Beauty and the Bees

I spent the day yesterday at Tree to Me, an organic orchard in the Similkameen Valley.

The apples were in bloom. Before grafting some apple trees and maintaining the grafts I put into a dozen apricot trees and a couple dozen apple trees I worked on last summer, I went out to meet the crew. They were getting into their work.

Right in.

Very far in, indeed!

Bees and wasps of all kinds were filling the trees.


These are a block of red-fleshed apples. The colour is on its way early!

Beloved of the sun.

An enterprising beekeeper put his hives up on the hill just down the road. They volunteered to help out. Who wouldn’t!

We should get started on a bee tourism program.

One day a year. It wouldn’t just be me out their celebrating then, after the tomato planting crew had gone home.

Well, OK, me and the bees celebrating.

So many flowers, it was hard to know which one to take a picture of. I think the bees had the same problem.

I tell ya, when we were pruning these I had five layers of wool and a windbreaker, three layers of socks and felt pack boots. The wind was whipping down off the Nickel Plate like a glacier.

Today, though, the soft landing.

Any old farmer will tell you, sure, we grow apples to make a living, but, I promise, it’s for days like this.

You’d come on an apple tour on a day like this, right?

You’d, like, go for a walk among the bees? 

They’re drunk on nectar. Nobody’s stinging nobody today.

There’s so much bad news in the world about bees, but not today, not here.

To manage pests in this orchard of plums, peaches, nectarines, apricots and apples, I provided the orchard manager with a breakdown of control measures: 18 included chemical applications of some kind (all organic) as a last resort; 78 included other interventions.

Yes, we do work like this for the bees. We also do it so that we can walk through the bees and share this day with them on Earth. On any non-organic orchard, these blossoms would all be poisoned by this point, to reduce thinning labour later, but let’s face it: you’d like to work among these trees, right?

Just think what kind of a person would want to stop you from that. The image below shows a malus x micromalus crab. We’re going to select them for roots this year.

We all need good roots.

11 replies »

  1. What a wonderful post Harold. Made me very homesick and brought back memories of Ann McClymont Primary School, where in the corner of the play field by the irrigation pumping house and the crab apple tree, the grass grew so fast you could see it, the dandelions floated gold on ten inch stocks, the bees buzzed and the irrigation flume overflowed with bubbling cold mountain water. We’d make boats out of new crab apple leaves and send them racing along the flow, faster than we could run.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I had a really sucky title…and just as I pressed posts this one buzzed into my head, I laughed, et voilà!



  2. Let me add to the love, for the post and the apple trees blooming everywhere and for the bees. And especially for the photos that show the bees doing their thing at those gorgeous blossoms with the hills in the background, it’s all there. Your joy spreads beautifully.


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