At this moment the back “lawn” is covered in Catsears with Dasypoda bees making the heads of the dandylion-like flowers droop as they land. I find these bees so attractive with their fluffy hind legs covered in masses of fine hairs stuffed full of the sulphur yellow pollen.
As much as the Dasypoda attract me to watch them, I have to admit that the honey bees are doing a good job of collecting the pollen as well. Their hind legs contain large nougats of the bright yellow pollen and I wonder whether they manage to carry more pollen by mixing it into a paste with the nectar or whether the Dasypoda manage to transport more of the pollen on their hairy hind legs.
I am always keen to provide as many sources of pollen and nectar for the bees throughout the year and I realise that trees can provide interest and shade for the garden and also nurture for the bees. Last year I purchased three trees from a local nursery at Corme Royale and planted them in the autumn. Planting trees is a long term project and if you want the quickest results then planting bare root trees in the autumn is the way to go.
The trees were bigger than we had expected but all the side branches were cut off severely before being handed over. Kourosh assured that they were well staked. This is the Fraxinus ornus or flowering Ash. It was the last of the three to break into leaf in the spring and I was despairing that nothing would appear from the stick we had planted. It appears to have survived although we need to water it while it is taking root, however, other Ash trees in the garden do not need water so it will become independent. Perhaps next spring the bees will have some flowers.
The second tree is a Gleditsia triacanthos “Sunburst” and is the staked tree almost in the centre of the photograph in quite a dry area. We chose this variety as it is drought resistant and has no thorns. Some varieties of Gleditsia possess impressive thorns strong enough to burst rubber tyres (seemingly). This is the only tree that has suffered slightly and the highest leaves look a little wilted.
The third tree is a Koelreuteria paniculata and despite its name has prospered and produced flowers in its first year.
Close up the flowers remind me of tiny narcissi flowers.
I can also verify that the flowers attract the bees.
The surprise is that after the flowers have passed, these seed pods continue to provide a very attractive decoration.
So on the seventh of July, the baby Koelreuteria was filling out with flowers.
Now on the sixteenth of August it is pushing three metres tall (nearly 10 foot) and I can imagine what it would look like once it is grown-up.
I have another tree in flower at the moment. It too is a baby, coming up to two metres tall. This tree has also grown very rapidly but I have no idea what it is.
For the past few years, each autumn I have bought some plants and trees, with some friends, from a small business that provides plants and trees reputed to provide a lot of nectar or pollen for the bees. The owner keeps his own bees and has a charming habit of adding an extra few plants and also a “cadeau” plant with the order. So far, so good but this year the gift plant did not have a label and has turned into a real surprise. His catalogue is very small so I was sure I would be able to work it out. He is not on the internet so I suppose I could write to him and send him a photograph but I was wondering if anybody recognised the tree.
I have an Acacia growing close bye and the leaves look very similar, but Acacia flowers are white. False Acacias can have pink flowers but these flowers are very deep purple. It already flowered in April, despite its small size. I would love to learn what it is called.