news from the garden


Things are taking shape in the garden.  Our lasagna bed is slowly filling with herbs and flowers and above is a photo of a selection of flowers planted to attract beneficial insects.    The straw bales are coming along, a bit slower than I hoped but things are growing.


The bigger news is the addition of honeybees to our backyard.  We were beekeepers when we lived in Nashville and when we packed up to move to Williamsburg, we brought all of our woodenware and equipment.  One of the first things we did when we unpacked was to join the Colonial Beekeepers Association.


One of the members of the association arranged to pick up packages with marked queens from Mann Lake.  After picking up our bees, Darry put them into the hive and they began foraging immediately.


A hive inspection revealed that they are gathering nectar as well.  The white spot in each of the cells is actually the reflection of sunlight on the surface of the nectar curing and once it is ready, the bees will cap each cell.


As we ventured further into the hive, we noticed lots of activity and randomly placed cells between two frames that is commonly referred to as brace comb.


As we pulled frames out, we found capped brood and larvae and of course, her majesty, the queen.  Can’t figure out which one she is-that big blue dot should make it obvious.


The activity level here is typical of a hive and it quickly explains the origins of the phrase, “busy as a bee” because they never stop moving.


Even though they are actively foraging, they still need a little help from us.  Because they have nothing stored in the hive, we give them sugar syrup so that they can build a reserve of syrup to feed themselves.  The first year is a critical time for a new colony and taking honey from them is not an option this year.  If all goes well, we will be able to harvest honey in year two.


The bees are big on building brace comb and once again, they built some in the feeder box.


Bees aren’t the only new addition to our garden.  We also added a flock of chickens.  Golden Laced Wyandottes are beautiful birds and we are excited to have them.


These girls are growing quickly and they are beginning to get their adult feathers.


And they are also sprouting tail feathers and the beginning of their combs.  When they are living outdoors in the coop, we plan to use the chickens to help us control small hive beetles in the bee hive.

IMG_3621Check back to see the progress of our girls, meaning the chickens and the bees!

6 thoughts on “news from the garden

  1. Some super photos and information.
    I am here in central England, but was in your part of the world:
    While I was there I was fascinated by a plant called – I think – cockscomb.
    Do you know it? Grow it?
    Any information about it?


    1. Hello! I am familiar with cockscomb. It is a variety of celosia and I have grown it in the past. Currently, I have a different variety, a plumed variety. They are annuals and often reseed freely and may attract beneficial insects to the garden. If you are wanting them for your garden, seed companies and garden centers here carry seeds and plants and I am certain you should be able to find the seeds on the internet.


      1. That’s great. We actually bought a packet of seed from the shop at Monticello.
        Planted with some trepidation, but the seedlings have burst into super growth. Looking forward to seeing the blooms and the critters it attracts.
        Great information, thanks!


      2. Monticello-I actually live in Williamsburg, Virginia and it is on my list of places to visit! Good luck with the plants and be sure to contact me if you need any other info.


      3. I’m from good old Staffordshire (English Midlands) we were on an “American heritage” holiday. visited Historic Williamsburg too.
        A super tour with some splendid fellow travellers.
        Entirely possible we passed each other in the streets I guess.


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