pollinators in general recently is the lifting of the ban on using neonicotinoids to spray Rapeseed. This has been done against the advice of the experts and just as Parliament closed for the summer. A bit cynical! A lot of people are very angry and upset by this. No doubt David Cameron and Liz Truss (Environment Minister) will reflect on this over the summer depending upon the back lash; but to say we have to “follow the science” when the anecdotal evidence seems so clear that harmful sprays are devastating to essential pollinators is a tad disingenuous!  I’ve said before that this will run and run.I wouldn’t want the farmers livelihoods undermined- there must be a middle way.

We have had a lot of very positive and encouraging feedback from beepalace owners. Not everyone has had success but a large number have. We say to those who haven’t that it can take a year for the bees to start nesting but also check the beepalace is in an optimal position – south facing and 4 to 6 feet from the ground. Plant lots of pollinator friendly herbs and flowers and be patient!

The beepalace will be very busy towards the end of the year when we will be attending Fairs at The Weald and Downland Open Air Museum, Stansted Park, The Chelsea Physic Garden and Petersfield. If you follow us on Facebook you can track our progress.

Here are some recent images of beepalace action – if you haven’t watched these solitary bees making their nests you are missing something quite wonderful!

Beepalace 2015 July blog DG_1563

A leafcutter bee finishes off its nest with some neatly cut roseleaf.

Beepalace 2015 July blog DG_1565

A lime beepalace occupied by mason bees.

 

Oh by the way it was Kahlil Gibran quoted in the header.

Thanks for reading this.

 

 

 

 

A quiet revolution for craftsmen…

May 18th, 2015

Spring has been a little hit and miss but we have seen very high levels of activity in the garden. When we have learnt how to post a video we will share some very lively clips! Can anyone help? It’s an age thing!

We attended the Firle Garden Show since I wrote here last. It was very disappointing. Hidden away in a cavernous marquee with a mish mash of stalls it isn’t an experience we want to repeat. All the stallholders were good company but the crowds we were expecting did not materialise. A great shame as Firle is such a lovely spot. Nevertheless two nights at The Rose Cottage Inn, Alciston went some way to make up for it, tho Nicks stay at the Hilton, Eastbourne wasn’t quite the Park Lane experience he had been hoping for!

The title of this piece is taken from an article by Luke Johnson (serial entrepreneur) in the Sunday Times. He talks about old craft skills being revived in Britain and “a hunger for real products and a rejection of a disposable culture”. We wholeheartedly support this. The beepalace is made in Stoke-on-Trent and is entirely made in England. It should last a lifetime (unless dropped from a height). It comes at a cost because a lot of time goes into making one. From the model and moulds required for it to be slip cast and glazed to it being hand assembled. It is time consuming and we have sourced what we think are the best quality materials (Kew Gardens share the same nesting tube maker that we use).

Britain has a long tradition for making quality goods. Things that are thought through and designed to look beautiful and to last. We are really proud to be part of this movement.

You may have seen Nick driving our natty van around the Hampshire highways and bye ways – if you see it be sure to give him a toot – that should keep him awake!

Beepalace blog May 15

There are some new colours we have added to the range of beepalaces which we hope will go with most types of outdoor spaces. Sage and Ochre are proving very popular.2015 beepalace Blog May 15Our next Garden Show is at Stansted Park 5-7 June. We hope we might see you there!

 

 

Getting ready for a busy year…..

February 5th, 2015

Happy new year!! It’s never too late!

The beepalace team are planning a busy and exciting 2015.

Nick and family are back from Oz from where he posted some nice pics on Twitter. We were in India where the only reference to bees we saw was that the Hindu god of love is always accompanied by parrots, bees and a warm breeze.

But reading a little bit about bees in India it comes as no surprise that they are under threat. The Times of India reported a while ago that the decline in bee activity might be a worrying result of mobile phone usage :

“Frighteningly for India, the crisis (in the decline of the bee population) may now just be hitting home. Kerala has recorded a similar phenomenon (loss of bees), as have other parts of the country. But what’s causing this bizarre natural phenomenon could have something to do with the way you talk. Researchers investigating the trend say radio frequency radiation RFR) emitted by mobile phones and towers is the real culprit.” 

