The lavender is just about finished in the garden now but this carder bumble bee seems determined to extract the last drops of remaining nectar. There are several clumps of lavender in the garden and the lavender that was in full sun is well and truly grilled. These clumps were in partial shade and flowered later.
The Russian sage is likewise pushing out the last flowers.
The Verbena bonariensis is losing the round shapes of the flower heads as the last flowers push forth. Just as well for the short tailed blue butterfly (Everes alcetas), (actually Geranium Bronze [Cacyreus marshalli] see Dromfit comment below)who is still around for the moment and is pleased to pose for photographs.
The sedum which I always think of as a butterfly trap has been disappointing. I have not found it covered in butterflies as I had hoped, in fact I have found this year generally a poor year for butterflies in the garden.
However, just as I was mulling this thought over, a Swallowtail (Papilio machaon) came to my dahlia – something I have never seen before. I think the butterflies just like to keep me guessing.
My fuschia have been coping very well with the heat and lack of rain.
On looking closer, though, you can see how damaged the inside petals are. Any ideas what causes that?
There are always lots of bumble bees visiting the fuschia and their front legs grip tightly onto the petals so that they can get to the good stuff. From the number of marks on the petals it looks like the fuschia provides generously for the bumble bees.
I don’t grow a lot of clematis but this “Helios” has always been a favourite of mine. It grows on a north facing wall and is not abundant. I would really like to find a better place to grow it as it cannot be seen to advantage – a project for next year.
My Leycestria has survived the heat well and is now producing its pretty deep red/black berries. They can be eaten and have a caramel flavour. Unfortunately, they often squash between your fingers as you pick them so they are not a good berry to harvest for enjoying later. In France the common name is “Arbre aux faisans” or pheasant tree. The perfume of the fruits are reputed to attract pheasants who are apparently extremely partial to these berries. We have not been overrun by pheasants yet and none of the local birds seem interested in the berries and they are left to dry up on the plant. I don’t know why.
It is the season to say goodbye to a lot of the bees. I do not usually see the wool carder bees (Anthidium manicatum) now.
It is likely to be the last time I see this Megachile (probably centuncularis) if the predicted storms and rains arrive and keep the weather cool and wet.
It made me realise how long our carpenter bees keep us company as I don’t think a week of rain will keep them away.
And lastly, our first queen bumble bee has arrived in the garden and taken possession of the caryopteris bush. She is a white tailed bumble bee and a considerable size with a bumbly comportment fit for a queen of her dimensions. She has fallen asleep on the bush some nights but I am sure the light shower of rain this afternoon will alert her to find a dry spot under some leaves to start her hibernation. We will not have seen the last of her this autumn and she will be back visiting the flowers on the better autumn days.