MAKE a bee line to a district garden which is being opened to the public this spring.
Highfields Manor, in Skelmanthorpe, is a developing spring garden with lots of early bulbs, woodland plants and alpines.
Now people from the district – and further afield – are being invited to see the delights of the garden for themselves.
And behind the garden there is a story to tell. Owner Julie Peckham explains:
“After we had opened the garden last year it was time to clear the way for our new patio/terrace at the back of the house. We cleared away a large cotoneaster from the house wall and noticed a hole in the base of the wall with bumble bees going in and out!
“A bees nest was something of a problem, not because we were scared of bees, in fact in other circumstances we would have been honoured, but this bees nest was soon to be underneath four feet of rubble, concrete and paving at the foot of our new patio.
“We tried to disturb the nest, without harming the bees, to drive them out and hopefully nest elsewhere. We did seem to flush out a number of bees, so we filled in the hole with soil and placed a large slab over the entrance.
“Well, at least we had tried and some bees were out of the nest and would not be entombed. Wrong! On the day the building work was due to start we removed the large slab to find that the bees had burrowed underneath it, re-excavated the hole and were busily going about their work. With heavy hearts we resigned ourselves to accept the inevitable.
“The builders duly arrived and began their work knocking down the old patio and putting in the new footings. At the end of the first day they came to us and said ‘do you know you have a bees nest in the wall?’ ”
We explained our dilemma and a discussion took place. We were agreeably surprised to find the builders were as concerned as we were. One of the men wondered if the bees might use a pipe tunnel from the front of the patio to the nest entrance in the wall… It was worth a try!
“So the builders, bless them, laid a four -inch waste pipe in to the bottom of the patio steps and built round it – and the bees continued their work alongside the builders happily adjusting to their new entrance and using the nest well into the summer.
“The big question now, is... will they be back this year – or will they buzz off..?”
CONTACT: Highfields, Manorstead, Skelmanthorpe, is open to the public on Sundays April 19 and May 17 from 2- 5pm price £2. Children go free. Also open by appointment from April 20 to June 30. Tel: 01484 864336