Thursday, July 28, 2011
Bumblebee cleared for landing on Agastache 'Golden Jubilee'
OMG...the garden is looking amazing right now (not that there aren't problem areas)...and I'm so overwhelmed with the bounty of it all, I can't keep a thought in my head when in comes to blogging! It's a good problem to have, but I find that I can't stay focused long enough to post on ANYTHING. The moment I sit down to start a post, I decide it's also the perfect time to take a photo of XYZ in the garden. Up I hop with the camera...and an hour later I am back inside, post forgotten.
What looks like chaos to us humans is nirvana to bees
Anyway...amid all my walks around the garden I've been noticing just how many bees there are this year. I thought last year was good for bees...but this year I seem to have formed my own swarm(s)! I have to admit, I didn't plan a garden purposely to attract bees, butterflies, etc...luckily, the plants I love just happen to be the same plants beloved by our little pollinating friends. The new backyard planting, in particular, seems especially suited to them, having a variety of flower types for different kinds of bees.
Bumblebee on Knautia macedonica
Knautias seem very popular with the Bumbles...they are constantly dive-bombing these little buttons.
Bumblebee on Echinacea purpurea 'Magnus'
While they seem to have to really work to get at the nectar beyond that spiny center, the Bumbles are determined to get to it!
Bumblebee on Agastache 'Golden Jubilee'
Agastaches have proven to be one of the absolute favorite plants among the bees, especially the Bumbles...they are constantly swarming around them.
Bumblebee on Agastache 'Ava'
The western-type Agastaches have longer tubes, which I thought would hinder the larger Bumblebees from frequenting them...oh no, they LOVE them! It's hilarious to watch them clamp onto one of the tubular flowers, they immediately drop down under the Bumble's weight, but they don't let go...they must really love that nectar!
Bumblebee on Agastache 'Blue Blazes'
Another of the new Agastaches I'm trying this year...and one that the bees are especially manic over.
Bumblebee on Agastache 'Purple Haze'
'Purple Haze' has been blooming for two months already, and shows no sign of stopping. It is constantly covered with bees, grateful for its dependable flowering.
Bumblebee on Persicaria 'Red Dragon'
While the small white blooms of this Persicaria aren't very noticeable to us humans, the bees seem to go crazy for them. Luckily, 'Red Dragon' doesn't seem to seed itself around, so I can let them bloom for the benefit of the bees.
Bumblebee on Persicaria 'Taurus'
'Taurus' has also proven popular with bees...and even though it does seed itself around a bit, it's not a nuisance, and I can always find a spot for the seedlings.
Bumblebee on Salvia verticillata 'Purple Rain'
Bees seem to love the sultry purple blooms of this Salvia...they careen drunkenly around its branches morning to night.
Here they are at it again, you can see that some plants are so delectable that nectar-drunk Bumbles will even ignore the customary 1-bee-per-stem rule!
Bumble on Verbena bonariensis
The tall stems of these Verbena tremble constantly under the barrage of bumbles.
Bumblebee on Panicum
While doing my research, I found out that the Bumbles that I often see sleeping on plants in the garden are the males and queens who have been driven from the hive. They will spend their time seeking out each other, mating and will eventually hibernate (well, the queens will, anyway).
Bumble sleeping on Rhus typhina 'Tiger Eyes'
Bumblebee on Miscanthus
Bumblebee and Lupine
This is my FAVORITE bumblebee...there are only a few of these super-sized beauties in my garden, but I love seeing them. They are bigger than the other Bumbles and have dark orange markings on their backs. I call them Bumblesaurus Rex.
Honeybee on Astrantia 'Abbey Road'
The Bumbles and the Honeybees each seem to have their own preference as to which plants they frequent. One of the flowers that are more attractive to honeybees is the Astrantia...which they swarm over...I'm hoping they will help it produce seed.
Honeybee on Veronicastrum virginicum 'Fascination'
While both Bumbles and Honeybees visit the Veronicastrum, the Honeybees seem to love it far more, they are covered with multiple bees all day long.
Honeybee on Geranium 'Ann Folkard'
Geranium seem to be preferred by Honeybees...I hardly ever see Bumbles on them.
Honeybee on Geranium 'Rozanne'
If I had to pick one plant that the Honeybees go absolutely insane for, it's this Geranium. I have a group of several of them, and it positively hums with bees. They perform the most amazing little dance...going in a circle around the blooms, looking for every ounce of nectar.
So there you have it, if you want to encourage bees, plant a wide array of flowers. The garden is starting to ramp up now into its late summer/early autumn crescendo...and no one is happier about it than the neighborhood bees ;-)