a french garden

A welcome home

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Male Osmia cornuta

Back from two weeks holidays and the first thing I saw as the car turned towards the house was the bees flying around my bee hotels.

Male Osmia cornuta waiting

It was so good to see them chasing each other and flying from beehouse to beehouse.

Male Osmia cornuta patient wait

These are the male Osmia cornuta with longer antenna than the female and cute white tufts on their heads.  I don’t know when they hatched out but last year there was a two week gap before the females hatched.  Perhaps this wait weeds out the weak and the impatient.  The males seem to spend most of their time chasing each other or looking longingly inside the holes which must contain females.

Male Osmia cornuta shelters in hole

When there is no sun and it gets cooler they retreat into a spare hole to wait.

They gave me such a welcome back home!

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Author: afrenchgarden

Born in Scotland I have lived in England, Iran, USA and Greece. The house and land was bought twelve years ago in fulfilment of the dream of living in France that my Francophile husband nurtured. We had spent frequent holidays in France touring the more northerly parts and enjoying the food, scenery, architecture and of course gardens. However, we felt that to retire in France and enjoy a more clement climate than we currently had in Aberdeen we would need to find somewhere south of the river Loire but not too south to make returning to visit the UK onerous. The year 2000 saw us buying our house and setting it up to receive us and the family on holidays. The garden was more a field and we were helped by my son to remove the fencing that had separated the previous owners’ goats, sheep and chickens. We did inherit some lovely old trees and decided to plant more fruit trees that would survive and mature with the minimum of care until we took up permanent residence. The move took place in 2006 and the love hate relation with the “garden” started. There was so much to do in the house that there was little energy left for the hard tasks in the garden. It was very much a slow process and a steep learning curve. Expenditures have been kept to a minimum. The majority of the plants have been cuttings and I try to gather seeds wherever I can. The fruit trees have all been bought but we have tender hearts and cannot resist the little unloved shrub at a discount price and take it as a matter of honour to nurse it back to health. This year I have launched my Blog hoping to reach out to other gardeners in other countries. My aim is to make a garden for people to enjoy, providing shady and sunny spots with plants that enjoy living in this area with its limestone based subsoil and low rainfall in a warm summer. Exchanging ideas and exploring mutual problems will enrich my experience trying to form my French garden.

15 thoughts on “A welcome home

  1. Lovely thing to come home to! Happy bees. 🙂

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  2. Hurray! Very handsome males for the females to choose from.

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  3. Such beautiful little suitors. I hope they find true love this spring.

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  4. They are cute! I haven’t seen any yet, just a male Andrena haemorrhoa and some Xylocopa cf violacea. I’m hoping my veggie garden soil is going to be dry enough to work today, but we have an air pollution warning today also. A dilemma!

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  5. You are way ahead of us with these bees. I dont expect to see them in Devon for several weeks yet and with the recent cold weather that may extend even more.

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    • I must check the dates on my photographs because I think we are early this year because we have hardly had a winter to speak of. It is only March so things could change but I hope not for the bees (and me!) Amelia

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  6. I wondered what happened to bees that hatch early and find the Spring weather gets cooler again, I wonder how long they can wait for? Lovely photos Amelia and I can imagine how exciting that was to be greeted by your bees.

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    • I am glad you can imagine what it was like to come home to see them buzzing around, I’m sure most people can’t imagine it. I was excited! I suppose if the weather cools it will be a bad year for a lot of things. The flowers will slow down and produce less nectar etc. I think the female Osmia will wake up on cue after the males. They pass winter in the adult form and will have to take their chances as to the availability of food. Amelia

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  7. The bees are just starting to come out here.

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  8. Are these Mason Bee’s ?? used for increasing pollination ?
    Great photos..thank you

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    • Mason bees is a general term, I think, for Osmia. Osmia rufa actually burrows into soft stone and brick (as do other bees) and this is where the name originates. These wild bees are often bred and taken to pollinate orchards. It would be nice to have environments that are clean and unpolluted so that there would be enough wild bees naturally occurring not to need to breed them. Amelia

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