Let There Bee Lessons

There are creatures of various sorts that visit the Fairegarden.

But one has to get close to really see them.

Really close, and it is best to get into a comfortable position for the creatures are quick moving and sometimes elusive.

So it was on a somewhat chilly, early May morning that the bees visiting the Allium schubertii were flying slowly enough to be studied at length by reclining humans.

The timing of the visit was especially fortuitous since just the day before daughter Semi,her son LTB and I had been to a plant and craft sale where we saw a woman selling home grown honey. She had a display of the hive with some honeycomb bits and the process of collecting the sweet goo was illustrated well on a posterboard. LTB was fascinated and asked several questions about the whole thing. “How do you get the honey out of the bees?”, he asked.

It was explained that rather than like milking a cow, the honey was collected after the bees had deposited it, but I am no expert on this and neither is Semi. We may have done a poor job of describing how this happens, for we really don’t know ourselves, but stressed the important point that honey comes from bees. That was enough to pique his interest and to plant the seed of excitement when he noticed the bees on the flowers in the knot garden the next day.

I had not noticed the insects, focusing the camera on him sitting in various locations in the garden. The identification of these pollinators as honeybees is merely a guess, but that presented itself as a teaching moment relating to the honey seen the day before.

There was a discussion about how at the same time the bee was drinking nectar from which honey would be manufactured in his body, pollen was being collected in bags on his legs to help seed formation for the flowers. LTB knew about pollen from watching The Bee Movie with Jerry Seinfeld. He liked the name Pollen Jockeys, and so do I.

After some time had passed, class was dismissed and we continued around the garden, with an eye out for photo ops.

Ah, look at this!


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17 Responses to Let There Bee Lessons

  1. sequoiagardens says:

    Ah, lovely. At about his age I discovered social insects and they are still to me one of the most fascinating things in our fascinating world… in fact for a few years I thought I would study life sciences ‘one day when I was big’

    Hi Jack, so nice to see you here. Thanks for adding to the conversation. These insects are fascinating to most gardeners and farmers for the good work they do. Maybe LTB will study science, his mother did.

  2. gittan says:

    Lovely story and great pictures Frances! You’re such a good photographer in the garden / Kram gittan

    Hi Gittan, so nice to see you here, and thanks.

  3. Carol says:

    Secret learning going in a garden. I love when kids ask questions like that. It makes me go look things up!

    Hi Carol. I should have looked it up, but since he is only five, the answer might be too confusing. He was confused enough about the honeycomb. The whole thing is pretty miraculous when you think about it. I will look it up, though, and try to simply the answer for him. Thanks for the idea.

  4. Layanee says:

    Sometimes there are no coincidences in life it just requires observation. What fun to have your grandson enjoying the garden with such a keen eye. Go, Frances. I do think he looks somewhat like you. That is a good thing.

    Hi Layanee, thanks. I agree about the coincidences and timing of things. It seems to happy all the time. We do remark about it, often. LTB has a lot of my personality in him, a constant source of laughter for Semi when the grandson and GG are having arguments about things. We are both always right! HA

  5. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    You should have told him the truth about that honey…Fairies milk those bees of course. 😉 What fun to have your sweet Grand in the garden. He is growing up right before our eyes.
    Have a great weekend.

    Hi Lisa, thanks. I never thought of that answer, but it is a good one! We do love watching the kids grow up, it happens so fast! You too have a wonderful weekend!

  6. Robin Ripley says:

    What a wonderful example of a teachable moment in the garden. More research w/the boy is in order! What fun!

    Thanks, Robin. The plan is for us to learn about bees and honey together. It will be fun.

  7. Sheila Read says:

    Wonderful photos of the bees at work. And the ladybug – Wow. Always such a pleasure to visit your garden!

    What kind of camera do you have? I am beginning to research cameras, with the hope of buying a new one in the next few months.

