Bee #2

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Jacob’s Ladder (Polemonium caeruleum) was given its common name because the arrangement of its leaves is somewhat ladder-like. This is a beautiful clear summer sky blue with contrasting yellow anthers and loved by bees. A pretty, delicate perennial.


Bee #1

This week I am going to give you a week of bees. Or hoverflies. Though the bees have definitely outnumbered them this year. Planting bee friendly plants has drawn them into the garden, but the most bees I have seen on any one plant (Giant Scabious / Cephalaria gigantea ) was in Trelissick Gardens on Sunday. They were swarming with bees – three or four to a flower.

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Hedge Woundwort (Stachys sylvatica) and a very fuzzy bee in my garden.

Hedge Woundwort is a tall, hairy perennial that grows in hedges, woods and on waste ground, where its tall spires of crimson-purple flowers stand out among the lushness of green growth of other plants. The flowers are arranged in whorls around the central stem. They are hooded, with the lower lip beautifully variegated with white against the crimson background. Bees love this plant and are frequent visitors.  I love how he clings on to the lower lip with his two-toed feet (yes really, take a look) and then buries his proboscis into the hood.

Plant Portrait

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A common sight in the gardens or lanes at this time of year. And there is something so very delightful on seeing a bee disappear into a foxglove and hearing it buzzing around inside like a helicopter in a hangar. I try to plant bee and butterfly friendly flowers in my garden and even allow those wildflowers they can’t get enough of, like dead nettles and Meadowsweet.

Hearing them in the garden is such a pleasure: seeing them land on the delicate petals of the hardy geranium, causing it to swing and sway; flitting from one purple flower to another on the foxglove and the hedge woundwort with the pannier-bags on their thighs bulging with pollen.

Bees – one of the pleasures of summer.

NB: Bees go for flowers in blue, white, purple and yellow: Berberis, bluebell, bugle, flowering currant, lungwort, pussy willow, rosemary, dead-nettle, heathers, aquilegia, campanula, comfrey, everlasting pea, geranium, foxglove, honeysuckle, monkshood, stachys, thyme, cornflower, delphinium, fuchsia, lavender, rock-rose, scabious and sea holly.


Macro Monday #24

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Cornish Native Black Bee on Common Hogweed Umbellifer

The British Black Bee (Apis mellifera mellifera), or  European Dark Honeybee, was common until the beginning of the 20th Century. Fully adapted for the cooler climate she was responsible for the pollination of the wild flowers you see in the British Isles today. Sadly a virus practically wiped the species out. I can’t be certain that this IS one of those descendants, but it does have a very dark bottom. Whether it is or it isn’t we need to do everything we can to encourage our bees.

Source: The Barefoot Beekeeper