Experience is a brutal teacher. But you learn, my God, do you learn.

-C.S. Lewis

Stream In January

Stream In January

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

What's Blooming?

Summer is quickly leaving the mountains. There are signs of fall all around and I, for one, am happy. So many people say to me, "You must love summer, because you garden." And I say "I do." But I'm always ready for fall. Time to wind down, put the garden to bed, anticipate the fragrance of the first fire in the fireplace and enjoy the fall color that is so spectacular here in the mountains.

I have tried during the summer season to keep a photo journal of the plants that the bees have foraged on most heavily. I will post those photos soon. The trees that have been most important to the bees were the tulip poplar, locust and sourwood. All have now quit blooming so the workers are having to rely on the remaining flowers in bloom.

The following photos are of Autumn Joy Sedum. On sunny afternoons you can hardly see the blooms it is so covered with bees. Earlier during the summer the Lamb's Ear was by far the most popular plant for the girls, but I think the sedum has taken the lead for the most favorite. The sweet fragrance is attractive to me. I can see why the bees are loving it.

This is bronze fennel. It is covered in pollen and the bees are also working it quite vigorously. In the background are our native sunflowers. They are all over the garden and a source of food for the bees and the goldfinch. Sometimes they bend over almost to the ground because there are so many finch feeding on the seed. Also in the background is bee balm. It turned out to be a more important source of food for bumblebees, butterflies and hummingbirds than for the honeybees, but it will remain in my garden because of those bees and birds plus I love the color and the fragrance. It's long since past it's prime and will go in the compost pile this weekend.

I realized this morning as I strolled through the garden that I cater to my bees much like I did my children when they were growing up. Whatever the bees need, I will try to give them. We live on a stream so they always have a supply of fresh mountain water. There are also several birdbaths and a fountain in the yard and I can always see bees on them. They prefer the running water in the fountain. There is a nice electric fence protecting them from the bears as they rest in the evening. (I hope.) I don't love lamb's ear because of it's shaggy flowering habit, but I spent the first part of the week transplanting lamb's ear so the bees will have plenty for next season. I could pull up half of the bee balm and still have enough to share with half the county, but I won't do it. In fact, I transplanted more this week. Same thing with the borage that self-seeded all over the garden. If it had a bee on it, and it always did, I left it. Thankfully, it's done and already in the compost. The list could go on.

Yeah, I'm crazy, but my bees have rewarded me with some beautiful tulip poplar and sourwood honey. But more than that, the honeybees, along with everything else that flies in my garden space, have given me a peace that I've never before experienced in my many years of gardening.

One of my favorite stepping stones says "How lovely is the silence of growing things". My garden is not silent. It hums with life.

1 comment:

Barbara's Spot on the Blog said...

I smiled when I read about the 'hum of life' because that's what I enjoy when the neighbour's lawnmowers and blowers finally fall silent - is to listen to the sounds of the garden :)

I love sedum too and cut pieces of it to plant elsewhere in the garden. It's so simple to propagate that it's a real treat to have.

Your bees look great.