Aside from our 20 garden plots, the Clifton Place Memorial Garden and Park plays host to a myriad of plant and animals.
We have an extensive collection of fruit bearing trees, including peach, nectarine, cherry, pear and apple trees and we recently added 2 beehives to our garden, courtesy of Kellen Henry.
The beehives at Clifton Place were installed in the late spring of 2014, after construction and lease changes at gardens in Clinton Hill and Boerum Hill made it necessary to find them a new home. Kellen Henry, a beekeeper and neighbor of the garden, began keeping bees in Washington, D.C. in 2011 and subsequently moved them to Brooklyn.
The garden has two hives, with queens affectionately named Beeyonce and Bee Arthur. We installed the bees from packages purchased from A&Z Apiaries in Hampton, CT at the end of May. While this was a late start to the season, the bees have thrived in their new home and have provided pollination for the garden’s plants, opportunities for interesting discussions and a couple of bee stings as well.
We did our first fall honey harvest in October, taking about 20 pounds of honey from one hive and leaving the rest for the bees to consume over the winter.
They bees themselves are Italian honey bees, a subspecies favored by many beekeepers because they are less aggressive and more resistant to disease than some other types, while still being excellent honey producers. The beehives are the transitional Langstroth-style hives, with 10 removable frames in each hive body. We hope next year will provide a bountiful harvest of honey for the garden as well as more opportunities for education and hands-on participation at our apiary.