If reincarnation exists, let me come back as a bee in Kate Whealon's garden. I was honored with being able to tour her amazing Santa Fe Area bee yard a few days ago with my mom and a family friend.
I can't begin to tell you about Kate's huge, bee friendly, water wise, calming and inspiring yard suited to the environment in NM. Sunflowers, Comfry, Blue Mist Spirea, Mullein, and a forest of plants in the mint family welcomed native pollinators and a dozen honey bee hives. Kate is primarily a top bar beekeeper and a big advocate for the BEES.
Here are a few good tips that I picked up from her yard. Check out the bee watering hub. Count the waterers with me 1, 2, 3...8, just in this picture!
Kate is a genius! The two white bowls are heated dog bowls for springtime watering. She gets most of her bubblers, end of season from birding stores like Wild Birds Unlimited in Santa Fe. Bees prefer moving water to stagnant pools.
The bees love this Molcajete bowl. It's porous surface makes a great landing board.
Check out this ingenious hive stand. In the spirit of low tech top bar hives, Kate has a straw bale and a recycled wooden pallet as a hive stand. The wooden pallet keeps the straw dry. Once the straw has disintegrated and becomes unstable, she spreads the hay across her garden.
I could wax poetically all day about the historic farm yard property, but I wanted to concentrate on those small little details on that make a difference between a ho-hum bee yard and an oasis.
Kate Whealon, thanks for opening your home to me!