Ponderings from the Polytunnel

Going Where the Favour Lies

How do you know if a door is locked or unlocked? No, it’s not the start of a bad joke. It’s something I use as a bit of a life philosophy, and you know the answer. It’s simple. You turn the handle. Sometimes you have to give the door a slight push but clearly, if you run at it from 300 hundred paces, throw all your weight on it and it still won’t budge, then you can safely assume it’s locked! Opportunities come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Some don dark glasses and other such disguises (couldn’t help it – it rhymed – but the sentiment is there). They are not always easy to recognise and just staring at the door handle won’t open the door. YOU have to engage with it, and exert your energy and influence on it.

This summer, at a garden where a group of us get our green exercise, high at the top of a pergola, a family of tree bees moved into a redundant bird box. They took the opportunity to lease hold the property for the season, make it their own, do what the birds and the bees do, and raise their resultant bee babies, teaching them how to bee. All in the space of a few weeks. Back in 2001, Bombus Hypnorum, as she likes to be called, took the opportunity to establish herself here in the UK. She’s settled in nicely, without causing detriment or harm to us or our native bees.  She’s now a fairly common site in the more northerly parts of the UK. Imagine if she hadn’t taken the opportunity? I wonder which intrepid soul was the first to recognise that the handle could be turned, that the door could be opened and that a new land could be conquered? Which bee was the first to engage, spend her energy, and subsequently influence the future of the entire species?  

Tree Bees in their summer house

One unlocked door will often lead to others. In turning various handles over the years, I have learned to only push a little. I’m not going to waste my limited time, resources and energy in taking a battering ram to them because we do have a problem here! We can’t see what’s on the other side of the door and when you’re a curious sort, you have to know. But you might be better off remaining in ignorance. You may not like what you see or not understand that what looks appealing might actually be harmful to you.

You see, our little bee friend has only done so well because the conditions are right for her here. The environment suits her and supports her needs and wishes; food, shelter, territory.  She saw an opportunity, realised conditions were favourable and set up home. Opportunities will not produce anything unless you follow through. Bombus gave it a try and has thrived.

In May and June the guys swarm the nest entrance waiting for her majesty to appear so they can mate with her.

We have experienced such a long time of literally being behind locked doors. Some of the doors that were once open remain locked up – possibly permanently. But opportunities are coming up again. Handles are beginning to turn and like our bee friend, we can advance into new and exciting lands. She’s moved on and her nest is empty now. She saw her bird box of opportunity and by taking it, she has secured her family line.  Bombus Hypnorum would tell you to go for it, you little risk taker you! When a door presents itself to you, turn the handle, go where the favour is and see what wonderous new world opens up before you. You never know, we might meet up on the other side of the door. Wouldn’t that be fun?

Published by the back door gardener

Passionate about growing food in any space and about teaching others to do the same. I'm trying to start a backdoor revolution - no allotment needed. I've fed myself from my garden for over 10 years; only needing to buy some emergency parsnips for Christmas several years ago.

5 thoughts on “Ponderings from the Polytunnel

  1. I am almost speechless. every ‘pondering’ is better than the last and the first was brilliant. I also picked up on the odd allusion too! Wow, I would love to have seen the bees as I like bees. When we were in Austria last August we visited our friend’s parents-in-law who have a large apiary and were able to take some of the honey home – it was gorgeous. And if I came across a bumble bee in distress I would instantly get the honey out and put it on a leaf next to the bee – oh the joy see its little proboscis come out and moments later seeing the creature taking flight!

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