Tag Archives: willow

Six on Saturday – Pollinators return

It is always a special moment when we see the bees and other pollinators returning to the garden in the spring. So for this week’s Six on Saturday, I am going to just share six pollinator images.

Six on Saturday – 6th March 2021

Another lovely spring day after a cold week. So busy day clearing weeds today.

  1. This is one of robin’s friend’s favourite places.

2. A new bird box built by my son in his woodwork class last term. Already being inspected by blue tits.

3. Willow catkins. Great for bumblebees. We saw our first bee last Sunday, then no more till another one today. Haven’t managed to get photo yet though.

4. One of my favourite spring flowers – primroses.

5. The larger daffs are all opening too now.

6. It is so nice to see fresh green shoots emerging.

Thank you to The Propagator for hosting Six on Saturday.

Bumblebee Sunday

The bumblebees have been around for about a week. But it was only yesterday that I saw them feeding on the willow tree in the garden. Willow is an important early pollen source for bumblebee queens coming out of hibernation. This is what they are after.

Yellow willow pollen

Yellow willow pollen

There appears to two bees, the White-tailed bumble and the Buff tailed bumble. These are usually the first bees we see here in the west.



White tailed queen bumblebee

Teach Saileach – Willow Room

On a sunny day last week, I got a sneak preview of the new Teach Saileach or Willow Room at the Country Life Museum in Turlough, Co Mayo.


Sunshine through willow of Teach Saileach

On Sight 2017, was a community arts project, funded by Mayo County Council, in partnership with the National Museum. The Willow Room is one of several willow sculptures created in the grounds of Turlough Park, by the talented Mayo Art Squad. The artists used local willow and traditional basket making techniques.

Willow House

Willow Room

I was privileged the following day to be the first person to use the Willow room as an outdoor classroom for a group of pupils from a local primary school. We used the space as our classroom before exploring the wood for bugs and other mini-beasts.  The bug hotel is also a new addition to the woodland.

The room made a wonderful outdoor classroom. Pictured below are just  a couple of the other willow sculptures that can be viewed as part of the Willow trail.

The artists involved in the project were: Mick Smyth (coordinator), Brendan Timlin, Kevin MacNeely, David McInerney, Saw Tun, Sanita Vecbrale, Paul O’Driscoll and Aidan Crotty

Bumbles are Back!

I’ve been on the look out for bumblebees and today they are back! Three days earlier than last year. After a wet, cold January and February here in the west of Ireland, we are finally getting some dry weather, and today the temperatures reached about 14 degrees, in beautiful spring sunshine.

Most of the bumblebees I saw today were feeding on the willow in the garden (it’s a cultivated form which produces pollen a bit earlier than some of our native willows). The catkins are full of pollen.

Willow pollen

Willow pollen

Problem was the bees seemed to prefer the higher branches so it was next to impossible to get a good photograph. They appeared to be mostly Buff tailed queens (Bombus terrestris) though I think there may have been an Early bumblebee queen (Bombus pratorum) too – but it was too high and too fast for me to get a proper identification.

The droneflies were there too and where a bit more accommodating.

Drone fly

Drone fly

However, I did find a bumble feeding on the daffodils further down the garden and it posed perfectly.

Bumble on daffodil

Bumble on daffodil

I’m a little puzzled by this one as the yellow banding is usually the same colour in freshly emerged queens but this one has two different colours. Still a lovely bee! I am delighted the bees are back. I really feel spring is underway now.