April is a busy month for honeybees and beekeepers. Even if cold, wet weather keeps the bees indoors some days, spring is inexorably here. When the bees can fly, there is plenty of forage for them. Warm, dry days allow access to millions of dandelions which yellow the meadows all month, and a hive full of bees, given access to this bonanza, can make 30lb of honey and lots of golden comb in a week or two.
This recipe comes from a very old Russian friend, once a beautiful young girl who in World War Two was responsible for the deaths of six Germans in a foxhole — and is now a Heroine of the defunct Soviet Union.
Every garden is full of eyes watching and noses sniffing as you dig a deep hole, fill it with compost and install a carefully chosen plant. As early as next morning, you may realise that you have given an expensive treat to some ungrateful roe deer, mouse or slug. If the plant does survive its planting, the buds, flowers and especially the fruit will later be under attack.
Caroline Dilke pays a visit to wildlife photographer Colin Varndell in his personal nature sanctuary.
Now is when poorly organised gardeners — and that may be most of us — start to think: if only I had planted more crocuses back in the autumn.