Flowers on Friday

One of the most dramatic flowers at this time of the year is the golden Rudbeckia fulgida ‘Goldsturm’.  Also known as ‘Black-eyed Susan’ with large, golden-yellow, daisy-like flowers up to 12cm (5in) across with cone-shaped, blackish-brown centres from August to October.

This knee-high plant bridges the gap between summer and autumn providing welcome colour to the garden. Best planted in drifts among other late flowering perennials, Rudbeckia works well in prairie-style schemes with ornamental grasses. They like a sunny spot and to be kept moist especially when in flower.

Bees, butterflies and other pollinators love it too.

White-tailed bumblebee. August 2019. Click image to enlarge.

Spiky Squares

During the month of March, Becky, Queen of the Square format, is back. This month she would like to see anything spiky, jagged, bristly, serrated, prickly or barbed in whatever interpretation you like. The only rule: it must be a square.
March Squares

Ginger lily (Hedychium) with upside down bumble bee

Spiky Squares

During the month of March, Becky, Queen of the Square format, is back. This month she would like to see anything spiky, jagged, bristly, serrated, prickly or barbed in whatever interpretation you like. The only rule: it must be a square.
March Squares

Cardoon (Cynara cardunculus) plant with white-tailed bumble bees

Bee #7

The female red-tailed bumblebee (Bombus lapidarius) is a very large, black bumblebee with a big red ‘tail’.   It is a social bee, nesting in old burrows, or under stones and can be found in gardens, farmland, woodland edges, hedgerows and heathland: anywhere there are flowers to feed on. This was spotted on some Asters (if I can still call them that) in one of the walled terraces on St Michael’s Mount last week.

Macro Monday #93

a bee with attitude

With three yellow stripes and very hairy legs and face, I suspect this is a male bee. A very large one I can add, which landed slap in front of me as I was perusing the plants in the plant section at Trelissick Garden.  He neglected to tell me his name. But just look at those claws!

the bees knees

One

In Trelissick Garden near Truro, I came across a patch of these flowers Giant scabious (Cephalaria gigantea) which can grow to a whopping 2.5m so if you buy this plant then make sure it is at the back of the border.

Two

What drew my attention to them wasn’t the actual flower, pretty as it is, with the pale yellow-green scabious-type flowers floating on top of the willowy stems, blowing in the wind. Apologies for the poor quality of the flowers, I was focusing on the bees and the sunlight was extremely bright in this area.

Three

But the sheer number of bees swarming all over them. Nudging one another off in some places in their haste to drink the nectar.  Even standing on each other in their scrambling. As you can see they sink their proboscis deep into the flower. And plenty of bees knees and claws to be seen.

Many flowers are attractive to bees, with different types of bee varying in their particular preferences. In particular, long-tongued bumblebees such as Bombus hortorum tend to favour deep flowers, and of course short-tongued bumblebees such as Bombus terrestris/lucorum  prefer shallow flowers. The more you study bees, the more fascinating they are.

I am no bee expert, but these bees all had two-yellow bands and white tails so at first look I thought they could be white-tailed bumblebees (Bombus lucorum) or buff-tailed bumblebees (Bombus terrestris), but on a closer examination I realised they do not have pollen baskets so they are not collecting pollen and therefore must be all Male bees or perhaps some kind of Cuckoo bee. Hopefully a bee expert will come along and enlighten me!