I have flowers on the roof. I have not planted them but the seeds have found a home and the rain has done the rest.
This solitary bee (Anthophora plumipes) takes shelter in the house wall as it whiles away the time until the females are hatched. If it was sunnier he would be out patrolling the garden but he is inside – like me. The continuous clouds and frequent rain makes the garden option less attractive than usual at this time of the year.
Another male, this time an Osmia cornuta, continues his vigil outside the bee hotel.
He had less time to wait after the photograph as the female Osmia cornuta are now hatched and busy filling up the holes and bamboo sticks in the bee hotel. She makes her own mortar to carefully seal in each egg she lays, tamping it in place with the little horns or “cornes” she has on her head. One of the horns is visible in the photograph, she has two, but the other is obscured by the antenna.
At least during the bright spells I have had some chance to check out some of my newer plants for the bees like the Lonicera tatarica.
The flowers have been given the seal of approval by the bumble bees. I would be interested if anyone had any other shrub type of honeysuckle other than the L. fragrantissima which I have also got.
It also let me have my first view this year of the early bumble bee (Bombus pratorum) which looked like a queen with full pollen sacs starting up her colony.
Another new shrub flowering this year for the first time is the Elaeagnus umbellata. I was pleased to see the bees on its flowers as I have bought quite a few of them. They are covered in flowers although they are still small and are in their first year in the garden. I think they should look quite impressive next year.
A lot of the fruit trees are in flower just now. The apple, Belle de Boskoop gets first prize at the moment for the most beautiful flowers. The buds are a beautiful deep pink that softens as the flower opens.
The bees, however, differ and award first prize to the cherry trees. It is interesting to see that, despite being offered apple, pear and plum tree flowers at the same time, the bees favour the cherries. Obviously, they visit all the flowering fruit trees but they do have their favourites.
The Victoria plum gets its fair share of visits.
But what had me guessing was this bee that was only visiting the faded flowers of the plum tree. I find that so unusual as their were plenty of fresh flowers around even on the same tree. So why should she do that? Just to keep me guessing?
We do care about the other visitors to the garden and we have put up some more nest boxes this year. However, the wren has decided to make a nest in the coils of rope Kourosh has left in the outside workshop. We try not to go too near it but it looks beautiful constructed from moss that has been gathered. At least it must have been easy gathering moss this year!
We always hear the cuckoos at this time of year but rarely see them, however, this year we have spotted one that comes in a tree at the bottom of the garden. Kourosh has even managed to take a short video of it “singing”. It is fun to hear the first cuckoo but if you are working a lot in the garden it does not take long before you wish it had another tune to sing.
We are now being promised more sun and less rain. I truly hope the forecast holds true this time.
The bees have had enough of being stuck in the hives sheltering form the rain. They are hoping for sunshine as there are plenty of flowers available for them now.