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  • Writer's pictureMonique Sliedrecht

Birds, Bees & Blooms

Updated: May 24

A couple of weeks ago there was a wedding at Freswick Castle. It was a beautiful time for it. After much anticipation and planning by the couple, the stage was set, tables laid, and the sun came out on cue.  

In the morning before people came down the lane for the service I went out for a walk on the beach during low tide and managed to get a glimpse of the teeming seaweed in the water and light yellow primrose on the hills.  

I’ve noticed the abundance of life in areas that are left untouched and appreciate the colour and variation they bring to the landscape.  Such beauty in May!

I sat on a rock to draw for a while, enjoying the stillness and the sunshine.


On my return I stopped to sketch some of the bright red tulips in a large pot alongside the castle garden wall using Neocolour II crayons. Afterwards I went home and sat outside for a while adding water to my sketch to soften and enhance areas, read my book and drank tea before heading back over to say hello to the wedding couple and meet guests. It was a glorious moment of leisure.


I’m back to not mowing my grass in May. With the eruption of dandelions, daisies and other wildflowers I’m noticing the increase in bees and a variety of other insects, not to mention birds! I couldn't bear to have the flora mowed down with the prospect of killing bee populations, so decided to accept the wildness of a garden un-mowed and put my attention on the tiny winged and six-legged fauna coming to visit the flower heads instead.  I've enjoyed shifting my attention in this way and not worrying so much about having a pristine garden.  I would like to curate the area into something that represents an organised wildness, and am starting to look at ways I could design it as such. I recently came across a TED talk which only reinforced my decision. In it, ecological horticulturist Rebecca McMackin shows the beauty of letting your garden run wild, surveying the success she's had increasing biodiversity even in the middle of New York City — and offers tips for cultivating a garden that can be home to birds, bees, butterflies and more.

Watch the talk here.

With the busyness of the last week since the wedding, I would not have got to mowing anyway, so it's a win all around!

I leave you with this poem....

The Bee

by Emily Dickinson

Like trains of cars on tracks of plush

I hear the level bee:

A jar across the flowers goes,

Their velvet masonry

Withstands until the sweet assault

Their chivalry consumes,

While he, victorious, tilts away

To vanquish other blooms.

His feet are shod with gauze,

His helmet is of gold;

His breast, a single onyx

With chrysoprase, inlaid.

His labor is a chant,

His idleness a tune;

Oh, for a bee's experience

Of clovers and of noon!


For more info about 'No Mow May' click on this link:

And here are a couple of sites about growing meadows that a friend sent to me:

It’s a bit of a process if converting lawn, but there are several options!

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