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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

To Bee or not to Bee

(The garden as it looked last night. Lots of pollen and nectar to be had.)

Bumble bees have always been like jewels in my garden.

Luckily, I'm not allergic to any stings. In fact, two years ago I stepped on a wasps nest and was stung 12 to 15 times on my legs. Although I was in severe pain, I only experienced some shakiness for the first few hours and that was most likely due to shock.

When my daughters were little my dad would come over and show them how to pet a bumble bee. He'd look for the tall stalks of Liatris. Sure enough by late afternoon they'd be studded with drunken bees and you could gently take your finger and stroke their back.

(Bees aren't all that like Liatris. Every garden should have waves and waves of this plant.)

The only time anybody has been stung by a bumble bee here is when they were walking barefoot over the clover.

(Besides on clover, I always find bees on the bloom stalks of lambs ears (Stachys byzantine)

Our local paper has carried a number of articles this year about the sudden collapse of bee hives. This is a huge problem for the entire world and I hope they figure out what is causing this disaster. That being said, yesterday I found a nest of bumble bees!

(Can you say "Cheese" little bee?)

Our sprinkler system is all on one zone but there's a strip of pop up heads along the driveway that needs to be turned on with this little valve. The valve is in a nice neat hole in the ground with a good hard cover. Many times I keep that cover off because that hole seems to be the perfect hole for every creature in the garden. Two years I found chipmunks in there, this past winter there was a family of mice or voles in there and now, there's a ground nest of bees.

I wasn't sure if they were bees until I read about them at These guys fit the profile perfectly. Since the nest is an annual event, I'm going to leave it bee (ha!). There are no tours coming through the garden this year and if people come over I'll just cover the hole so nobody disturbs the bees. I tried like crazy to get their picture yesterday as they buzzed across the tops of my Spirea but they just wouldn't hold still and pose for the camera.

Off to water,


Robin said...

What lovely pictures. Your flowers and gardens are beautiful. I have some liatris that is about to bloom, and would like to have more. I love the shot of yours with the butterfly, it's stunning.

Melanie Vassallo said...

Robin, Thanks for the kind comments. I visited your blog and it's just wonderful!


Xris said...

Lovin those gardens. The long border at the top is great. And the trio of coreopsis, evening primrose, and lamb's ears is perfect. I've never seen those three plants in combination, and they work great together.

Rosy said...

I really like your blog, your pictures are great and how did you ever get that butterfly to hold still long enough for his/her picture to be taken? Each time I make an attempt at snapping a picture of a butterfly often I would just get a blur or them flying off. :(

This is my first visit to your nice blog.

Anne said...

Kudos to you for your appreciation and love for bugs! I never knew about petting bumblebees but will try it if i get a chance. Around my garden, they love the little cassia tree, the rosemary, and the buddleia.