By Paul Bedard, of the Washington Examiner’s “Washington Secrets”
The daisies being pushed up by the 65,000 buried at the famous Historic Congressional Cemetery, resting place to John Philip Sousa and J. Edgar Hoover, aren’t just ornamental. Those wildflowers are supplying a gooey good nectar for hundreds of thousands of honey bees housed on the 35-acre site.
And now the honey made from those flowers and trees in and around the Capitol Hill graveyard is being collected and offered under the appropriate label name of “Rest in Bees.”
Under the pre-Halloween waxing crescent moon tonight, the urban beekeepers will begin opening their hives to harvest the honey, maybe enough to fill 200 glass hex jars.
They will be offered at the cemetery gift store for a $10 donation.
“At Congressional Cemetery, we actively strive to make relevant contributions to the local community and the bees are an integral part of our outreach efforts,” said President Paul Williams.
Bee Culture’s own Toni Burnham is the head beekeeper and manager of the urban beekeeping site citybees.blogspot.com. She also teaches a beekeeping class in the cemetery.
She told Secrets that the area offers honey bees a motherlode of food options. “The cemetery is sited on the banks of the Anacostia River, with loads of black locust and tulip poplar nearby, as well as the National Arboretum. The grounds themselves provide a lot of incidental fodder because of the ongoing planting program and the fact that the grassy areas are 200 years old and full of non-grass stuff,” said Burnham
“Every time I go, I challenge myself to find something blooming, buzzing, or flying that I have not seen this year, and almost every time I do,” she added.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner’s “Washington Secrets” columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org