One of my CSA members owns a store downtown Oroville, called Mary Lake Thompson. Her front window display reminded me of the importance bees play in all our lives, in our plant world but interestingly, also in our decorating world.
Since ancient times, bees have been kept for their honey. Honey was originally collected from the bees’ nest in hollow trees. To make collecting the honey much easier artificial nests for the honey bees to live in were made. Before wooden hives came into use, European and British beekeepers used inverted straw or wicker baskets called a “skep”. Skeps are baskets placed open end down with a small hole at the bottom for the bees to enter. They are the earliest and most simple form of the bee hive. The skeps were weatherproofed with a thatch or mixture similar to that used on house walls. It is rare to find an original old woven bee skep because most were destroyed when the honey was removed. Here are some photos of an antique bee hive and some photos of antique bee skeps. I have had a skep in my floral gardens for years but they do not last but only a few years. For a while, you could not find any at nurserys or decorating stores, but recently they are coming back for gardeners and decorators.
This antique beekhive is from France and is from the 1800s. I want Frank to make me this for my garden. Wouldn't kids love it as a dollhouse??? Hard to imagine it is over 200 years old and in such good condition. Would have looked beautiful in a French country garden, a cute house just for the bees.
Skeps hanging from a ceiling to purchase.
These are antique bee hives using various shapes and found objects.
They are fun to decorate with also. Here are some pictures of a few ideas on how to use skeps in your home. Here is one used as a lamp shade-
The front window display is at Mary Lake Thompson store that has so many cute items all using the bee hive/skep theme. I want them all!!
She even has bee napkins, bee coasters, and these are bee plates. They look just like paper plates, but are actually ceramic that can be put into dishwasher. Check her adorable store out on Montgomery St in oldtown Oroville. It is packed with the cutest items.
It seems that anything to do with old farms or outside farming implements can be re-purposed to be used inside as decorations. These old farm tractor seats look like art work.
Stay cool. Until next time, from Windmill Farm