Bee Palace

Christmas gift ideas for the colourful garden

December 1st, 2016

Brighten your garden(or someone else's)this Christmas (1)

Yes, we know the advent calendars have only just gone up, but as we’re into December proper we feel we can now utter the word ‘Christmas’…

Here’s a round up of some of our favourite ideas for Christmas gifts, all of which are likely to add a little contemporary and colourful style into your garden. Read the rest of this entry »

 

 

“The bees’ needs”

April 7th, 2016

We are very pleased to have embarked on some co-branding with Seedball which is part of Project Maya (their aim is to provide meadowland in urban spaces throughout the world! Inspiring!).

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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 »

 

 

Happy Christmas!

December 22nd, 2015

beepalace in ivy Christmas gift webbeepalace in ivy Christmas gift web

beepalace in ivy Christmas gift webIt’s been a strange year from the bees perspective! There they are working their socks off and producing a load of goodies for us humans and they read in the Bee Times that we have lifted restrictions on pesticides that have been linked to their “genocide”. Thanks a bunch! Then evidence emerges that even organic pesticides can be harmful to them! Good grief! What kind of world is this they wonder where insects that do so much good are treated with such distain! Then they look at the other Times and think goodness, it isn’t just us, they try and destroy each other too! I’m making light of some serious problems, but oft a true word said in jest!

Luckily the forces for hope and optimism are incredibly strong so we continue to do what we can to ensure humanity and common sense prevail.

This is the time of year when many, many people show their generous and caring side and we often enter the new year with a renewed desire to make changes to body size, fitness, general consumption and to the world. And what a glorious, fantastic world it is despite the challenges!

A lot of people will receive beepalaces for Christmas and maybe some of them possibly will read this!

If you have received a beepalace for Christmas then someone special thinks you are too and thinks or knows that you will appreciate one of the most amazing wonders of nature that can be found on your doorstep, as well as knowing you appreciate design and style!

Your beepalace will allow you to get very close to the fascinating world of the solitary bee – a bee that can be 80 times more productive than a honey bee, plus it doesn’t sting or swarm – a benign, hard working creature that we need to sustain our world.

We hope you enjoy your gift and that if you are unfamiliar with this aspect of the natural world you will be stimulated to find out more about it and to encourage the education of others. We hope also that you will use it as it is also intended, as an eye catching piece of garden architecture.

We will close for Christmas until mid January and would like to wish everyone a very  Merry Christmas and a Happy and Peaceful New Year!beepalace in ivy Christmas gift webbeepalace in ivy Christmas gift web

 

 

 

 

“Creativity + iterative development = innovation” – J Dyson

September 16th, 2015

Summer is still with us but the presence of Autumn is all around. The changing of the colours begins to mute the delightful backdrop of the South Downs. Mists but no mellow fruitfulness just yet. How lucky indeed to be able to enjoy this transition.

In a previous life I ran a commercial service based business, or should I say, I ran and ran and ran. I ran quite often just to stay in the same place. Nothing in commerce  stays at the same level. It either improves through action or deteriorates through lack of it. The “iterative” process of development is vital to success. So we are looking at ways of improving the beepalace. New ideas on how the nesting tubes are fixed and new ideas on materials, as well as new products. This should translate into modifications to the beepalace and innovations that will be of interest to current owners and future ones.

 

beepalaces on table - diameter considerations New potters providing terracotta sample

Above: technical work on the nesting tubes and a sample beepalace in terracotta.

At a recent event where we were displaying the beepalace I was asked by a very knowledgeable wild life expert how the show was going. Not bad, I said, I’m talking to a lot of people but we haven’t sold that many beepalaces. Think of all the good you are doing, he replied. Oh yes, I said, we’ll have a great mailing list by the end of the day. No, not that he said, think of all the people you are educating about how important solitary bees are as pollinators. Talk about solitary! Sometimes the commercial and higher minded edges can blur. A salutary lesson!

In this blog, it isn’t appropriate to dwell, pontificate, make judgements on the plight of the thousands of refugees fleeing their homes and countries. Whilst I count myself very fortunate not to be one of them I hope I will do enough to make some difference to some of them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“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!

 

 

Alitex and the beepalace – creating a link…

March 20th, 2015

Early in the year things are quiet on the nesting front and whilst we are busy preparing the new stock for the Spring, we much prefer the warm weather and the buzz of the bees. Even to-day when we were expecting the solar eclipse and what an amazing experience that would be – it was just another grey overcast day!

Our new nesting tubes have arrived and as well as providing a better combination of tube sizes for bees to chose from they allow us to pack the beepalaces more tightly and they look even better!

The reaction we have had from people seeing the beepalaces has been fantastic. There is a huge amount of work to be done to explain the importance of solitary bees to our food supplies and our general well being and the beepalace is a wonderful vehicle to help do this.

We were particularly pleased when Alitex (www.alitex.co.uk), a very established maker of Conservatories and Greenhouses expressed interest in having one in their garden. Alitex, a near neighbour of the beepalace,based just outside Petersfield have an outstanding reputation and work closely with The National Trust and The Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew so we are extremely chuffed that they are going to blog about the beepalace they have recently hung up. We have given it a head start by inserting some full nesting tubes from last year – in a month or two we should see some action!

 

2015 beepalace and Alitex

This is a picture of Sam Duke from Alitex taking the first picture of their new beepalace – she will be blogging and tweeting about their experience of it. Thanks Sam!

Thanks also to Mandy at Wild Damson in Petersfield (www.wilddamsom.co.uk) for suggesting we contacted Alitex and also for letting us have some space for the beepalace in her incredibly busy shop.

The new colours should be arriving next week just in time for the Garden Shows we are attending, the first one being at Firle Place, Firle, near Lewes BN8 6LP 24 – 26th April. Its a ovely part of the country with a great pub and superb walks – in case you want a change from looking at gardening products. Charleston House, home and retreat to some of the “Bloomsbury Set” is a short distance away – in case you want a change from the pub and walking.

Chris Evans was talking about solitary bees on his BBC2 morning show recently – solitary bees will be coming out of the woodwork!! Yes, quite literally!

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

 

Beepalace becomes a home to some solitary bees – a great gift for Father’s Day!

June 5th, 2014

Green beepalace with nesting bees

Red mason bees nest in a green beepalace. The full tubes contain up to 10 larvae making this a home to about 170 solitary bees (it takes approx 250 to pollinate an acre of orchard!)

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