a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France


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Cutting the “grass”

Garden with weeds

We do not have a lawn.  Even the grass is in short supply and each year “the green bit” is invaded by the most successful weed.  This year the prize goes to varieties in the family of the Compositae, probably Cat’s Ears and Hawkbits but my Botany skills cannot identify it or them any further.

Unmown patches

Never the less when it comes time to mow the stuff we feel obliged to leave some patches uncut.  What used to be an annoying, unsightly weed has become the preferred pollen source of the Dasypoda hirtipes that are living in the garden just now.

Dasypoda hirtipes and ladybird

We can see them foraging from a distance as each time they land on a flower head it dips and the whole mass of flowers undulates as the bees move from flower to flower.  The video gives a very short clip (12 seconds) of the action.

Abeille à culottes

The French name for this bee is “Abeille à culottes”, for an obvious reason.  I don’t think it has a common English name as it is not quite as common as it is here in France.

Dasypoda hirtipes and pollen

She collects pollen on long hairs on her back legs but sometimes she has a pollen frenzy and it goes everywhere!

Dasypoda hirtipes in nest entrance

This solitary nest is just at the edge of the back garden  very conveniently located for access to the flowers.  She comes out of the hole very cautiously so I have managed to get some shots.

Dasypoda hirtipes leaves nest

She zooms back in as the open nest is quite exposed so my best photograph to date is a yellow smudge at the nest entrance.

It is nice to think she is leaving me the eggs and I’m sure our weeds will be back to feed her offspring.