Wednesday, February 24, 2010

1st Anniversary Post-How Sweet It Is...

a worker bee gives me a look...
scraping the comb for a taste!
the interior of the strong hive
healthy worker Bees on a frame of golden honey
the top of the hive box in the Sunshine
A year ago, I was searching the Internet for specific information on rare Convallarias (lily of the Valley) When I stumbled on an amazing garden /design/horticultural blog called "Growing with Plants". I knew what blogs were, but had given them very little attention, let alone time. I assumed that blogs were full of inane personal detritus that would be of little interest to me. What I had found was a beautifully focused journal on rare plants and cool greenhouse gardening, along with the strong, justified personality of the creator, Matt Mattus. I read the blog I had accidentally found, then cruised through the broad spectrum of his other blog posts. My heart was like opening my first book as a child, or a marvelous birthday gift I didn't know I needed. I searched other garden blog links, and realized that I too could document my gardening life and share it with others who share my love and passion for the natural world and great garden design. That first day, I read many,many garden blogs, primarily on Blotanical "where garden blogs bloom" a wonderful garden blog clearing house...(thanks Stuart!) At the end of that day, a year ago, I created Green Mansions Compost, and published my first post. Through the vehicle of the garden blog, I have met many, many interesting,creative and dedicated gardeners. They have shared a part of their lives that we would never get to see, let alone comment and get feed back from. I would like to thank all of you who share your gardening/design world with all of us, it has been a pleasure to share this with you. I was voted most popular Kansas garden blog this past year, 2009-to my total surprise! and I hope I've inspired some other people as I've been by the many gardeners I now would consider my friends, my fellow garden bloggers...thank you!

A few weeks ago, I took my Bee hives apart, reversed them, so their food was closer to the wintering cluster of Bees. It was freezing- 17 degrees in the Sunshine, but too cold to pull out the honey frames and take a critical look at the bees and hive. The other day, the temperature went up enough were I felt it was safe to smoke the hives, and take a good look-see. The weaker of the two hives was low on honey stores, and I made some sugar syrup to feed the bees with a tray feeder. The stronger of the two hives was bustling with activity, and when I pulled out the first frame, it gleamed with golden honey. Now, last fall, I knew I had a surplus of about fifty pounds of pure honey, but I felt like I should leave this on the hive to get my hive through the cold upcoming Winter. There should have been enough in the lower frames for the Bees to live off of, but I didn't want to be greedy! When I found out that the Bees had not really eaten this surplus honey, I ran back to the house to collect enough of my golden booty to sample and eat on toast. The Bees were generous with me, and paid me little attention as I scraped a cup or so into a jadite dish, wax and all. The wax is so fresh and pure, it melts in your mouth, or on a hot piece of toast! All I can say is the taste is fantastic, slightly citrus in it's finish, and I don't think I'll ever taste honey that good again! Most likely my honey is white clover and wildflower. Every season, the honey will reflect the specific nectar that is available to the Bees. I'm starting many Alclepias speciosa seedlings, (fragrant Milkweed) the special honey is highly sought after and sweet smelling...I can't wait!


  1. Dear Brian, Happy Blogiversary! I love your blog - your stories, pictures and, of course, your blog's wonderful header picture. I'm glad I found you at Blotanical.
    I like when you tell us about bees. I used to help my uncle to collect frames, and I love fresh wax. Nothing could taste better than fresh honey! Linden honey is my favorite. Unfortunately, I never found it in the U.S.
    I have several Milkweed plants growing in my garden from your seeds. Thank you so much!!!

  2. i'm very interested in beekeeping, as a hobby.
    a very interesting, relaxing, and rewarding (a jar of honey!!) hobby it is...

  3. I hope to be starting a few hives this spring when I finally finish getting the edible garden built and planted.

  4. Happy belated Blogaversary.
    Isn't Blotanical a wonderful thing, even more appreciated after being without if for a while.