Bees, as many of you know, are one of my favourite garden visitors, so providing them with food is important to me. Bumbles are currently busy feeding on comfrey, sage, lupins, foxgloves and delphiniums. The early bumblebees seem to really like the comfrey, while the carder bees are concentrating on the sage. While tailed bees I have seen on buttercup and lupin, while the big garden bumblebee queens that are still around are going for the foxgloves as well as comfrey. It just shows that having a variety of flowers in your garden is important if you want your help a range of bees.
White tailed bumble on lupin
Foxglove – is this normal for a culitvate foxglove?
One lovely new sighting for the garden was a humming bird hawk moth, feeding on sage flowers. This is an amazing day flying moth that looks, and acts like a humming bird. We hadn’t seen one since the time we lived in the UK, so great addition to our garden list. if you want to see what it looks out check out this link.
Humming bird hawk moth – in a blur!
Vegetable garden update to follow soon.
We are back from our annual trip to Wales to see my husband’s family and have returned to a garden that resembles a jungle. The grass in the meadow seems to have grown about a foot in our absence and some of the vegetables (though not all) have grown too. But more about the garden later in the week.
First some highlights of our Wales visit. Grandma and Grandpa’s garden was awash with flowers, the roses in particular caught my eye.
Meanwhile, in the hedgerows and banks along the Welsh roadsides, foxgloves with their tall pink spires, seemed to abound.
One of the visits we made was to Dinefwr Park, a National Trust property and home to a herd of White Park Cattle. This is a very old cattle breed but it is also very rare with only about 1000 animals worldwide. The breed is descended from Britain’s original wild white cattle. Because the white cattle look so noble they were enclosed in parks by the nobility during the middle ages but when these estates started to decline so too did the cattle. The cattle are white with black spots and black on their muzzle, ears, eye-rims and feet. The wide-spreading horns are usually black-tipped. As they are an ancient breed the animals still have a matriarch system, i.e one of the females is in charge. In Dinefwr the matriarch is Miranda – she is the oldest female in the herd (at about 16 years of age). During the Second World War a small number of the cattle were shipped to the USA, where today two herds still remain – one in Texas and one in Montana.
Miranda, Park White Cow
White Park bull
The park is also famed for its ancient trees. They have nearly 300 trees that are thought to be over 400 years old. One of the oak trees is estimate to be 700 years old. We didn’t get time to see that one, so will have to make a return visit.