Tonight, after the excitement of Garter Day in Windsor, we came home, I changed out of my posh frock and we got back down to turf removal and planting, to add more pollinator friendly plants to the garden. Tonight we planted cornflowers, more snapdragons and oregano, and cleared more turf ready for further planting.
I also found time to follow some bees around the garden. They are so busy at the moment, and when you sit quietly, you can hear their noisy buzzing as they go about their business, moving quickly from flower to flower. They disappear right inside the foxgloves, not visible at all, until suddenly they back out and zoom to another flower. They love the blue alkanet and the catmint, the daisies, and are visiting our new area of planting too. It’s fantastic to watch them, they really live up to their reputation as busy bees.
Tonight, I gathered our Field Studies Council Bee ID chart, and the one we received from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust. I think I identified four different species of bees in our garden, in just the fifteen minutes or so that I spent watching them. We definitely have tree bumblebees, common carder bees and I think both white tailed bumblebees and buff tailed bumblebees, although they may all be one or the other species, but there are some differences between them. We also have honey bees visiting the garden, but they leave earlier in the evening than the bumblebees, who carry on working late into the dusk, so I didn’t see any tonight. Hopefully the new flowers will help support them all.
I’ve also worked out why the bees are visiting our plum tree leaves so much… they’re feasting on honeydew, a secretion from aphids, which I have found are in abundance on the bottom of some of the leaves. This is a bit of a worry, but the tree seems pretty healthy, and the bees are enjoying the extra sticky sweetness. I’ve made a note to order some ladybird larvae online to try to keep the aphid under control, but beyond that we won’t worry too much. Soon there will be plums enough for us all to enjoy!