The apiarists were out in force today at Hillsborough Flower Festival and central to their display was this magnificent creature. A strong frame with sturdy iron legs is covered with sempervivum (houseleeks) in banks of green and russet. The result is a happy bee to attract people to a garden area designed to bring bees by the hundred. Bee keeping is being promoted very heavily these days. It is interesting just how many clergy have a hive or two at the bottom of the garden.
This visit was my first ever to the Hillsborough Festival - a gift from a friend. It is compact but containing a huge variety in the number of plant stalls and the wide range of crafts, speciality foodstuffs and garden related industries.
For me - apart from the rather tasty blackcurrant liqueur that I brought home - the predominant memory is of the wonderful flowers raised to perfection for this event.
The chrysanthemum display had a number of unusual varieties including this mix of shades called "Dance Salmon".
Allium Beauregard has huge flower heads standing well above ground level.
And the Clematis plants came in all sorts of colours of which this white was a personal favourite.
A number of tiny display gardens gave a great deal to look at and ideas that could easily translate into a small patch at home. The butterfly one was working and a number of butterflies were fluttering around the plants designed to attract them.
One of the unusual features was a false door - trompe l'oeil. It had the effect of making the little garden look much larger as the mirror reflected the people passing. Nicely done! There are a few more pictures on Shutterfly: http://snapshotsofalife.shutterfly.com/pictures/1046#1055
With beautiful sunshine, good food and a feast of attractive things to see the lunch time visit passed all too quickly. It is the sort of place you could spend all day and, surrounded by the mature woodland of the Hillsborough Castle Gardens, it is the perfect place to spend time with friends.
We do live in a wonderful world where beauty meets us at every turn if only we look. Sometimes it is in the work of human hands - like the bee or the false door. Always it is in the design of a creator God who has endless surprises and a palette of colours that we've hardly begun to explore. "One is nearer God's heart in the garden..." may well be true!
Lord of the boundless curves of space
and time's deep mystery,
to your creative might we trace
all nature's energy.
Your Spirit gave the living cell
its hidden, vital force;
the instincts which all life impel
derive from you, their source.
Church Hymnal number 31
by Albert Frederick Bayly