The first flush of the spring bulbs is well past and the old faithfuls are shooting through.
Some things don’t come up as you expect them to. I bought a beautiful pale blue Pulsatilla a few years ago as I was so taken by its ephemeral lightness. I propagated its seeds but only to find that it must have been a hybrid. I have grown its ugly sister, a much darker harsher coloured flower but as it now has appeared yet again this year I think I am softening to it and I can’t resist its fluffy buds and leaves.
The wet, cooler spring has kept the Hellebores going for longer just until the tulips can take over.
This longer season is appreciated by the bumble bees.
The mild wet winter has favoured the growth of the broad beans that I sow in the autumn. Last year they got frozen but this year has been good for the vegetable garden and the early peas are growing well too.
One by one the trees begin to flower. The Amelanchier doesn’t flower for long and isn’t perfumed but its flower are so delicate that I forgive it its short comings.
I have never noticed any bees on the Amelanchier blossom which surprises me.
The quince tree is a mass of pale pink blossom which welcome bees and bumble bees alike throughout the day.
The apricot trees are finished flowering and we were happy to see the cherry tree that we roughly transplanted has survived and is full of flowers on its foreshortened branches. The plum trees are in flower and with the apple trees coming into flower all the trees are at their best.
I have noticed one very strange phenomenon this year.
About a week ago my pear tree flowers gave off a foetid odour of fish! I have never noticed this before and believe me you couldn’t miss it. I have a William variety in the front so I checked with the Conference in the back; same thing but somewhat less strong. I decided to check out the neighbours so I asked Yvon and Annie if their pear trees smelled of fish. After they had ascertained I was serious we all went off for a sniff.
Yvon decided it was sardines. I think it was worse than that. We all retreated to their cherry tree and took deep breaths of the fresh cherry blossom to purge our lungs.
The pear blossom is just about finished and the odour passed too. Has anyone else noticed this?
We get more and more birds in the garden now, the Hoopoe is a summer visitor.
He digs deep into the ground with his beak and is a successful worm catcher. His visits would be great to aerate a lawn, if you had one.
Of all my visitors to the garden it is the bees that excite me the most and the garden is full of them at the moment. I have so many to identify but I am overjoyed as I now have a book to try and get my mind round. It is called the ” Bees of Surrey” by David W. Baldock. You may wonder if this is what I really need as I live in France. It is certainly the best thing I have read so far and I have learnt such a lot although I have not had time to fully use it. It was advice I received from an excellent blog http://www.edphillipswildlife.com/news.html that put me onto the book. The author of “Bees of Surrey” suggests that to begin identifying bees you should try and identify twenty (with the help of a local bee expert if possible 😦 ) and then you can identify a few new ones each year. He says it is difficult advice to follow but you will be hooked for life if you take it. Well, I have set myself the challenge to identify twenty bees by photographing them.
I’ve got a lot of photographs and some tentative identifications in mind and I’ll post some of my identifications and observations and I’d be very grateful for any comments.
When it is sunny here it seems it is not only the bees that are happy.
It seems to put everyone in a good mood.