14 Sep 2016

Wildlife Wednesday: searching for late summer nectar

Bee on Scabious

There aren't so many bees in the garden now - compared to the height of summer.  But a steady drone on a warm still evening is very heartening to hear.  The lavender bushes have only a few fresh flowers now but the bees are still finding what's left, as well scabious, comfrey and herb flowers.  The top favourite at the moment seems to be verbena - I have both V. bonariensis and V. hastata growing among the veg here.  The taller V. bonariensis is a bit of a nuisance as it's getting slightly floppy but well worth it for the pollinators it's attracting to the garden.

Yesterday evening here in London, the warm and still evening air could almost make me believe I was holidaying in the Mediterranean somewhere.  
I hope the weather is being kind to you wherever you may be gardening this week!

24 comments:

  1. Gorgeous pic, Caro. The bees and hoverflies are still busy round these parts - scabious, tithonia, ammi, cosmos, verbena are the favourites, although the garden is so dry that the flowers are fading fast. It's another scorching day - I've started wishing for rain! Sam x

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    1. Thanks, Sam. It was such a lovely evening to lurk in the garden with my camera. I must grow Cosmos next year, I always mean to but somehow never find the space for them. My water butts (dustbins!) are almost empty here so getting out all the hoses and watering the garden is one of my tasks this morning. Evening watering is out as slugs and snails are having a field day with my remaining veg! x

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  2. While you were enjoying your high temperatures and wall to wall sunshine yesterday, we had thunder, lightning and torrential rain!

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    1. Oh no! I was about to say poor you but, actually, torrential rain would be most welcome here to save me watering the garden! So perhaps a blessing in disguise. I hope your weather isn't on the way to us for tomorrow as I've got a garden visit planned!

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  3. A mixture of sunshine and rain here yesterday, so no watering required at the moment. The artichokes down at the allotment are covered in bees, they really are one of their favourite things. Fingers crossed for good weather for your garden visit tomorrow. The forecast is hopeful. CJ xx

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    1. The forecast is indeed hopeful, CJ - if it's true then I should have good weather tomorrow followed by rain on Friday morning and sunshine in the afternoon. The garden here is desperate for rain. I should water but it takes a couple of hours and there never seems to be the time as I have to hook up so many hosepipes! I love to see bees on artichokes, the flowers are so beautiful. I didn't grow any this year but some plots at the allotments still have a few. Caro xx

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  4. It's lovely isn't it? A little summer in the midst of September :)

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    1. Oh I wish it would continue like this, yesterday evening was heavenly, so warm and yet not sticky. Perfect evening weather. Now if only there was a pool nearby .... :o)

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  5. Re the Verbena Bonariensis: I pinched out my plants before they got very tall, and this has caused them to produce lots more sideshoots, each tipped with a flower. I think I will do this again next year. Of course it is only practical if you have a small number of plants.

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    1. That's a great tip, Mark, thank you! Do your verbenas behave like perennials? Mine came back from last year's planting so I'm hoping the trend will continue. It's such a beautiful plant to have in the garden .. and I'll definitely be following your advice!

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  6. Steamy here today but forecast to be all over by the weekend. Cosmos is sensational on an allotment plot near mine. Six huge clumps of a red and pink variety (possibly Sonata -I'll ask when next I see her gardening). They were all smothered in humming bees this afternoon.

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    1. Oh let's hope that it's not over by the weekend! I'm not quite ready to get my woolly jumpers out of storage! I'm definitely growing cosmos on the allotment next year, and probably white cosmos in the middle garden. I love the look of them but so great that they're attractive to pollinators. Let me know if you find the name of your plot neighbour's cosmos!

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  7. Good picture. I did some plotting on Monday but not since as it's been too hot for me. Flighty xx

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    1. Thank you Flighty. As usual it was an entirely serendipitous moment - a lucky capture as the bees are fairly swift in the garden these days. I haven't been out in this heat as I've had quite a bit to get through indoors but it's lovely to have an extension to the summer. Climate change at its best!

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  8. Hi Caro. That's a lovely photograph! The weather in Buxton has even been glorious! Long may it last (I think I have one more day then it drops substantially)! Bees here are loving the mint, sedum and Ammi, all are smothered in mainly bumblebees, not as many honey bees in these parts this year! Hope you've had a lovely warm day today. Simone

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    1. Hi Simone, thank you! So pleased that you've had some good weather up your way, especially if it means that you and your daughter have been able to get into the garden. My mint has also just flowered, lovely long white spikes which the bees are all over. :o) I wish I could identify bees more accurately, I see quite a variety of them here. Yayy, my biodiverse garden plan must be working! I'm enjoying this September warmth more than the summer heat, it doesn't feel as fierce! Enjoy your garden while this warmth lasts! Caro x

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  9. Our verbena behaves as a perennial as well as self sowing new plants.

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    1. Ah, that's good to know, Sue. I'd read that they're annuals and assumed it was the mild winter we had here last year. I've seen a verbena growing in the pavement cracks so I'd better be more vigilant about seedlings!

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    2. The ones that we have in the garden were originally self sown seedlings from plot planted specimens. I kept finding them on the plot and transferred them to the garden. They can certainly establish themselves in any tiny crack. I noticed that one is establishing itself in a crack in a neighbours drive - Oops.

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    3. I'm hoping for seedlings that I can transplant, Sue. I think if I pulled out the plant in the paving, I'd shred the roots, but it would be great to have lots of verbena in the middle garden under my window.

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  10. My verbena seems to believe it is a perennial, and also self seeds all over the place!! I love it despite the tendency to flop because it is smothered in bees and occasional butterflies. I never get good photos of them though - great capture Caro! I also have cosmos and simple dahlias and rudbeckia, all still attracting bees. I love the constant buzzing, long may it continue.

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    1. I really hope that my verbena thinks it's a perennial - I guess that will depend on what sort of winter we have this year. There's not much space for the plant to self seed into as the veg patch is surrounded by concrete paving (hence the seedling in the pavement crack!). Cosmos is a definite for next year and I noticed lots of bees on dahlias during my garden visit yesterday.

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  11. I've had the same verbena bonariensis plants going for over three years now. I prune them back in Spring and they get bushier every year. (The rabbits do their bit as well.) It doesn't stop them flopping about this time of year though. Perhaps I've positioned them somewhere it's too breezy.
    Rain and mugginess, very little sun. I was amused by all the 'hottest day' and 'heatwave' reports. The media are so south east centric!!

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    1. The weather reports were bang on here yesterday and today, Jessica. Hot hot weather in Essex + London (not great for taking garden photos) and lots of rain and thunder in the night. I do love a good thunderstorm and the sound of falling rain was just delicious! Thanks for the verbena tip, I'll prune mine back in Spring next year.

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Caro x

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