A thriving apiary

What a fantastic year it has been for our bees and their honey. Thanks to all the hard work of our beekeeper, Jan French and ably assisted by our chairman, David Andrews, our honey has scooped three awards this year:

We are delighted with this recognition and feel very proud to have such a healthy and productive apiary at Cressing. We have been able to collect 5 buckets of honey this year and so far have sold 104 8oz jars and 65 1lb jars, making a total income of £637. This has meant we could invest in in our own honey extractor and build up our supply of honey jars and wax foundation for next year. We hope to buy a warming cabinet in 2018, by which time we will be more or less self sufficient for honey production.

We are delighted to be doing our bit to support and protect our local honey bee population and all the gardeners are to be thanked for helping maintain such a healthy, diverse and species rich garden for them to feed upon.

There is still one bucket of honey to be put into jars, so if you have missed your chance to sample some of our award winning honey take a look in the well house when you next visit and snap up the last of this year’s harvest.

We are well and truly into the autumn jobs now in the garden. Mary has been tidying up the fading Iris leaves and planting out Pulmonaria in the pool garden.

Howard has been adding mulch to the culinary beds and removing all the unripe figs from the fig tree.

Denise, Carol and Lisa were cutting back the spent flowers of the Germander and giving the knot garden a good leaf clear up.

For myself and Pete, the week has been spent grappling with pond plants and pond sludge as we attempt to give the pond a major autumn clean up. We removed all the plants, dredged some of the silt, cleaned up the filters and then pumped out a proportion of the old water.

Yuck! Not a pretty sight, or smell, but hopefully will result in vast improvement in the appearance of the pond next year. We might even be able to see the fish!

I was so up to my neck in the pond waders and pongy plants I forgot to take any pictures of the messy proceedings. But for any of you interested in such things, here is the pond pump, which is situated in the garage. You can see the yellow stretch of hose being used to drain the water from the outlet  valve. All very simple now we have discovered how to do it! No such things would have troubled the Tudor inhabitants of the garden of course, but it does mean we can have the fountain running continuously for our visitors rather than having to pump furiously by hand whenever the need arose!

Work on the veg plot is slowing down now but there are still veg to harvest, as Becky was pleased to discover the other day when she called in for some supplies.

As you can see, the bunting is still flying, celebrating our success at the Garden Soup Day on 21st October, which was a blustery but dry occasion  when about 40 people visited to talk about community gardening and share some soup. We came second in our bid for the pot of donated money. First place was awarded to  a great new community project to renovate a garden behind Earls Colne library. This is just getting started and needs anything and everything going in the way of tools and equipment. The other beneficiary was another fantastic project in Dunmow, called Get Diggin It. All three projects went away with some very valuable winnings. Our £261 will be used to purchase our own apple press to turn some of next year’s apple harvest into our very own Cressing Temple apple juice. Thanks to all who came and supported the event which was a most enjoyable and successful occasion.





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