(My self-seeded foxglove which the bees loved. I ended up taking it out
of the garden given it is poisonous to the dog. Sorry, bees.)
I don’t want to jinx things but we’ve actually got some good weather.
This coming Thursday starts the long Platinum Jubilee weekend here. Doesn’t mean much to me as 1) I’m a republican (small R) and 2) given a fair number of my clients are in Europe and could care less about the Queen of England, I’ll probably be working Thursday and Friday.
It’s also the half term school holidays so I imagine life will be very busy round here, meaning I’m better off at home, walking the dog in the village for a while (I finally decided there is room for and I need a small Philadelphus bush, and I’ve ordered that online rather than brave the trip to the plant nursery).
So, bees …
I actually love bees for all kinds of reasons, four of which I share below.
I have a wonderful, very close friend. I’ll call her ‘B’ but you get the idea – the shortened form of her name rhymes with bee. I met her years ago, when I’d first launched the perfume website. She was a first customer and also, in time, hosted fragrance parties at which I could show off my wares. We bonded over perfume, enjoyed sniffa outings, send samples back and forth (now that I no longer live in London). She is acerbic, spicy, sharp and sweet – all the best things about bees.
Bees themselves. I had noticed the summer before I moved out of my house for building work to be done that I seemed to have fewer bees in the garden. Worrying. As I’ve said, I love bees. I have learned to stay very still when they are moving around so I don’t disturb or irritate them, and I’ve reached a point where if they hover nearby or stop on me it’s fine. In any case, a year and a half since I moved back into the house, sorted out the garden after the builders trashed it, I have a huge number of bees this year. It is a wonder and wonderful to sit out in the sunshine and watch them go about their work. I am so pleased they’ve decided to return to my garden.
Honey. When I moved to this area it was semi-rural. Working farms, getting stuck behind tractors on the roads, fields full of anything from rapeseed to corn. It’s more suburbia now, but a fair number of people keep bees in their gardens and then offer the honey for sale. They post notices about the structure of the honey – wildflower, lavender, whathaveyou. In any case, I don’t buy honey in the off season (unless I need it for cooking) – I wait for the recycled jars to pop up in front of a house, check out the sign, and then buy. The stuff is a world away from what you get in a supermarket.
Finally, Hiram Green Slowdive.
(The big bottle is actually Dilettante, the small Slowdive. I just wanted to
included the great HG bottles along with the smaller one.)
I first wrote about Slowdive in 2020. To quote myself (hah), “a honey fragrance that actually smells like the raw artisan honey you get from people who keep their own bees – syrupy sweet but with a funky, pongy animal base”. I lurve Slowdive. Like seriously. Per the Hiram Green site:
Slowdive is a warm tobacco-themed fragrance that captures the mood of those languid afternoons when the sweetness of the Indian summer air is almost palpable. The heady scent of summer flowers and the humming of bees surround you as you flee the high summer sun.
Neroli, orange flower, tobacco flower, honey and beeswax. Unctuous – just the right side of heavy; floral, but not cute; a bit of weird from the beeswax and honey – but none of that urinous ech which I get with something like the Serge Lutens honey scent (can’t recall the name right now – probably forgotten it on purpose). Truly sublime.
So, there is it, my list of wonderful bee things. Would any of these be on your list? Other things? I’m off to sit in the sun again and appreciate the bees.