To accompany the bees in the exhibition I am hoping to include some notes about the plants they are associated with and which they rely on for both nectar and pollen. Visual notes are better than written notes, however sketchy, and they will add a bit of colour to the show. Really these will be just larger versions of the flower notes I was making before, here.
This, I know, will not be the most riveting post but I use my blog as a sort of online notebook as much as anything else. Writing things down does help me clarify my thoughts and then I can get on, which is rather important as I have been dithering about it all for 5 days now.
The dilemma has been about how to categorize the flowers. I have 6 large frames available and so can divide the flowers into categories.. but how? There are so many possibilities. I tried many different combinations from colours to locations to families. But in the end I thought of what I would like to see as a non specialist and what I would find interesting and useful.
So , the Flowers
One very important thing for bees is to keep the supply of nectar and pollen running through the year so three frames will have:
1 Early Season plants x 8 including crocus, hawthorn, snowdrops, forget me nots.
2 Mid Season plants x 8 including stachys, dead nettle, foxglove, scabious.
3 Late Season plants x 8 including aster, ivy, sedum, sunflower.
Weeds and wild flowers are very important, so one frame for those:
4 Weeds and Wildflowers x 8 including dandelions, thistles, and cow parsley.
Herbs are another important group and of course are just the loveliest plants to have in the garden, so one frame for herbs:
5 Herbs x 8 including the king bee plant borage, chives, mints, rosemary etc
Which leaves me with one….. this could be the edible plants that need bees for pollination or it could be trees.. not sure which yet.
There will be 8 small flower sketches in each frame and although that seems an awful lot to me to get completed in time, in the bee world this is only a fraction of the plants they use. There are many lists of bee friendly plants on the internet and it can get very very confusing, but there are definitely a few firm favourites.
The notes will be sketchy, not highly finished and detailed like the bees, but I need some practice because it means going from super smooth paper to a “not” finish and from the 00 sables to the wonderful but completely different Isaby wash brushes.
W&N series 7 00 sable at the top and two bendy Isaby wash brushes at the bottom. They are capable of beautiful expressive thick and thin brush strokes.
The technique of using them is quite different. With the small sables you “brush” your colour on and they have a springy tip with some resistance which helps you paint very accurately. With the wash brushes you float the colour on and use the tip to guide the paint. You cant “ brush” with these as they have no resistance. They just bend and stay bent, as you can see, but they do have the most beautiful tip and hold lots of paint.
So here are a couple of trials which may or may not make it to the show.
These are 10 x 3.5” on Arches Not.