Most of the trees have opened their leaves. The lime trees and walnut are trailing behind.
After my discovery of my hazelnut flowers, I have decided to catch my mulberry flowers. The bud is about to open!
What a disappointment! It’s not what I would call a flower but it is all the mulberry can offer. No wonder I have missed them up until now.
These insignificant flowers turn slowly into edible red berries. Please don’t ask me what variety this is as I have grown it from seed and kept it as a bonsai for more than twenty years now. There are many varieties of mulberry and many varieties provide delicious berries.
I think my favourite blossom tree is the quince tree with its large delicate pink flowers.
It is a popular flower for all the bees and I was glad to see this Andrena visiting the flowers as I have seen no honey bees near it this year.
The apple tree Belle de Boskoop is my second favourite with its deep rose pink buds and the lighter full flowers.
The pear trees are usually full of bees but once again this year there are few honey bees around and I was glad to see this Andrena visiting it and I have seen my Osmia cornuta in it too.
The Victoria plum tree is not attracting as many pollinators either.
The cherry trees are full of blossom but I have seen no bees in them this year. The bee keepers in the area have had huge losses over this winter. The winter was not unduly cold or wet but many of the hives in the spring still had honey but no bees. I can notice the difference in the garden. I even feel I am seeing less solitary bees but I do not know if this is just as a result of my concern for the fate of the local honey bees.
This is also the time of year for the Wisteria blossom and I cannot leave out the Carpenter bees (Xylocopa violacea). The perfume of the Wisteria pervades the garden.
The perfume gives an extra pleasure to photographing the bees.
I always see this queen carder bee at this time of year but I have given up trying to identify bumble bees.
One of the bee hotels is situated beside a Wisteria, so it is very pleasant watching the activity.
The new bee hotel has been very well accepted. The seven holes in the penthouse have all been taken, seventeen in all have been filled up to now. The drilled holes and the bamboo are both being used but none of the bamboo canes lined with paper have been accepted.
The lives of the female Osmia cornuta is one of non-stop action in an effort to lay her eggs in cells well stocked with pollen, so I was surprised when I saw this one sitting on top of the bee hotel and even more surprised when she came onto my hand.
Then I noticed that the hairs on her back were worn away. they bring in the pollen and turn and twist in the holes packing in the pollen and then sealing the cell with mud. All the twisting and rubbing had rubbed away the hairs and she looked very tired. I held her up to the hotel and she disappeared into a hole. Soon there will be less activity from bees and I will be left with the filled holes to care for until next spring.