In celebration of World Earth Day, a gallery of some of our wonderful pollinators taking flight.
We have been enjoying lots of lovely spring sunshine today. Does the soul good.
Also doing the soul good is seeing the first of our solitary bees – these are Ashy mining bees. Beautiful bees that need a bare soil bank to nest it.
Tulips have also opened – adding splashes of red.
The tadpoles are growing.
The comfrey is flowering in the polytunnel and not far off outside.
We don’t have much spouting broccoli, but at least there is some.
And finally a lovely present of a flowering currant, just need to find a spot for it now.
Thanks to The Propagator for hosting Six on Saturday.
Have a lovely Easter everyone.
I was actually going to write this post for last week’s Lens artist challenge but as I didn’t get time to post, I thought as Tina was offering “you pick it” it seemed a good opportunity to do anyway. This post is about our crab apple tree. In the spring it never fails to blossom and it is packed full of flowers. The closed buds are pink which open into white blossoms with flushes of pink.
The blossom attracts bees, butterflies and other pollinators.
By Autumn the tiny fruit have developed.
And now the blackbirds are visiting and are enjoying what is left of the apples.
And on top of all this pleasure the tree gives us, it is also our robin’s friend favourite tree.
Dedicated to David, who left this earth on the 27th November 2020, and always loved his garden and his garden birds.
This week in Ireland we are celebrating all things heritage for Heritage Week. This includes our wonderful natural heritage so I thought for this week’s six I would focus on an insect theme. This is what was happening around the garden today.
- Honey bee – I occasionally get honey bees coming into the garden. They are particularly partial to the opium poppies. In Ireland, our native honey bee is called Apis melifera melifera, and is a darker version of Apis melfiera. The darker colour is thought to be an adaptation to our colder climate.
2. Common carder bumblebees aren’t too fussy about which flowers they visit. Today I saw them on raspberries, comfrey and figworth. They are a great all rounder and you will even see them foraging in rain.
3. My third bee is the garden bumblebee. These bumbles are great runner bean pollinators but they like the poppies too.
4. And one more bee – this time on the runner beans is the white tailed bumble.
5. And sticking with insects but moving away from bees, is this little grasshopper, which I rescued from the water butt. Happy to say he hopped away seemingly unscathed, once he had dried off a bit.
6. And a final image for this week is a shieldbug instar – in other words an immature shieldbug that still needs to do some growing! I think this one may be the common green shieldbug.
Thank you to The Propagator for hosting Six on Saturday.
Well not exactly – at least going by the weather. I was going to do a post about beaches and sunshine, but we haven’t been to a beach yet this summer. We could have gone in the spring when we had lovely dry and sunny weather but we were in lock-down. Since mid-June we have been having a lot of grey, dull and wet days. So, what else says summer to me? Well I am back to my favourite subjects.
Bees of course! I took this photo in the drizzly rain this evening but what struck me about it was that it reminded me of when Winnie the Pooh had his head stuck in a honey pot!
Our bumbles did really well in the late spring when there was plenty of sunshine, but numbers seem to be down now as they cope with the wetter weather. Some appear pretty hardy, particularly these large garden bumblebees. I have watched them feed on the sage outside the kitchen window even during rain showers. Now the bramble flowers are out they are feeding on them as are the white tailed bees and carder bees.
Of course as well as bees, butterflies make me think of summer too.
And their caterpillars. Here the cinnabar caterpillars (which is actually a day flying moth) have eat their way to the end of the ragwort plant. So it may not be just humans that over-exploit their resources.
Inspired by this week’s Lens Artist Photo Challenge – Summer
One of the best plants for bees is comfrey. It has a long flowering season which provides food throughout the spring and summer.
Blossom, such as apple or cherry blossom, is another great food source.
Herbs (e.g. sage, oregano, thyme) are also great for bees.
Vegetables often rely on bees for pollination, including runner beans, courgettes and many others. Allowing brassicas to flower can also provide food for bees.
Wild native flowers are also important for bees too. So having some in your garden is a great asset.
This week’s Lens-artist photo challenge is to look at cropping photographs. I do crop images pretty regularly.
Here are some examples – mostly I just like cropping some of the “noise” from the image, so I can focus on the subject a little more.
Here the cropped images just makes the subjects a little larger, and easier to see.
Is it really time for Six on Saturday already? Despite everything, the week flies by. Spring is well under way. I do love this time of year. It has been exceptionally warm and sunny (for the west of Ireland at least), but we won’t complain. So here is this week’s six.
1. Ragged jack kale self seeds its self freely around the garden and at this time of year the flowers are valuable food source for pollinators – usually bumblebees and hoverflies but I have also had a solitary honey bee.
2. Common carder bee – this one feeding on comfrey that is now flowering outside as well as in the greenhouse.
3. Autumn olive – the flowers smell a little of citrus and are popular with bumblebees too.
4. Crab apples. There is the one I showed last week. It is at it’s best now and the scent is heavenly. I have another crab which is the red leafed variety. The flowers are pink and not too plentiful – in fact it’s hard to see them against the leaves. The fruits are tiny. Still I like the leaf colour, as it adds contrast to the mainly green leaves of the other trees in the garden.
5. American Hawthorn is also in flower. It usually flowers a bit earlier than our native hawthorn.
6. Red campion, I grew these from native seed collected at Raheens wood and they are doing well at the base of a hedge.
Thank you to The Propagator for hosting Six on Saturday.