Children of the summer sun.

The design above shows an English formal garden with a honeybee skip. Just as important for our gardens and possibly for our survival as a species are the wild bees, or as the poet John Clare (1793 - 1864), called them, "Children of the summer sun"

'These children of the sun which summer brings
As pastoral minstrels in her merry train
Pipe rustic ballads upon busy wings
And glad the cotters' quiet toils again.......

I finally got around to doing some gardening this month; everything is in dire need of attention. The good news is the wildlife seems to be enjoying my tardiness. I came across a mound of mossy and grass, about the size of a football, at first I thought it was a bird’s nest on the ground and foolishly I picked it up. Immediately a swarm of bumbles flew out, naturally I tried to make good the damage I had done and in the few seconds available I managed to see the inside of the nest which seem to consist of many cells.

Despite many attempts to photograph the bees, I have only managed a few blurry attempts but if you look closely you can see what I believe to be a Carder Bee. Click on the photo above, you can see the blue/green fly, look to the left, behind the grass, can you see the little guy? It seems that they comb the moss and grass in order to make the nest, hence the name Carder Bee!

We also have another species of bee making use of the bee house. It looks like a Leaf Cutter Bee and if you look at the photo below you can see the tiny pieces of leaf placed in the bamboo canes.

Every year I try to hack back the Buddleia, it grows too big for my garden but I leave it alone whilst in flower as the butterflies love it. The Japanese Acer in the pot is a new acquisition bought at nearby Tatton Park Garden. I hope it will survive the winter outside, I have lined the pot with bubble wrap but am not sure what else to do other than placing it in a sheltered spot. The crab apples provide food for the birds over autumn and look more like cherries than apples when they ripen.

Last but not least, I have made a start on a new painting. It’s hard to fit in personal work whilst trying to keep on top of day to day “potboilers”, they sort of work that pays the bills like greeting cards etc. Goodness knows when I shall finish it but I feel so much better now I have made a start! I hope you all enjoy your summer too and thanks as always for visiting.

To find out more about bumblebees please visit The Bumblebee Conservation Trust.


  1. Love bees Valerie - great work as usual.

  2. ooo parallel lives Valerie - I was trying to photograph the myriad bees in my cornflowers today - it's impossible!
    My acres seem to survive with just a little loss of a few branches as long as I put them along my north facing wall - sounds odd but they seem to be sheltered from the frost there and it's against the house.
    Your painting looks superb - I'd love to see it step by step.

  3. I learned new things about bee's today. Silly me, thinking and bee, is a bee, is a bee. How untrue.

    Thank you for knowledge and beauty.

  4. I'm enjoying all the different bee people in my garden these days. That painting is wonderful... and, of course, Celtic knots and owl and trees... what else could one want? Hope you have plenty of time for that soon, cause I want to see the finished product!

  5. Valerie, thank you for introducing me to these new-to-me bee varieties!

    I do like the look of the painting that you've begun. Like an earlier commenter, I would love to see how the picture develops, if you'd be kind enough to let us peek over your shoulder every now and then.


  6. One of our neighbours began keeping honeybees this season. We have never had lovelier, healthier flowers!
    The garden buzzes.

  7. I loved seeing the finished Owl and the Pussycat in the last post.
    This new one looks like it is going to beautiful.
    Like you have enjoyed lots of insect life, the butterflies and moths and my favourite, the dragonfly. Not seen many ladybirds this year. Enjoyed reading about your bees.

  8. Your new painting looks to be exquisite. The Carder bee, I think I see (poem?), looks iridescent. I was weeding and disturbed a patch of bees not long ago. I think they might have been yellow jackets! Scary. I ran! I also see shamrock and coleus, I think, in that picture. Cheers!

  9. I love the little beehive design - it reminds me of the beautiful Elizabethan knot gardens we saw at Hatfield House on Saturday.

    You're right - a bit of tardiness brings in the wildlife, it's much better to find a carder bee in the lawn than have perfect green weed free carpet!


  10. Valerie, so nice to see another masterpiece in the works! This year, I purchased a beehive and set about learning all there is to know about honey bees. I have fallen in love with them! I don't really care if I ever get honey, it is enough just to see them flitting through the flowers.

  11. I know what you mean about the garden! Mine is getting way ahead of me as well. Good for you to post about the bees. We keep bees for the bee keeper up the road and have seen a tremendous improvement in our crops the past few years. Can't wait to see the finished painting.

  12. I managed to photograph a swarm of honey bees last week Valerie. I think you did pretty well at re-arranging that nest you inadvertently picked up - I am sure they will be getting on with their busy lives again by now.

  13. We have had lots of bees in the garden this year and I've never seen so many earwigs (yuck) but very few butterflies, dragonflies and ladybirds. Our buddleia collapsed under the weight of winter snow and snapped so we had to cut it right back - it has just begun to flower again:)

  14. So glad you are getting the chance to do some of your own work.
    Loved the pictures of your garden and the stories of the bees.
    We have escaped New York city for a few days --however there is torrential rain here

  15. How beautiful your new painting is already. There is a certain grace to unfinished work, especially when it has "good bones".
    A little green bee, that's new to me ('nother poem). I usually have the big mason bees in my garden, very black and fuzzy, but haven't seen them this year.
    What is your new painting intended for? - it is going to be stunning.

  16. Thanks for the post Valerie. Looking foward to your new painting. Hope you get time in between the potboilers to enjoy working on it!

  17. Love your new painting and look forward to its progress. Or should that be 'your' progress? So nice to see what's happening in your summer garden. My winter garden is thriving, bulbs flowering, but we have enough warmth during the day for the weeds to thrive.

  18. just delightful...

    i was so HAPPY to see you today at farmhouse kicthen, my friend

    i LOVE the last picture with the sketch of the owls...

    i so admire your talent

    happy to stop by today

    kary and teddy

  19. Thanks for your condolences Valerie. There is no bond like that between sisters and I'm sorry for your loss as well, even though it was years ago, the void will always be there.

  20. Hello, Valerie! What a gorgeous quilt. I love honey bees too. This year there seems to have been a return of these lovely little insects.

    I like to see their golden furred bodies covered with flower dust.

    You are not only a fabulous artist, but are a gifted writer, too.

  21. Valerie, your painting looks like it will be wonderful! I love seeing the bumblebees around my yard -- you're so lucky to have a nest of them in yours.

  22. Love the busy bees! Your art is amazing as always. Hope you're having a wonderful summer! :)

  23. Hello, acornmoon

    Your work is embraced in your gentleness.
    The internal vitality is just life.

    Have a good weekend.

    Greetings and hug.
    From Saga, Japan.
    ruma ❁