Saturday, 2 May 2009


The drone and fizz of busy bees has been quite deafening in the garden today. Good news for pollination, which in turn means good news for fruit set in the orchard. There's certainly plenty of blossom this year, and with predictions of a warm, dry Summer ahead (it says so in the Leicester Mercury, so it must be true!) things are looking good for the first truly 'Vintage' year for cidermaking since we started.

The short video above shows activity around the Bee Log we cobbled together last year. It's a slightly modified version of the bamboo cane boxes you can buy at garden centres, designed to act as nesting sites for solitary bees. We're not short of bees, the stone wall adjacent to our garden is littered with nooks and crannies occupied by all manner of insects and birds, but a few more crannies never went amiss. I wasn't sure whether hanging a bit of tree trunk on the wall would prove to be attractive to solitary bees, but as you can see, they appear to love it.

Talking of insects, the dreaded Rosy Apple Aphid has re-appeared on one or two of the cider apple trees. We can handle the regular green Aphids, but these nasty pests can do very serious damage if left to get out of control. The one tree which became infested last year had it's growth completely checked, and is now the smallest, runtiest tree in the orchard. I've squished the blighters where appropriate, and removed leaves in some cases, so hopefully we've nipped this problem in the bud, but vigilance is the key word here. As Shaw Taylor of Police Five used to say, 'Keep 'em Peeled'.

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