The garden end of April 22

Looking down the back garden the row of blue boxes at the bottom is increasing.

The bees have kept us busy and there have been swarms and sunny days.

I am glad I planted the thyme under the cherry tree it keeps down the weeds and adds a splash of colour. I added two other varieties of thyme to the wild variety I found in the grass. I fought valiantly for some years to keep back the native variety but I have given up now and the other varieties have been completely smothered.

The bees seem indifferent to the different varieties and the thyme is always covered with honeybees, bumble bees and other wild bees.

Looking up from the bottom of the garden, our red Hazel is at its best just now. Its leaves don’t stay this colour but change to green, so we have to appreciate it at this time of year.

On the left of the photograph one of our Judas trees is coming into flower.

They are such beautiful trees and are pushing forth blossoms on their trunks as well.

We bought a Gleditsia triacanthos ‘Sunburst’ in 2016. We did know that certain varieties had vicious spines but this variety is “inermis” – meaning unarmed in Latin or to put it another way, thornless.

So I was quite surprised to see these sticking out of the trunk. I hope it will not be repeated.

I was tempted to plant this tree for the bees as it has been vaunted as producing flowers with a high content of nectar. Now that I am looking closer into it, I find some sites telling me that it is dioïque and others that it is only the male flowers that produce nectar. So I do not really know what I am going to get as it has not flowered yet and it is getting very tall. It might be quite a delicate mission, if it ever flowers, to get up close enough to the flowers to find out if my tree is male, or female or can produce both types of flowers.

Some plants are much easier. My aquilegia spring up every year without planting or care and flower before I have time to notice them.

Other plants make themselves at home, whether you want them or not. When we first arrived here we had very little in the garden and a UK gardening magazine I had bought had offered free Oxalis bulbs stuck to the front cover. They were duly planted but I did not take to them. They looked too much like the weeds I was trying to conceal. I did nothing to propagate them yet they still keep on popping up here and there.

So I was delighted to see the carder bumble bees on them, I had never noticed they were attractive to bumble bees. Actually, they look rather nice with the Cerinthe and forget-me-nots.

The blackcurrants are in flower. I think this is a little male Osmia pollinating them for us.

At this time it is the little grey Anthophora bees that create all the noise in the Cerinthe with the bumble bees that are my favourites.

Meanwhile, April has been busy in the garden or rather the bees have been keeping us busy.

The bees do not always decide to swarm so low down but it allows for a gentle transfer into the hive which suits every one.


27 thoughts on “The garden end of April 22

  1. Janine

    We have had such a wet, cool Spring in the SW of BC. It was a surprise when a neighbour who was out jogging came into the garden to tell us she spotted a swarm. Luckily it was also low so soon had it in a nuc box.
    Love to see all the trees you have planted. Tree envy for me as it is not possible on our small lot.
    Take care. J

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good luck with your new bees. I think the rain can be more important for the plants in the springtime than the heat although some flowers need a minimum temperature before they will produce nectar. Over here it is warm but we have not had much spring rain. We can have frosts in this area until nearly mid May so the garden is not safe yet. Amelia


  2. Cultivars, or garden varieties, of honeylocust are mostly thornless. One of our thornless trees here became thorny by generating suckers from the understock below the graft union. The suckers looked just like wild trees in Oklahoma, with wicked thorns. The smooth bark on your specimen suggest that it is not a sucker, since the straight species begins to develop furrowed bark even while young. Is the tree grafted with a single trunk, and if so, can you confirm that all stem growth is above the graft union?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is on a single trunk and has had no suckers yet. What you have explained is very helpful and has been a relief. I bought the tree from a very reputable garden company in the area so it will be the grafted variety. It has survived very well at the bottom of our garden which gets very dry in the summer. Amelia

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So, it is a cultivar that happens to have potential for thorns. Perhaps it is a reaction to . . . something. (For example, unusually vigorous growth of various citrus generates thorns.) At least they are not as nasty as those of wild trees. Some cultivars are on their own roots (not grafted) so can not generate genetically different suckers. (You should not be alarmed if you do not see a graft union.)

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Paddy Tobin

        They are hardy but hot enough for it to flower here. Pity! I recall seeing it in huge numbers around Rome a few years ago.


  3. That view of your garden is so pretty Amelia! The thyme looks wonderful in full bloom. I didn’t know the red hazels are only red in spring… perhaps I will cross that off my list but I do like trees with dark foliage. I am also not keen on thorns, and that one does look rather vicious. I have just added a ‘mostly thornless’ quince to the garden. We will see!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow! So many bees! That thyme is gorgeous, I need to buy some to plant in my lawn. Oregano seems to like to spread itself around here, but I don’t mind as it makes a good groundcover and the bees love it when in flower. Plus it smells nice and can be added to a pizza topping!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have oregano in the garden too and I can confirm also that the bees love it. It is easy to dry some leaves for the winter, too. I’ve had to limit it in the vegetable garden as it was trying to take over. Amelia

      Liked by 1 person

  5. A lovely spring scene, Amelia, a real profusion of flowers – and indeed hives! Is that 10, I can count ?? Amazing, and that will certainly keep you both busy again this year.
    I read an interesting piece on the Thorne newsletter yesterday, which implied that after looking at pollen samples from hives in the Oxfordhire/Berkshire area, in May, 50% of pollen samples were from trees, and 50 % from perennial flowers – but they mentioned beech and oak as being major sources – after apples – and ahead of sycamores, which surprised me.
    I wonder if similar studies have been published by French beekeepers?
    Best wishes

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a great study! So interesting when it is local. I can’t quite agree that it is not a scientific study. Perhaps their methods were not stringent enough for publishing in a scientific journal but the local result is of great interest to them as normally you would have to work with non local studies. I cannot imagine something like that happening in our area. I have walked under an oak tree in flower and thought there was a swarm. I remember it was after swarm time so it must have been a late flowering oak. We are not going to go over five hives, our babies have to find new homes. Amelia

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Amelia and glad you found it interesting, and also your comment about oaks – I’ve never noticed that here, though have with sycamores. I’m sure you’re wise to call a halt at 5 permanent colonies since I’m sure food supply and disease issues must increase at some point. I’ll try to keep an eye on when the whole study gets written up, and let you know,
        best wishes

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Sorry to be so slow in commenting but I have been away and without an internet connection (deliberately!). A fascinating post, all the more so as when I was away in Dorset I saw two Judas trees in different places both in flower. These trees have intrigued me since I first saw one in bloom when I lived in Reading and they look so continental European, if you know what I mean.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s