a french garden

Reflections on nature in a garden in France

Bees in the heather


“That’s not a honeybee!”, said Kourosh. He was right! There were plenty of honeybees in the winter flowering heather but he was not one of them. Yesterday morning (16 February 2021) was warm and sunny and the cute little bee was not a honeybee. I thought he looked like a male bee because he had elegant long antenna and the furry face looked like some of the solitary male bees I have seen.

As I watched him another, slightly larger bee, alighted on some nearby heather flowers and he immediately leapt on top of her. Well, that settled the question rapidly.

You would think I would know what type of bees they are but these photographs are not good enough to identify them. There are just under 1,000 species of bees in France (20,000 species in the world).

However, it was a very special moment and it brought home to me that spring is coming. Everything is on the move and it is worth keeping your eyes wide open.

If anyone is interested I have more photographs in Bees in a French Garden.

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 “Bees in the heather

  1. Hello Amelia, well spotted both, and photographed, even if you can’t put a name to it, and wonderful that you’re getting signs of spring proper over there. How amazing that some solitary bees are mating already,
    best wishes

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Could it be some kind of bumblebee?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. We are all so looking forward to spring any sign of it is especially welcome this year.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Amelia, Bees in a French garden keep coming back to this page.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Spring, still but a glimmer in my eye. But your bees make me laugh and help pass the time, while we wait.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Here in Switzerland the snow has just melted, and I still have my gloves in my coat pocket – but this week it will be 16C and sunny every day. In a few days my mind has gone from ‘when will this winter end’ to ‘I’d better get back to France quickly before it’s too late to prune the roses’! I’m getting that early Spring feeling that soon things will move too fast to keep up – maybe it’s lockdown, or the brain needs to warm up after hibernation, or just age…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think it is the natural spring feeling. It does not take many warm spring days in the garden before you can throw off the cobwebs of winter. I have just been trawling through the net to look at summer flowers. I feel that our garden is more oriented towards spring and autumn flowers and I wondered if I could balance it. In fact, a lot of summer flowers are not my favourites. I hope you will soon be able to take a trip to your new garden. Amelia


  7. They are Colletes, may be succinctus which is specialised on Heather.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! It is so kind of you! I did not get any good wing shots to have a better idea. I follow your photographs on Flikr so sometimes I can recognise the bees and other insects as I know what to look for at the correct time. Amelia


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