Bee Green New Year!

Sunrise over the nature reserve

Happy New Year Bee greeners! May it be filled with lots of sunshine!

After such a wet year in 2012 our nature reserve is still very water logged, we are on clay ground, so are wet under foot at the best of times. All the rain has done wonders for the willows, but not much else.

Our team veg patch yield was down dramatically from 2011, although having the poly tunnel was a real bonus, we were still picking tomatoes in November!

Despite the bad weather our team grow the tallest sunflower and biggest pumpkin’ competitions went ahead. With Graham Goodger victorious in winning the sunflower cup and Aaron Harcom ( despite the best efforts of the slugs) grew an enormous pumpkin plant that grew up into the hedge! The cups were awarded at our annual awards ceremony at Christmas.

The birds life around the nature reserve is going strong as ever. We have a pair of bullfinch that spend alot of time on the bird table, as well as a little flock of long tailed tits. We have also spotted a large flock of around 200 starlings, which is excellent considering these beautiful birds are in decline.

Long tailed tit

For a Christmas present I have been enrolled on a bee keeping course, which is very exciting! I’m very much hoping that this will mean we can get a hive or two for the nature reserve.

We’d love to experiment with strip planting Bee forage, so they have a supply of nectar and pollen rich plants all season.

This will also have the added benefit of feeding the birds and voles for the winter as we’d leave the seed heads in the field.

We had a rare treat back in December, a beautiful dog fox trotted right past the office – we are lucky enough that our office looks out over the nature reserve, so we regularly spot flocks of redwing, starling & finches feeding and a rabbit or two hoping along the hedge  line, But it’s rare to see a fox out in the open.

We were slightly nervous that he made his was in the direction of peckingham palace ( The home of Posh, Pecks and Elton the chickens!!) .

But he found his dinner elsewhere!

Plans for this year include more tree planting, willows to create a screen around our covered swing seat area, ash, oak and poplar to create a mini woodland.

As well as more fruit and nut trees in the nature reserve.

The edible hedging we planted in the kids garden is doing really well, and will hopefully bare fruit in the summer.

Graham will make some more of his amazing painted signs, to show what the plants are, creating a little interactive pick your own trail.

In the butterfly meadow we’ll plant hop plants, the flowers of the hop plant are a favourite with comma butterflies

Bee Forage – Phacelia

Getting to the winter solstice on 21st Dec marks a turning point for me, it signals a move towards Spring, although my Gran reminded me of an old saying As the day’s get longer, the cold gets stronger’! Which is usually true for Jan and Feb, so best not pack away the woolly jumpers just yet!

Especially in cold weather don’t forget to feed the birds, and pop out fresh water for them.

To make a quick and easy bird feeder, take a lolly stick and make a hole through one end, tie on a piece of string.

Then take a yoghurt pot, pour in any fat from meat cooking pans or melted lard.

Whilst still warm sprinkle in a handful of bird seed. Push the lolly stick into the pot, string at the top.

Pop into the fridge until set, slide the fat and seed lolly’ out of the pot and hang on your bird table. Perfect!

Thanks for reading.

Charlotte x