I knew that there were different types of bees, such as bumble bees, honeybees, carpenter bees, and parasitic bees, but apparently they also have nationalities!
Well, at least according to Lady Winifred Fortescue who wrote in her 1935 book, Perfume from Provence that her friend Monsieur Pierre claimed that,
“ …a friend of his imported queen bees from Germany, Egypt, England and America, The German bees, he told me, always works overtime, and fill the cells of the comb so full of honey that it reaches and permeates the outer wax, thus spoiling the look of the sections, so that they cannot be exhibited. The Egyptian bees work well, but are fierce and uncertain of temper – mefiez-vous! The English bees work well, but only for a certain number of hours; and the American bees are brilliant but erratic, sometimes working feverishly and sometimes taking a day off.
Extraordinary, I thought, that bees should have absorbed the characteristics of their countries”(p 36)
More interesting to me was a small detail that Lady Fortescue mentioned regarding the Provencal custom of planting two cypresses at the end of a rose garden, as we have two pines planted just outside our front door. The trees, paired as they are, represent La Paix and La Prosperite (peace and prosperity). She wrote that the La Paix cypress did not “prosper as well as its brother” to which her gardener replied that it was “because there is no peace in this world “(48) .
I was left to wonder about this possibility as both our trees have been either attacked by nocturnal animals, or nocturnal mischief makers on more than one occasion, leaving both trees always looking somewhat sad as they try to heal their wounds. Every time the poor pines start to look slightly decent again, they seem to suffer another attack. No wonder we have experienced little peace or prosperity in recent years!
Perhaps I should go and buy some tree guards to safe guard not only the trees’ future, but our own as well!