Bee-Loved Plants & Facebook

I love Facebook. I’ve been working on a bibliography for the Lovatt Foundation in Kano, Nigeria, run by New Zealand poet and educator Fiona Lovatt, who’s been based in Kano for several years now. She’s exploring the local traditional bee-keeping practices but has only irregular access to a computer and a busy cell phone, dependent on solar power for charging. So I offered to help locate information.

It was fun tracking down the academic work. And I loved Professor Marla Spivak’s Ted talk Why bees are disappearing. The video version provides the best explanation of bee decline I’ve experienced, simple and compelling–

We’re kind of at a tipping point. We can’t really afford to lose that many more. We need to be really appreciative of all the beekeepers out there.

And of course it was great to hear her ending–

Plant flowers.

But, as I searched, I also really really liked finding beekeepers’ wisdom via Facebook and news of their immediate day-to-day experiences. And images like the one at the top which I think comes from Chile. That’s me in old age, I decided. My Facebook friends and I debated whether the bee-keeper’s trusty steed is a donkey, a mule, or a horse.

Here is this lovely woman again, in among the flowers, her hives on her back.

in among the flowers

From now on in this blog, I’ll refer more often to the Facebook info I find valuable.

The Year’s Last Bees?

Quinces. Waiting.

It’s autumn here. Native and exotic birds busy among the apple trees.The quinces are good this year and I planned to make quince paste over this long weekend, from my favorite Elizabeth David recipe. Many thanks to the bees for all their pollination help, six months ago.

There are still lots of bee-loved plants in the garden, even on the otherwise empty table where I kept the plants to sell. Just a couple of pots left, with straggly alyssum and basil fino verde plants that I wouldn’t even give away.

the almost denuded plant table

And occasionally a bee in the lavender.


Bumble bees a little more often. Also in the lavender. But soon they’ll all be gone, until spring.


I wanted to make the quince paste. I wanted to prepare the garden for winter. But I’m trying to complete a project. And I’m struggling. Sometimes with interruptions, like the City Council spraying old man’s beard nearby. With Roundup.

old man’s beard


This meant I had to leave, to work in the town library. The plants and the bees didn’t have that choice. Did the wind carry Roundup all over this hillside? I don’t know. Triumph spray; and Conquest for pasting on places where the weed was cut back. Battle-winner names.  I hate them.

I dream of bee colonies in our trees, love everything I read about apicentred tree hives, but I think this is the wrong place for them. Will think more fully about it when I’m up-to-date with everything else. Will that happen soon?