Sunday, August 23, 2009

Late Summer Flowers for Honey Bees

I have made notes in my bee journal on the flowers that I see honey bees are visiting for nectar and pollen. From about July 1 to August 1, the Sourwood trees were flowering, providing nectar. Since then, I have spotted honey bees on field and garden flowers.

Honey Bee on Knapweed (Brown?)

In late July, I photographed honey bees on this knapweed which covered a pasture in a nearby county. I had been pulling up this alien plant where I have found it so now I am rethinking that because this plant seems to provide a good source of nectar and pollen. After my bee sighting, I went up to our pasture (about 3 years since it has been brushhogged). It took awhile but I did find a few honey bees on the knapweed but not on the brown-eyed susans and Queen-Anne's Lace that were also there.

In nearby Blacksburg, I saw honey bees on Russian Sage (and earlier in the summer on lavender) which prompted me to buy a couple of the Russian sage plants at the local Home Depot. While I was there, I noticed honey bees on purple coneflower, yellow jackets on penta flowers, and flies on another flowering plant. It's wierd that the bees have changed the way I garden. I think about what my bees might like to have!

In front of my dog vet's office, I saw honey bees on an unfamiliar shrub while they seemed to ignore all the other flowers in his great garden. When I went back to pick up my dog, the vet handed me two pots with cuttings from the shrub and the name: Blue Mist BlueBeard.

Blue Mist Bluebeard (Caryopteris clandonensis)

This shrub also is not native but does not look like it is invasive either so I think I can plant it in my yard. Now that the weather is finally sunny and not so hot today, I will go out and look for more honey bees.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Mushroom Weather

It rained so much in July I didn't water my garden once. Although the weather kept me inside, I did manage to get in a few walks in the woods (paying for it with chiggers and mosquito bites).

Orange Pinwheel Marasmius (Marasimius rotula)

This tiny mushroom (cap only about 3/8") had just emerged on a slope by the driveway.

When I came back up the driveway after the walk, I noticed a clump of the same mushrooms illuminated by sunlight. They are so cute--they look like you could put one in a mixed drink.

The rainy weather also brought out parasitic plants.

Indian-Pipe (Monotropa uniflora)

This plant sprouts up in the mulch around trees. It's probably not hurting anything but feeding on the decaying plant material.

The wet weather also brings out the box turtles. My husband brought this huge box turtle up from the road because he was sure someone would run over it. A few days later, the same turtle was seen near my blackberry patch. I tossed a few blackberries on the ground and he started eating them. So, I rushed in the house to get my camera. Having finished his snack, he was headed into the briars but I think you might still see the blackberry juice on his face!