Also, the Indian rock honey bee, the largest honey bee in the world, is reportedly in decline. These bees are particularly sensitive to air and noise pollution, so their decline can be seen as another casualty of modern living. But at least there is research into these issues so we can hope that there will be solutions forthcoming.

The beginning of the year is a time to check stock and prepare for the Spring. Brian, our amazing Potter from Stoke is preparing some new samples of green and yellows and we are also looking at an aubergine glaze. We hope to have some more great colours to offer customers this year.

We are also going to provide a slightly wider range of nesting tubes in each beepalace. We hope this will encourage more nesting activity and we can continue to monitor the success rates for various tube diameters in order to continue to provide the best nesting place for solitary bees.

We are greatly looking forward to a busier fair schedule in 2015 that currently includes:

Firle Place (April 24-26) – at the foot of the South Downs near the fascinating Charleston House, home to some of the Bloomsbury set

Stansted Park (June 5-7)

Loseley Park (July 24-26 July) – just south of Guidlford on the A3

Weald and Downland Open Air Museum (14-15 November) – a brilliant place for a day out

Stansted Park Christmas Fair (November 21 -22)

Petersfield Christmas Fair (December 6)

Plus we hope to be at Longstock again and at South Harting festivities and a few more venues to be announced.

Whilst the bees are sleeping the birds are feeding – here are some outside the beepalace offices yesterday:

 

beepalace head office birds feeding feb 2015

 

 

 

Weald and Downland Open Air Museum Autumn Countryside Show

October 16th, 2014

We had a stall last weekend at the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum.  An army of volunteers make this place a proper living museum. Amongst displays of falconry, basket weaving, wood carving etc all sorts of locally sourced products are available. The weather wasn’t very kind but a good number started their Christmas shopping early. Lots of lovely people came and we sold a good number of Beepalaces. Here’s a photo of Nick smiling through a crowd of happy shoppers.

Weald and Downland Open Air Museum Autumn Countryside Show 2014

Weald and Downland Open Air Museum Autumn Countryside Show 2014

Many glowing comments on the shape and design of the Beepalace were made. I’ll show a photo of the original concept in our blog shortly. The transformation is quite something. It did take a few years and the help of a great Product Designer – Imogen Lawson-Evans.

We will be attending a couple of Christmas markets in November, The Weald and Downland (15th and 16th November) and Stansted Park (22nd and 23rd November).

 

 

Longstock Plant and Gift Fair in aid of North Hampshire Medical Fund

September 8th, 2014

Beepalace Longstock Plant and Gift Fair DG 2014_070914_7095 Beepalace Longstock Plant and Gift Fair DG 2014_070914_7089

We attended the Longstock Plant and Gift Fair near Stockbridge, Hampshire. Set in the magnificent grounds originally owned by the eponymous John Lewis we had a great day. The sun shone and everyone seemed to be enjoying themselves. Our day started with a wrestling match against an old style gazebo. Nick and I managed to win although the gazebo had some good moves.

The Longstock Plant and Gift Fair (now in its seventh year I think) is very popular for plant buyers and local nurseries provide a lot of the colour. Our neighbour at the event has a half acre nursery (that is small) and attends 50 Fairs a year!)  A band played what seemed like an 8 hour set of popular ballads and the queue for hog roast never seemed to get any shorter.

The event was really well organised and is a great day out. There is an excellent café run by Waitrose and a Farm Shop. The Water Gardens are worth a visit tho we didn’t make it there  so busy were we describing the life cycle of solitary bees.

We met a lot of lovely people a good number of whom bought Beepalaces (Dark Green was the favourite colour) and even more were quite gushing about the attractiveness of the design – all very encouraging. Beepalace Longstock Plant and Gift Fair DG 2014_070914_7092

Here are some pics of the day.

 

Our next big day out is at the Weald and Down Museum near Goodwood on the 11th and 12th October.

 

 

 

 

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