The Latest Buzz: Author of Beekeeping for Dummies Speaks at the Greenwich Gardens Club’s Pollinator Potluck

Kim Gregory from the Greenwich Garden Club with speaker Howland Blackiston. Credit: Karen Sheer

Kim Gregory from the Greenwich Garden Club with speaker Howland Blackiston. Credit: Karen Sheer

The Greenwich Garden Club and The Garden Educational Center hosted a presentation of “The Vanishing Honey Bee” at the Audubon Greenwich Thursday evening.

What was all the buzz about? Howland Blackiston, author of “Beekeeping for Dummies” spoke passionately to a large crowd about how honey bees are facing a crisis.

Almost 100 attendees gathered at the 2nd Pollinator Potluck for a joyous evening, including a lavish, tasty buffet with honey flavors and an enlightened talk with this notable, dynamic author.

Darcy Hadjipateras, Ann Hagmann and Jane Marsh from the Green Fingers Garden Club. Credit: Karen Sheer

Darcy Hadjipateras, Ann Hagmann and Jane Marsh from the Green Fingers Garden Club. Credit: Karen Sheer

The sweet reward of honey lingered in the delicious, homemade treats – and Blackiston emphasized the multitude of benefits that honey bees bring to our everyday lives.

When a rain and wind storm swept through Greenwich Wednesday night, a quick change of venue was made possible by the swift work of Kim Gregory, the club’s passionate promoter. The Garden Educational Center’s meeting room was suffering water damage, and the group moved to a new space at the Greenwich Audubon Center.

Kim gave cheers to garden club calling them “the strongest, creative women,” and thanked the Greenwich Audubon for making this event happen on such short notice.

Blackiston, who has also penned “Building Beehives for Dummies,” (his popular books have been translated into 14 languages) grabbed everyone’s attention with his spirited, and sometimes animated lecture, including secrets of what goes on within a colony of bees.

“The bees themselves are fun and interesting!” Blackiston said.

A riveting presentation by Howland Blackiston who wrote the best-selling book on beekeeping in the Nation. Credit: Karen Sheer

A riveting presentation by Howland Blackiston who wrote the best-selling book on beekeeping in the Nation. Credit: Karen Sheer

Blackiston described the leader of the pack, the queen bee – a regal celebrity, who’s always surrounded by a flock of attendants as she moves about the hive.

Laughs ensued as one attendee said, “I would like to be a queen bee,” and with wit and charm he explained this regal bee lays more than 1,500 eggs a day, and lives not more than two years. Being surrounded by doting attendants and manipulating them to serve you sounded like a royal idea!

Deanna Novak, Jane Moffat and Naill McMorrow- GEC Executive Director. Credit: Karen Sheer

Deanna Novak, Jane Moffat and Naill McMorrow,  Garden Education Center executive director. Credit: Karen Sheer

In the last several years, millions of colonies of honey bees have been wiped out by  Colony Collapse Disorder, which Blackinston described as a perfect storm of causes. He said that 20 years ago bee viruses simply didn’t exist.

Perhaps, as a result, we are seeing a dramatic growth in the keeping of honey bees as a hobby. In this discussion, all learned that without bees, 1/3 of everything we eat would suffer dire consequences and the importance of these remarkable creatures.

Lisa Hurst cuts the honey-ham at the potluck for all to enjoy. Credit: Karen Sheer

Lisa Hurst cuts the honey-ham at the potluck for all to enjoy. Credit: Karen Sheer

David and Karen DeWahl enjoy the lavish display of honey flavored offerings: salad was served with honey mustard and pomegranate-honey dressings

David and Karen DeWahl enjoy the lavish display of honey flavored offerings: salad was served with honey mustard and pomegranate-honey dressings. Credit: Karen Sheer

Dr. Vaughn Dunn with Darcy Hadjipateras and Jane Dunn. Credit: Karen Sheer

Dr. Vaughn Dunn with Darcy Hadjipateras and Jane Dunn. Credit: Karen Sheer

Naill McMorrow and Deanna Novak delight in the potluck tempting food. Credit: Karen Sheer

Naill McMorrow and Deanna Novak delight in the potluck tempting food. Credit: Karen Sheer

Elizabeth Lowe, William Gregory, Kim Gregory,, Howland Blackiston, Gunnar Gregory and Fridolf Hanson. Credit: Karen Sheer

Elizabeth Lowe, William Gregory, Kim Gregory, Howland Blackiston, Gunnar Gregory and Fridolf Hanson. Credit: Karen Sheer

Ann Hagmann, Darcy Hadjipateras, Jane Marsh, Janice Gardner, Gabby Hall and Betsy Mulcare from the Green Fingers Garden Club. Credit: Karen Sheer

Ann Hagmann, Darcy Hadjipateras, Jane Marsh, Janice Gardner, Gabby Hall and Betsy Mulcare from the Green Fingers Garden Club. Credit: Karen Sheer

Herb and Karen Marache. Credit: Karen Sheer

Herb and Karen Marache. Credit: Karen Sheer

A variety of honey was displayed, with crackers and cheeses to compliment. Credit: Karen Sheer

A variety of honey was displayed, with crackers and cheeses to compliment. Credit: Karen Sheer

Delicious cupcakes with whimsical bee decorations by "Happiness Is Catering" Credit: Karen Sheer

Delicious cupcakes with whimsical bee decorations by “Happiness Is Catering” Credit: Karen Sheer

Honey confections from "Happiness Is Catering" Credit: Karen Sheer

Honey confections from “Happiness Is Catering” Credit: Karen Sheer

Carol Scott with her delectable Scott's Pond honey, and Niall McMorrow. Credit: Karen Sheer

Carol Scott with her delectable Scott’s Pond honey, and Niall McMorrow. Credit: Karen Sheer

2.27.16 - GEC Polinators Potluck-47

At the 2nd Pollinator Potluck attendees sat in tables enjoying their dinner, awaiting the guest speaker. Credit: Karen Sheer

Credit: Karen Sheer

Tables adorned with beautiful centerpieces, and biscuits to dip into the honey. Credit: Karen Sheer

Kim Gregory from the Greenwich Garden Club addressed the crowd and introduced Howland Blackiston. Credit: Karen Sheer

Kim Gregory from the Greenwich Garden Club addressed the crowd and introduced Howland Blackiston. Credit: Karen Sheer

Libby King, president of Greenwich Garden Club with Noah Goldberg. Credit: Karen Sheer

Libby King, president of Greenwich Garden Club with Noah Goldberg. Credit: Karen Sheer

Noah Goldberg owner of "The Study" with Jon Carr served his wines to compliment the meal. Credit: Karen Sheer

Noah Goldberg owner of “The Study” with Jon Carr serving his wines to compliment the meal. Credit: Karen Sheer

Blackiston has been a backyard bee keeper in Weston since 1983 and expressed to the crowd there is something everyone can do to help reverse this grim situation. It seemed he convinced many to start this wonderful hobby, while helping the pollination of bees, as he said, “You will wind up visiting the hives often – it’s so darn interesting in there!”


Greenwich Garden Conservation Committee will host its next Pollinator Potluck on March 31, 2016 at the Innis Arden Cottage. The next topic is Non Point Source Pollution (NPS), The relationships between healthy soil and healthy water.
To sign up, contact: staglanefarm@yahoo.com

For more information on the Greenwich Garden Club:
http://www.greenwichgardenclub.org

For more information on the Garden Education Center-Greenwich:
http://www.gecgreenwich.org


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