ISSUE 47  |  Dining and Entertaining

Gardenista Gift Guide: For the Beekeeper

November 19, 2012 6:00 PM

BY Kendra Wilson

A gift from a beekeeper might well be honey. And who wouldn’t want to receive it? But unless you produce something very fine yourself, gift-giving in return can be less straightforward. Beekeepers are practical people who would never say no to more equipment, no matter how heavy and utilitarian. However, there is enough romance and poetry in beekeeping lore to allow present-givers the chance to impose something delightful on even the most industrious worker:

Above: A compact 4-by-7-inch European Stainless Steel Beekeeping Smoker; $38.

Above: One way to make a beekeeper happy is to encourage more bees into everybody’s garden. Bee crusader Sarah Raven has teamed up with Johnsons the seed people for a Brilliant for Bees and Butterflies (L) seed collection, of 47 different pollinator-friendly varieties; prices range from £1.95 to £2.95 per packet, depending on the variety, from Seeds by Post.

For US gardeners, Pollinator Mix wildflower seeds formulated for your geographic region—Northeast, Eastern, Midwest, or Southeast—are from $4.15 to $5 per ounce, depending on the mix, from Harris Seeds. Photograph (R) via Kaufmann Mercantile.

Above: Handmade English straw Bee Skeps, traditional hives which are useful for catching a swarm. They look lovely in a cottage garden, especially if you have a bee bole (a specially built wall recess) to protect them from the elements. Available from Hibbitt of Oswestry. Please note: it is illegal to use these for bee houses in the US and it is not possible to import them. Decorative versions, used as baskets for example, are available in the US from Origin Crafts and Lisa Head, in Pennsylvania.

Above: “You cannot have enough hive tools,” says a beekeeping neighbor and she is very keen on this, the “American hive tool,” (L) which is chrome-plated and made from hardened and tempered steel. Made in Massachusetts and not bad looking: the Hive Tool is $11.95 from Maxant. In the UK the American Hive Tool is £14.60 from Thorne.

Above: When spinning honey, things tend to get a bit sticky. Protect yourself with a Bib Apron (R) of drill cotton, £36 from Old Town, makers of traditional work wear.

Above: Beeswax Candles that really smell wonderfully of honey, lit or unlit. Hand dipped in Cumbria. I sell them at my website Ancient Industries, £7 per pair.

Above: The Urban Beekeeper by the bee master of Fortnum and Mason—and Tate Gallery, Harvey Nichols—etc. A delightfully readable account for urban or rural, novice or expert. A hardcover edition is $16.99 via Amazon.

N.B.: To make sure we’ve got everyone on your list covered, see our other latest gift guides, including Gifts for the House Plant Horticulturalist and Gifts for the Aspiring Ornithologist. For all of our gift guides to date, visit our House Gifts section.