Blooming lovely

First crocus this year in garden

Here in this patch of East Devon, there was a sharp frost on the ground this January morning but as the sun began to rise, it soon disappeared leaving a beautiful sunny day. As the temperature rose, I looked across the garden to where Lizzie and her family reside in their beehive and there was a wonderful display of bees orienteering - getting to know where home is. Looking closer, I could even see one or two of the older bees bringing back yellow pollen. Sitting alongside a beehive, listening to the buzz of bees on a warm winter's day - perfect way to relax and enjoy the day.

Today has been blooming lovely. Having raked up a pile of leaves that I've been meaning to do for a few weeks now, something bright and very small caught my eye. Bending down to look in the grass, there in all its glory was this delicate crocus fully opened in a star shape making the most of the day's sunshine. It reminded me that spring will soon be here and jobs in the apiary will start to increase as the girls break out of their winter cluster and the colony starts to expand and another beekeeping year gets underway.

And what a perfect day to go and walk round a potential out-apiary location - yes, looking to expand my one beehive! I wanted to keep it local and just before Christmas I knocked on the door of a local landowner who was very favourable to the idea of having beehives. With wellies on and a jar of honey in my pocket, off I went to meet the family of Lee Ford, a 15 acre country estate near Budleigh Salterton. Walking the grounds, there were daffodils beginning to open their buds, with the odd yellow crocus here and there flowering. Mrs Lindsay-Fynn recalled the days when a beekeeper used to keep his beehives in the grounds many years ago and thought that their gardener would be delighted with bees returning to help pollinate the herbs, shrubs, fruit trees and all the other plants growing in and around the estate. Having walked the grounds, the place that best meets the criteria is the exact same spot as the previous beekeeper all those years ago. A perfect spot which I'm sure the next generation of Lizzie's family will enjoy.