Bumblebee Beacons

The one the lure of Echinops flowers to bees…


July is almost over already, and seems to be going out on a moody note. For its last week, the weather has chosen to treat us to downpours, grey skies and a cooler feel to see out the month, with occasional interludes of hot sunshine.

In the garden the weather does nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of bumblebees on the echinops, an ornamental thistle. This tall, butch perennial is reaching its peak of glory now and even on overcast days, bumblebees can be seen in good numbers on the steely-blue stars arrayed in globes atop the Echinops.

On a dull day the flowers of this plant can seem to glow in the gloom and certainly they must shine out as beacons to bees judging by the number working methodically over its starry orbs. I suspect this is one of those plants which strongly reflects ultra-violet light, a wavelength that pollinating insects and certainly bees look to guide them.

It doesn’t seem long since I was writing my daily blogs in June for 30 Days Wild and having taken a break from the challenge I am keen to get back to the WordPress dashboard and break the blog-fast. Of course it was not the finding of daily mindful moments in nature that posed a particular difficulty, for nature is all around us even in urban environments when we take notice. Rather the challenge was to take one of those momentary experiences each day and translate it into something meaningful and, I hope, interesting for the reader. A handy run-down of all my posts during the #30DaysWild challenge in June can be found in my previous blogpost. I would welcome your feedback as I have never tried a personal daily blog before and it was hard work!

So now that I have come back to the keyboard (or touch screen at least) I wonder what I should realistically aim for over a longer period. I think a post at least once per month should be quite achievable. Of course one feels that when it is less frequent, then it behoves the blogger to write of more momentous things than when tapping out some everyday musings. I hope that this won’t be a mental block to a regular-ish

blogging habit and trust that topics will come to mind that are both informative and enjoyable to read. May I just say thank you at this point for reading and encourage you to comment if you have any feedback on my blog posts so far and what you have enjoyed most.

Bramble is the Bees Knees

The one about the tree bumblebees nest and a bounty of bramble flowers.

#30DaysWild #day12

On Monday I got a lift from a colleague to a meeting and he picked me up from Station Car park in Stamford Bridge. I made sure to be there 10 minute early so I could check out the wildflower bank we showed last autumn at the edge of the Old Station Club patio and they are really looking a picture.

What took me by surprise and it was a delightful one, was the quantity of blushing pink flowers on the brambles adjacent to the Sports Hall (former railway good shed – the railway heritage is now featured on smashing interpretation board by the aforesaid wildflower bank). The brambles seemed to be at their peak of flowering and there were bees galore. Furthermore, just opposite in the fabric of the sports hall building itself there must be a substantial social bumblebee nest, probably Tree Bumblebee I’m thinking (Bombus hypnorum). They were ‘dancing’ around the ventilation ports in the fascia board, just like I’ve seen tree bumblebees do around an old birds nest box.

I would like to share a video of the bees; which I will post on The 30 Days Wild Facebook group. This blog site, being the free version of WordPress doesn’t support video unless I pay the premium version, which I’m not ready to do yet. I am a Yorkshireman don’t forget. Anyway my pics are only hurried as my lift turned up and I had a great conversation on the way to our meeting about bees, pollinators, community gardening and ‘Bloom group’ projects.