Thursday, June 9, 2011

bees are back

 "Stella D'Oro" daylily today a visitor wallowed in it's pollen.

This morning I was up and out in the garden early to beat the heat. We are expecting a second day with heat index at 100-105ºF about the same as yesterday. I discovered that if I get up really early and go out it is cool and quite pleasant in the garden. I have been doing long walks this past week in the middle of the day and this past two days earlier in the morning. We have lots of shade trees in our area, huge old oaks and linden trees stand along most of the sidewalks.  I take full advantage of them for long walks.
Mornings I always do my journaling then a sketch of something in the garden and I take some photos before the sun comes over the house and "over lights" the flowers. Sunshine directly on them tends to "blow out" all the subtle colors and tones if it is shinning on the flowers. A tip for you flower photographers, get up early or go late in the day to the gardens you want to picture and your images will be more detailed.
Today I saw that we had a lot of bees in the garden. I can't resist trying to get a good shot of them when they are visiting our flowers. I have been shooting pictures of our beautiful tall hollyhocks over the last week. They are a biennial flower that means they have to grow for a one year before they flower the second year and go to seed and die. So it is a big event for a gardener to have the biennial bloom. Waiting two years for any flower is especially hard but thoroughly rewarding. We also have Mullein a kind of wild flower imported from Europe with the first settlers as a medicinal as well as yellow foxgloves and money plant that are all biennial. This is our first outstanding show from the hollyhocks. This one is a pure white with a fancy frilly flower. I was wondering if the pollinators could get into these frilly flowers to find something to pollinate and make seed. These hollyhocks have so many petals I could not see the sex organs. Today the bumble bees showed me where they are and how easy it is to get to them if, like them, you want their sweet nectar.
bumble bee on the white hollyhock 

bumble bee dives in to the center 

These bees and other small insects were visiting the mullein.

They were first noticed on the white swamp asclepia (milkweed) 

bumble bee in the upper right and two smaller creatures down to the left 
European honey bees from the bee hives at the local monastery visiting the orange asclepia (butterfly weed)

money plant's second year show of purple 

the money plant was a nice back drop for the bearded iris this year too! 

soft yellows of the foxgloves are also a biennial 

the glorious white hollyhocks

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