    Thanks Sheila. I have two cameras, both Canons. The one I use for nearly all of the photos shown on the blog is the Canon Powershot AS720 IS. I am a point and shoot gal, on auto, with most shots using the macro function. Experience has shown me when the light is best, etc. I take hundreds of shots to get one or two, lest you think otherwise. I also have a Canon SX1 IS that has a 20x zoom. I use it for long views and bird shots, also on auto. Good luck with your search!

  8. Leslie says:

    How wonderful to teach LTB about bees…so he can respect them and not fear them as so many do. He is a lucky boy.

    Thanks Leslie. We agree, it is important that he see the bees as friends, not foes.

  9. Darla says:

    Beautiful photos and a great question from LTB. On another note, do you remember the post you did on what happens to a blog after someone dies? Well today it was reported to me that Rain Gardener passed away and I have been thinking of her and her blog with your blog post in the back of my mind…sigh I just felt like I wanted to share this with you Ms. Frances. I have an address posted for the family. God Bless.

    Dear Darla, thank you for sharing that. I am so sorry to hear of the loss of Rain Gardener. We garden bloggers are like a family, and mourn the death with great sadness.

  10. marilyn says:

    How do you get bees to relocate I have some nesting uder the eves of the shed I would rather were in the garden.

    Hi Marilyn, thanks for visiting. I do not know how to relocate bees. That seems like a job for a professional. Perhaps the County Extension office can lead you to the right person to call.

  11. Hi Frances,
    Beautiful photos! How blessed you are to be sharing nature with your Grandson, What a gift!
    I can’t wait for my turn with Grands.
    If I am learning one thing in this new blogging adventure, it is to be ready with camera…today I posted a shot of a spider I would have missed if I had to run to the house for my camera. Does someone know what kind of spider it is? Thanks!

    Thanks Karen. We are both lucky to be able to spend quality time in the garden together, teaching each other. I am not good with spider identification at all, but do hope someone out there can help you. There are also websites that can help. Good luck!

  12. What special times you & LTB share! He will remember them always, even if he doesn’t remember the specifics. Maybe he’ll want to keep bees when he grows up. The more you learn about bees, the more you discover how fascinating they are.

    Hi MMD, thanks. LTB is very interested in nature, I am happy to say. Learning is always good, no matter the subject.

  13. Lola says:

    LTB & his Pollen Jockeys, I love it. I too have been sitting, resting while gardening, watching the little wasps on my corn. It’s amazing. I like to observe the pollinators while they work.

    Hi Lola, thanks. It is fun and entertaining to watch the pollinators do their work.

  14. commonweeder says:

    What beautiful photos! Of blooms, bees and boy. I’m glad you noticed and mentioned the pollen baskets on the bee’s knees. Bees are important for two reasons – pollinating first, and sweet honey second. I planted alliums last fall but I don’t think I chose a schubertii – but I will get some.

    HI Pat, thanks. Bees are indeed crucial to human life and nature. Alliums are wonderful, I never realized, or even saw the bees on the schubertiis until LTB pointed them out. These Alliums are so interesting, even just one is a focal point.

  15. Alistair says:

    Hi Frances, You really do take terrific pictures. Photo ops, yes I like that, I have to learn not to be so lazy with the camera. Pollen Jockeys, I like even better.

    Thanks Alistair. I, too, often forget to take the camera along when the garden is perused. One never knows what might turn up!

  16. Rose says:

    A delightful post, Frances; the photo of LTB is great! Children have a way of helping us see things with a different eye. I invited my granddaughter and youngest grandson over last night to help me plant flowers, but things soon took a different course. Rather than looking at bees, they found a baby bird near a tree trying to fly. Instead of helping me plant, they spent the rest of the evening digging for worms to feed it:)

    Thanks Rose. I am so happy to hear of your grands trying to help the baby bird have food. You must have enjoyed that so much! The little ones have minds of their own, for sure, and come up with excellent ideas, most of the time.

  17. Jayne says:

    You and your Grandson are lucky to have each other – it is how we make the world a better place!

    Hi Jayne, thank you. We are indeed very very lucky to see each other often. He makes my world a better place.

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