In a window of sunshine amid clouds and rain last weekend we opened the beehives. Beresford’s hive was full of brood, with only a bit of honey left. Luckily we were prepared for this as it was exactly what our beekeeping friend had thought might happen, so we gave the hive sugar water and pollen substitute. This seemed to go down well.
After last year’s loss of the queen and decimation of the hive, I was feeling a little nervous when we opened the hives at the start of Winter in late May. There was almost no brood, and less honey than we had expected. So it was a great relief when our bee keeper friend showed up unexpectedly and offered to check out the hives.
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.
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.
Sometime during the winter our bee queen passed away. Seeing no brood we worried, but we read online that sometimes Italian Queens were slow to start laying in Spring. Then we saw erratic egg laying with several eggs in each cell, but we read online that this sometimes this happens with young queens.
While I was busy harvesting Tomatoes and Corn and Kumara the bees were harvesting pollen to feed new bees and nectar for honey to keep them going through the winter. Continue reading “Plants for Bees in Late Summer and Autumn”
Work has kept me away from the garden and the blog over the last few weeks, and I’ve returned to a brutal storm with wind tearing branches away and the rain gauge showing around 4 inches of rain ( 120 mm ) most of which has probably fallen in the last week. I assume that the bees are hunkered down like I am inside. Continue reading “Flow Hive ready for Winter”
Artichokes, scarlet runner beans, pumpkin, zucchini, tomatillos and other vegetables, herbs, and flowers were full of bees in January.
Scarlet runner beans are so pretty and useful. This year I collected the mature beans to try as dried beans, since they get past it so quickly. The dried beans are very pretty, but I have yet to taste them.
Oregano flowers are extra popular.
Each month I’ve tried to photograph the most popular flowers for bees and bumble bees. Summer was a blur of growing and harvesting which is slowing now so I can post some of them.
Soldier poppies, California poppies and some of the later perennial poppies continued into December and later and were often full of bumble bees which blended so well and buried themselves so deep they often looked like part of the flower.
Salvias, Tithonias, and Dahlias are the stars of the Autumn garden. The bees love them, so I took only a few of the Salvia mexicana and mixed them with purple Salvia officinalis and variegated sage leaves. Continue reading “In a Vase on Monday – Salvia”
Well, first of all I have to admit to being wrong about bees and Jerusalem Artichokes. We had another storm and quite a few of the tall flowers were blown over, including one of the Cannas in my vase. With the Jerusalem Artichokes at a height I can see, and possibly now that they are more developed, they are attracting all sorts of creatures.
Including lots of bees.
So, anyway, I’ve picked a fallen over Canna, ‘Australia’, which has dark purple leaves and a Canna Indica warszewiczii which has dark purple stems and green leaves, and some of the stalwart Fuschia ‘Gartenmeister Bonstedt’ which has been flowering since before Christmas. It has purple stems and the backs of the leaves are purple, although that’s not very evident in the photo. While I was taking the photo in the last of the light the neighbour’s cows came up to have a good look while eating their dinner, and a couple volunteered to be Easter cows. So then I got distracted by them and ran out of light entirely and had to come inside.
Thanks to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden who hosts this meme.