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.