I use to use flowers in my designs for redwork, quilting and embroidery without ever really thinking about how they were pollinated, but recently, on a teaching trip in Chambery, near Lyon in France I was reminded of not only how much flowers inspire us but also how vital the humble bee is in the process of making the beautiful blooms.
There has been a lot in the press recently about the importance of making sure we provide a good habitat for bees in our gardens: a patch of nettles, growing bee friendly plants, reducing the use of pesticides, to name but a few. The BBCs wonderful programs Spring Watch and Gardeners World are amongst others educating us on how we can help.
In fact my very own Bee Friendly Quilt was inspired by creating gardens that help our humble bee and I hope that, in a small way, it has played it’s part in helping educate our wonderful quilters the sort of flowers we should be growing in our gardens.
In Chambery I was struck by how many grass verges and mini roundabouts were sown with wild flowers and lots of poppies. I know we also do this in some of our towns and cities but I have not seen as many as I saw in Chambery.
During walks in the local area, along mountain paths and even in out Chateau garden I saw many, many bee hives. A visit to the local shop and all became obvious – honey – from small many producers. It’s a natural and obvious thing to do in these areas, look after your bees and the bees will look after our flowers!
And those flowers have inspired artist, weavers, quilters, knitters, stone and wood carvers, to name but a few for generations. Flowers as symbols are everywhere we look. In the Museé des Tissus we saw that the silk weavers in Lyon used flowers as inspiration for their amazing work and they in turn have inspired me and I am itching to use them in a design!
My message to you this month is be friendly to the bees and look after your flowers, together they are some of the world’s greatest inspiration to makers.