The Gardens at HCP is a place teeming with life, both flora, and fauna. Besides the humans working hard there are a plethora of critters a visitor may encounter during their visit. Last year, a student found a week-old hummingbird that we were able to reconnect with her mother, bunnies are often shooed away from the edibles, the quail bustle from bush to bush, and we have partnered with Habitat Acquisition Trust to introduce more endangered painted turtles into the Conservation area off Interurban. But where would we “bee” without the many different bees who zip around the Gardens all spring and summer long?

I recently was taken on a tour of our resident honey bees with beekeeper Falconer who was kind enough to show me around. Honey bees have been kept here for at least the past dozen years and Falconer has been caring for them for the past eight. Growing up in a family who kept bees, this has always been a part of his life. Once a week he comes in to ensure they are all doing well, rotating the boxes if needed, ensuring the queens are being properly looked after by their workers and then once or twice a year harvesting the honey. It was interesting to see how the bees build their combs in the frames and the variety of activities that take place like collecting honey and pollen. As we know the protection of bees is incredibly important for the environment and there are many great resources available in the Greater Victoria area for you to become backyard apiarists! The honey that is collected doesn’t go far – sold in the gift shop food doesn’t get much more local than a 5 minute walk from its source.

Please share your thoughts in the comments if you have experience keeping honey bees, especially as most municipalities in our area allow backyard honeybees. Would you be interested in taking a bee-keeping course if it was offered at the Gardens at HCP?