Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Got pollen?

My yard is teeming with hummingbirds and pollinators this week, so I went outside to look more closely at why they are coming. I counted over a dozen perennial shrubs and flowers in bloom, each one covered in insects seeking either pollen (a protein source) or nectar (a carbohydrate source). Here are a few of the friends I found. Sorry I couldn't catch a hummingbird picture! Check out the purple pollen all over the head and thorax of that honey bee.

Most of these perennials are less than 3 years old, and all are less than 5 years old. It is amazing what a difference it can make to add some practically zero care (at least in my yard) shrubs and flowers to the landscape. I grow only perennials; I know I don't have the time or patience needed to buy and plant annuals each year (although they are beautiful in the gardens of others). I have had perennial flowers of some sort in bloom every day since the paperwhites started in January. That should give me a good start on beneficial insects, who thrive in environments where there are flowers blooming over long periods of time.

Speaking of patience: I think mine may have paid off. I have been relying on a combination of sloth and patience to keep me out of Dolly's hive, which was looking a little weak. Yesterday Dolly's hive had a good sized orientation flight at the front of the hive. That means the new, post swarm queen was able to mate, come home, and lay eggs, and that those new bees now have worked their way up from housekeeping and nurse bees to foragers. Maybe I will have 3 hive make it to fall. I certainly hope so.