Alison Wareham writes the story of her first year of beekeeping in a South London garden. Here she shares how her family became urban beekeepers.

Ever since we bought our house in the heart of South London, we’ve been on a mission to make it as green as possible. One of our dreams was to grow our own fruit and veg with the help of our children, but we have had to pretty much admit defeat as the shade from the beautiful old apple trees slows everything down and even when plants grow, armies of slugs and snails devour them. 

But we have always talked about keeping bees and eventually took the plunge, by enrolling onto a beekeeping course, held in a parish hall in Hampshire. This weekend workshop wasn’t just an introduction into beekeeping but also into the ways of beekeepers, truly a unique bunch. So many terms, anecdotes and rules literally flew over our heads as we sat in equal parts bemused and enthralled. Yet, inspecting a beehive for the first time, and hearing how one woman had successfully kept bees on Covent Garden rooftop, inspired us with confidence that we too could become urban beekeepers.