Buff tailed bumble bee

It’s good to see there are bees in the garden. There are plenty of nectar sources; among these are the pale pink blossoms on the blackberry vine which wends its way along the wall under the kitchen window. Already the petals are dropping as the fruits begin to form.

Bees go for purple flowers and we have quite a lot of these. The lavender, which they are strongly attracted to, is just coming into flower.

As a child I was scared to pass lavender bushes smothered in bees. Now I’ll happily lose time watching the bees at work on them, trying to ID them – usually not doing particularly well so I have to go indoors to refer to the bee chart we have on the wall.

Maybe I need a bee ID book…? (birthday present hint!).

 

Rhinoceros beetle

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This handsome hunk seems to have taken up residence on our patio decking. He falls down between the cracks sometimes, but climbs up and then upturns himself, legs flailing.

I’ve rescued him a couple of times and set him on his way in the nearby planter, which has woody-rooted Box shrubs for him to feel more at home with.

I found him a short while ago on the patio table which we’d abandoned in a hurry at lunch time when it pelted with rain. He’d waited until the rain cleared and was having a stroll across the table top.

He flew down to ground level but let me offer him a lift to greater heights so I could take this photo of him, then he flew off down again to get on with doing his own thing.

The female doesn’t have a horn, and the Latin name for this beetle is Oryctes nasicornis, the nasicornis bit sounding decidedly nasal!

Waterlilies

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The first waterlilies of the season have just opened to a rousing fanfare from me of “They’re here! The first this year.”

Our pond is always a source of interest and delight and has been even more so during these lockdown weeks, when we’ve had more time to appreciate our outdoor space and sit soaking up the sunshine and ambience in the garden. We are lucky, I know that.

Birdsong has become more audible with less traffic and almost no flights from and into Manchester airport, so empty skies have brought louder birdsong. The resident blackbird on our patch sits on nearby roof- and tree-tops singing beautifully, interspersing his song with a 4-note signature which he repeats quite often – and I reply, giving him something to cock his head to one side over and briefly ponder on before he’s off on the next riff of fabulous sounds.

But back to the waterlilies, which are a joy to behold and observe as they bud, then open and often attract visiting hoverflies, which alight on their petals.

Yellow

When we need a bit of brightness and sunshine, yellow is quite likely to be the colour we go for – maybe for clothes, paint to freshen up a room or as an accessory to an outfit.

It’s cheerful, bright, positive, clean, clear and is associated with the warmth of the sun.

I’ve heard it described as a “contact colour”. It attracts, is not forbidding and is the opposite of gloomy and dull (although muddy sulphurous yellows have a certain dark dinginess to them).

Main picture – Golden Anniversay rose in our garden (yes, I’ve been married that long!). Then clockwise – cowslip, evening primrose, dahlia-like flower in the Dordogne with carpenter bee, clouded yellow butterfly on scabious, unidentified wild flower in Texas (not the Yellow rose of Texas!) and flowering cactus in Texas.

 

 

There’s life in the old log yet

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This stump of a freshly felled tree in Anderton Nature Park caught my eye when walking there yesterday. It’s quite sad to see the remains of what must have been quite a large tree – maybe it had become diseased, maybe it was getting dangerous. We did hear the branch of a nearby tree creaking loudly and a bit alarmingly in the wind, as though it might have been loosening, ready to break off. We moved on sharpish!

The path took us through a wood full of past-their-best bluebells. Most of them were shrivelling and going to seed, but a few of the fresher and younger ones still looked magnificent. Right now the ground under the trees is carpeted with ramsens in full bloom, looking like soft white feathers.

The tree stump was surrounded by ramsens, and along with the ferns growing there they formed a wreath of green life, an appropriate memorial for a felled tree.