Meet Horsmonden beekeeper James Green
PUBLISHED: 10:04 18 October 2014 | UPDATED: 10:04 18 October 2014
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James Green, 11, on learning the art of beekeeping, being part of the Hadlow Rural Business Group, making honey and bug hunting
Tell us about yourself
Hello, my name is James Green, I am 11 years old and I go to Yardley Court School near Tonbridge. A Kentish boy, I was born and live in Horsmonden with my older brother Harry and my parents.
I love the countryside and wildlife. I used to have quite a few chickens until the fox broke into the hen house, but I still have a very loveable 16-year-old cat and about 100,000 bees.
How did you get into beekeeping?
I have always been interested in bees from watching them in our garden. We have wild bees in a hollow tree and when they swarm Dave, our local beekeeper, comes round to collect them.
Knowing my interest, Dave offered to show me how to keep my own bees, so I persuaded my mum and dad to get me kitted out with a bee suit and all the equipment. This summer has been very exciting learning the art of beekeeping.
Bees have been in trouble recently through loss of habitat and disease and uses of pesticides. So keeping bees was also a way of trying to help them, as well as educating myself and learning new skills. Plus there’s the bonus of potting up some delicious honey for friends and family.
My grandmother is a local artist and she designed the label for my pots, so it is truly a wonderful artisan product made with care. Bees are vital we also need them for the pollination of our crops fruit and vegetables.
Tell us about the Rural Business Group
My parents are friends with Pat Crawford from Hadlow College who runs the Rural Business Group and knowing of my passion for the countryside, Pat asked me if I’d like to come to the meetings. Homework permitting I go as much as I can. Hadlow College is a great place to visit and if you want a job in horticulture or the land-based industries, that’s the place to study it.
What are your favourite subjects?
I love history and science and enjoy football and rugby. Yardley Court is a great place to be with so much space to explore nature and the surrounding woodland.
What do you do in your spare time?
Apart from looking after the bees, I like to play football in the garden with my brother. I like watching nature programmes on the TV - anything with David Attenborough and, of course, The Great British Bake Off.
Your ambitions for the future?
I need to concentrate on my school work, but I shall continue beekeeping and learning about that. I have had enquires for hives to go into people’s gardens to manage them for them and they can buy the honey, that may make a lovely business.
I love entomology so bug hunting would be great too. It will be a rural job for certain.
What’s best about living in Kent?
That’s easy! I love the open spaces, and having little light pollution you can see all the stars and meteor showers if you sit up late in the garden and look at the night sky.
Our friend Jane has a farm nearby and she shares with us the picking of cherries, plums and apples. And I’ve had some great fish and chips with my dad in Folkestone!
What was the last book you read?
Dan Jones’ Summer of Blood, the history of the peasants’ revolt of 1381. n
James’ honey is available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org (quote Kent Life offer)