Bees in the Sneeze Weeds


The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness has arrived in Much Wenlock on the coattails of spring, missing out summer altogether.  Perhaps we’ll have it at Christmas instead, the barbeque months that, back in March, the tabloids were screaming we were in for, along with prolonged drought and associated mayhem that would, shock-horror, stop people from watering their lawns, or hosing down their Range Rovers. Mind you, these are the sorts of rags that would have us believing it is raining migrants. (That would be people so desperate that they risk all to run away from home).

Anyway, whatever’s going on with the climate, the upshot is that much of the garden and the allotment has a very ‘left-over’ look, which is why I almost want to dash out in the garden and hug the sneeze weeds – bees notwithstanding – for being so vivaciously red and yellow as too much autumn dullness descends.

How can a plant so glorious be real? All the flowers in the photos, in all their wonderful variation, are growing on a single plant. And, as you can see, the bumble bees are gorging themselves. There are also some very tiny emerald beetles in amongst the pollen. Sneeze weed, by the way, is a country name for Helenium, which is a far more gracious name for such a generous plant, although one rarely used in the Farrell household.


And it’s thanks to the bees and other precious pollinators that we are at least having fruitfulness, if not  harvest-hot weather. Up at the allotment apples are already weighing down the trees. They look like jewels:



Even the ornamental crab apples look good enough to eat raw. They’ll make brilliant jelly after a touch of frost, which hopefully won’t happen yet.

Then there are the brambles:


And the little yellow squashes that look like flying saucers:


And the runner beans have started to crop (this photo was taken a week or so ago). The sweet peas on the end of the row are there to attract pollinators:


Of course, when it comes to weather, we Brits are never happier than when we’re grumbling about it: too hot, too windy, too wet, too dry.  But then even if someone did steal summer, we still have so much to be thankful for. Feeling mellow, however, may not be an appropriate response these days. There may well be some hard lessons to learn when it comes to adapting to an increasingly erratic world climate, and not only for ourselves, but for the people who find their own lands are no longer habitable. We should not be surprised if they risk all to make for the lands of plenty.

copyright 2015 Tish Farrell

Mellow  is the theme over at Ailsa’s Where’s My Backpack

40 thoughts on “Bees in the Sneeze Weeds

  1. Beautiful fruit and flowers in this post, Tish. How wonderful that you are enjoying spring right now. And you have a very generous and tolerant attitude towards the immigrants. If we really do see radical climate changes in our lifetime, we may have to face some very difficult tests on the subject. Best wishes.

    1. Thank you , Shimon. I think the climate change is already beyond control in many parts of the Sahel, and East Africa. Likewise in Mongolia where they now suffer extreme and killing winters, and harsh summers without rain. And these are only the places I know about. It’s all very worrying.

  2. Beautiful!.
    Those apples are incredible. What type are they, Tish?
    The yellow squashes we call Patty pans over here.
    Amazing to think summer has ”passed you by”, yet over in Paphos, Cyprus where a dear friend lives they have recorded temps of 57.
    And winter has been mild down here.

    Oops, gotta go. City/Chelsea are about to kick off.

    1. Will have to ask their owner re the make of apple. They are growing on dwarf stock which makes them even more amazing. And yes, summer didn’t quite make it up to the UK.

  3. Gorgeous photo of the sneezewood and bees, must admit I always call it Helenium, but I do like the common name. It is such a jewel-like flower. And you are right, it does feel too much like autumn 😦

  4. Your photos are gorgeous and I love the way you have woven serious and important issues so gently into your tale of “mists and mellow fruitfulness.”

    1. I rather felt it was a bit of a sting in the tail with all those lush images. But still, we really do need to think about what is at stake as weather patterns shift. It isn’t as if there is a whole lot that could be done in many threatened parts of the world. Thanks for you comment, Su.

      1. Think and act! Our government has set incredibly feeble targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and as a nation we’re still pretending that it’s business as usual. Sigh!

  5. You’re such a Mistress of Titles. Also a Grand Champion of Bees. Such a bright post: the apples are an astonishing colour, the flowers luxuriant, and the squash wonderful in its veins against purple. Not the mellow I imagine when I read Keats! I enjoy your sarcasm directed at the voices of wrong doom, and your constant awareness of big issues.

  6. I’m drooling over all the ripe and luscious fruits of your labour Tish. The colour of those apples is amazing. What variety are they? And I appreciate the glorious colours of the Sneeze Weed as much as the bumbling bees do. Lovely mellow post.

      1. Ah… I remember going “apple chudding” as a youngster. I was one of the watchers while the boys nipped over the fence for those illegally pinched apples. They tasted so good!!!!

  7. You Brits have something in common with us Pacific Northwesterners in the States, always complaining (too hot, too cold etc). The apples look like stage-apples, the blackberries divine! And I appreciate the sobering message you included at the end, too true.

  8. Wise words, Tish. And awesome sneeze weeds, fruits, vegetables and berries. Maybe your allotment didn’t really notice that someone stole the summer.

  9. Amazing pictures… so rich, so full, so yummy! I want some of those apples, some of those berries, and eventually some of that honey! Thanks for sharing Tish!

  10. The colour and variety in the allotments are wonderful, Tish. Here’s a confession~ I do eat crab apples raw. There are various varieties growing in streets and parks in my neighbourhood. I taste test them as I walk by. 🙂 Some will get turned into a fruit syrup.

      1. Ha! I checked out some of my favourite trees when I was out in the car this afternoon. Checking for signs of blossom. Last year the crab apple harvest was prolific. I have a horrible feeling that one of the best crab apple trees has been bowled over to make way for a new housing development. Almost can’t bear to go and look.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.