bees at hive mouth

Bee Conversations

I set my camera up in front of Beresford’s hive, and after getting stung and dropping the camera, we all got used to it and took some pictures. It was a sunny late morning so there was a steady stream of bees leaving and returning, although not nearly as many as in Summer.

bee check at hive mouth (3)

The pattern seemed to be that the bees would arrive and clean themselves outside the hive before being checked by the guard and allowed in. You wouldn’t want to be a bee arriving back without the right credentials.

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In a Vase on Monday – Roses in Winter

Wow, last year at this time I had tulips and hyacinths, no roses in sight. The tulips are still only small, and daily being eaten by a stoat, I think. So there may be none at all at this rate.

While much of the country has had record snow falls last week and some are still without power, we didn’t even have a frost, which was nice for the new twin lambs frisking around the next door paddock. There must have been strong winds though, and the olive branches in my vase are from the olive tree which was on the ground when we arrived.

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cut flowers iris unguicularis

In a Vase on Monday – a mixed batch

My Iris unguicularis is doing so brilliantly! I’m very excited about it – the nurseryman who sold me the baby plant said he grows his under a big Totara tree facing the sun. Mine is at the base of a tree at the edge of a path and it has spread to about 18″ wide after 3 years, and has been flowering since late Autumn. I’ve combined them in the vase with some native cultivars : leaves of the Cordyline ‘Magenta Rays’, and a pink flowered Tea Tree (Leptospermum).

cut flowers with cordyline Magenta Rays

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Bee loved Red Hot Pokers

The Red Hot Pokers are flowering (Kniphofia ‘Winter Cheer’) and this reminds me that last year I assumed that bees didn’t like them, because I hadn’t noticed any bees when I looked at the flowers. Others quickly mentioned that theirs were covered with bees. Sure enough, as the flowers start to go over the bees come in. It’s just a case of timing.

bee in kniphofia flower

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cut flowers with bees and hebes

In a Vase on Monday – Roses with Hebes and Dichroa

I picked some Hebes to remind me to plant more of them. At this time where the days are short and flowers are disappearing they are welcome food for bees and other pollinators, which made a *beeline* for the Hebes and Chrysanthemums in the bouquet.

roses hebes dichroa and chrysanthemum cut flowers

Hebes are a native NZ plant, so they are tough in our environment, growing well in windy sunny places. They do well on a bank, but don’t cope with wet soggy soils or too much shade. There are hundreds of different cultivars –  from the little green balls of the tiny Tom Thumb to large shrubs with exuberantly waving branches and long white flowers such as I have picked.

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In a Vase on Monday – mostly Salvias

Salvias and Chrysanthemums are the most prolific flowers in the garden now, and are beloved by the pollinators.

Salvia confertiflora made it clear that she would not share the stage with anyone in pink, so I have 2 vases, one with the pink Salvia involucrata ‘Bethellii’, ‘Boutin’  and ‘Mulberry Jam’ as well as the lovely scented rose ‘Nahema’.

salvia and roses cut flowers

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anemones dahlia and penstomon

In a Vase on Monday – Anemones with other pastels

It’s been another lovely Autumn weekend. Thankfully my finger was healed enough to get a big size glove over it and I was able to finish my garden tidy up and bulb planting. The Anemones are wildly flowering – a huge row of them all like soft cotton pleats and ruffles. And the first of my random seedling dahlias has flowered! Although it’s parent was a rather garish raspberry ripple this one is a smaller soft lemon and white. Probably nothing for the show bench but perfect for me.

dahlia and pelargonium cut flowers

In contrast to the wild colours in the garden right now, I’ve tried to keep the colours soft and quiet so as not to overpower the anemones. Pelargonium Appleblossom Rosebud which I used to have years ago, and recently got again from C’s aunt, who has a garden full of wonderful things, is doing brilliantly under the lime trees, so I picked quite a few of these.

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Breakfast for Bees

I was surprised the other morning as I walked around the garden listening and looking to see what the bees were enjoying most this week. Hundreds of bees were leaving and returning to the hive, ignoring the blazing mass of goldenrod, dahlias, coreopsis, and heleniums I have planted, not to mention the masses of wild carrot and thistles which have edged in to take advantage of the new compost.

The blue mist and the sedums down the driveway were happily filled with bumble bees, but not many honeys. When I arrived at the Louisa plum trees the reason was clear, fruit was the breakfast choice. On the tree and on the ground, the overripe and bird-pecked plums were full of bees. Not a wasp in sight, only bees.

bees on bird pecked fruit plums

I haven’t seen this before, but several things are different this year. We have had unusual cold weather – it’s now been now confirmed that it has been 1 degree colder than the norm this summer. We also have seen none of the Vespula wasps which often infest the area at this time of year. And it’s the first year that the Louisas have had a good crop of fruit.

Later in the day, as C was cooking second breakfast, the bees were having lunch in the asters.

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