A Sense of Place: Wooden Beehives In Heather

Little Sparta

The heather is flowering at the moment, turning green hillsides purple. While we have lots of heather on Darwen Moor, I haven’t seen it looking as pretty as in these two pictures, both taken in Scotland during a recent trip. The first shows the view looking outwards from Little Sparta, home of the late poet Ian Hamilton Finlay and his wife, Sue. I highly recommend a visit.

Taking a long, but scenic detour on our way home, we happened upon these wooden beehives next to a stream in a Scottish valley. If it is true that the highest quality of honey comes from bees able to forage in unspoiled, natural surroundings, I would love to sample a jar from these hives.

Wooden beehives in Scottish heather with a stream running by

This bucolic sight helped ground our visit to Little Sparta by echoing its elements. Ian Hamilton Finlay’s beehives may have been white rather than patchwork colours, and poetic rather than functional, but it’s easy to see the commercial hives and the artwork are rooted in one beautiful place. And, believe me, one or two of the bees on the hillside, in protecting their territory, were as bold as anything commemorated or foreshadowed by the complex works of Little Sparta.

Ian Hamilton Finlay Beehives

 

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