a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France


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Pressing on

It may not be the New Year, there are still few days left of 2012 but it is not too early for me to have started my reflections on the past year with WordPress.

Early in 2012 my son suggested I started a blog as a way to create a journal of the garden and to reach out to other interested gardeners to share experiences, hopes, successes and disappointments that only other gardeners would appreciate.  It seemed a reasonable proposition but it soon took on a life of its own.

Cherry blosssom

Cherry blosssom

I realised that a picture was worth a thousand words, so my interest in photography which had languished for many years was rekindled.

Pear blossom

Pear blossom

I enjoyed taking pictures of my flowers but as I looked for photo opportunities, I started to see more than flowers.

Meloe violaceus in the pansies

Meloe violaceus in the pansies

I came across strange things when weeding, Tricked Again

Chafer in the cherry blossom

Chafer in the cherry blossom

Some creatures were strange and hairy.

Azuritis reducta

Azuritis reducta, Southern White Admiral, on Philadelphus

Others elegant and attractive.

Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea)

Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea)

I started to see things I had never seen before.  Dragonfly pond update

White and blue wood anemones

White and blue wood anemones

I saw things I used to walk past. What colour is a white wood anemone?

White-tailed bumble bee (Bombus lucorum) in Spanish beans

White-tailed bumble bee (Bombus lucorum) in Spanish beans

I always loved my bumble bees but I paid more attention to them the more I photographed them.

Red-tailed bumble bee (Bombus lapidarius)

Red-tailed bumble bee (Bombus lapidarius)

I enjoyed noting the different species that visited the garden and was delighted when I found two bumble bee nests in the garden.

Tiny grey bee in Lavatera

Tiny grey bee in Lavatera

I noticed lots of solitary bees in the garden as well as the honey bees and started to follow some of the amazingly interesting and informative “bee blogs” on WordPress such as Aventures in beeland, Miss Apis Mellifera and Beelievable to name only a few.  I have to admit this has sparked another interest and I would love to be brave enough to embark on keeping bees myself.

Carder bumble bee (Bombus pascuorum) in quince

Carder bumble bee (Bombus pascuorum) in quince tree

They keep me company in the garden and in my walks in the surrounding countryside.

Carder bumblebee with pollinaria

Carder bumblebee (Bombus pascuorum) with pollinaria

It is often only when I review my photographs that I see something I had not noticed when I took the picture.  This bumble bee seemed to be carrying a lump of pollen stuck to its head.  I had seen them dusted over with loose pollen but never with such a strange package attached to them.

Bombus pascuorum with pollinaria

Bombus pascuorum with pollinaria

I discovered that this bumble bee was on a  special  pollination mission and had been selected by an orchid to carry its pollen to another orchid.

Orchids have evolved a special method of transporting pollen for cross fertilisation between plants by insect vectors.  Instead of releasing their pollen to the four winds like say the grasses, orchids have compressed bundles of pollen that will stick to the insect pollinators who will pass it onto another orchid that they visit.

This I would never have known, nor recognised on my bumble bee if it were not for WordPress fanning my interest in bees and bumblebees and the Bumblebee Conservation Organisation for supplying me with the information.

WordPress has stimulated my interests in photography, bees and nature but none of this would have been so enjoyable without all my gentle WordPress friends whose interesting blogs and helpful comments lighten and brighten the year.