Sunday, December 21, 2014

What was I thinking?

Here I am, moments after being stung by an enraged honeybee, outfitted in a hat with veil that probably would've prevented that sharp pain in my forehead. I was visiting Jim Bobb at his hives at Morris Arboretum, lovely setting, and Jim was explaining that honeybees really are benign. They don't sting without provocation, and unlike yellow jackets, they sting once and fall over dead. (So there's some comfort.) I was instructed to stand very still, let the honeybees explore and under no circumstances, swat. So I quietly took notes as he spoke, trying not to move or communicate my discomfort to the bees, thousands of them in these 24 hives. But quite a few of them were curious, and alighted on my pants, my arms, shoulders, head, even my hand as I wrote. Still, I didn't flinch. Then one intrepid honeybee got into my hair and couldn't get out. I swear, I was only trying to help him navigate an exit, but before I knew it, the air was filled with an urgent buzzing, I was swatting and running and zap! I got it right in the head. Been a long time since I was stung by anything, so it was a bit of a surprise to note how much it hurt. Jim immediately swiped the stinger with his "hive tool," and supposedly I would feel no more pain. Actually, it hurt for awhile. P.S. I still love honeybees. P.S. #2 Read all about my misadventures at Morris this Friday, in Home & Design.

What was I thinking?

Rosa 'All Ablaze' blazes cherry red in Burke Brothers' Tuscany exhibit, accenting classic Italian elements with bright flowers. (Ron Tarver / Staff photographer)
Rosa 'All Ablaze' blazes cherry red in Burke Brothers' Tuscany exhibit, accenting classic Italian elements with bright flowers. (Ron Tarver / Staff photographer)

Here I am, moments after being stung by an enraged honeybee, outfitted in a hat with veil that probably would've prevented that sharp pain in my forehead. I was visiting Jim Bobb at his hives at Morris Arboretum, lovely setting, and Jim was explaining that honeybees really are benign. They don't sting without provocation, and unlike yellow jackets, they sting once and fall over dead. (So there's some comfort.) I was instructed to stand very still, let the honeybees explore and under no circumstances, swat. So I quietly took notes as he spoke, trying not to move or communicate my discomfort to the bees, thousands of them in these 24 hives. But quite a few of them were curious, and alighted on my pants, my arms, shoulders, head, even my hand as I wrote. Still, I didn't flinch. Then one intrepid honeybee got into my hair and couldn't get out. I swear, I was only trying to help him navigate an exit, but before I knew it, the air was filled with an urgent buzzing, I was swatting and running and zap! I got it right in the head. Been a long time since I was stung by anything, so it was a bit of a surprise to note how much it hurt. Jim immediately swiped the stinger with his "hive tool," and supposedly I would feel no more pain. Actually, it hurt for awhile. P.S. I still love honeybees. P.S. #2 Read all about my misadventures at Morris this Friday, in Home & Design.

About this blog
Ginny Smith, a Philadelphia native, joined the Inquirer at 1985. After stints as both reporter and editor in the city and suburbs, she’s been happily writing – and learning - about gardening full time since 2006. She’s won two silver medals of achievement from the national Garden Writers Association and in 2011, Bartram’s Garden honored her with its Green Exemplar award for her stories about “the region’s deeply rooted horticultural history, cultural attractions and bountiful gardens.” She plays in her own – mostly - bountiful garden in East Falls. Reach Virginia A. at vsmith@phillynews.com .

Virginia A. Smith Inquirer Staff Writer
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