Habits of the Unwatched Bee

Like many a gardener, my appreciation for insects was transformed when I began spending time around plants. I’m downright proud that so many plants in my yard have bees buzzing around them all day.

My impression has always been that the bees browse and linger over their meals.

But I’ve never tried to photograph them before.

Turns out they move all over the damn place.

My mad plan to photograph bees at a variety of flowers began while out for a walk this morning. A distant neighbor has a spectacular hedge of Matilija poppies (a southern California native plant), which tower ten feet tall, invade for a few weeks each year, then disappear. But I digress.

Anyway, I liked this bee. See it? On the yellow globe center of that Matilija bloom:

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So then I wanted more photos of flowers with bees. I kept my camera/phone ready, but for the rest of my walk, I saw nothing but yards devoid of bees. Why would bees ignore all those flowers? Perhaps those yards use pesticides?

(If only someone would invent something like the internet so I could investigate such questions.)

Back home, there were plenty of bees around my plants but. They. Would. Not. Hold Still.

I took a whole lotta photos and got two that sort of included bees. Can you spot the bee butt near the bottom of this photo?

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Zoom in he’s going to land no, wait, ahhh, there he goes…

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Perhaps my next photo project should involve snails.

(The WP Photo Challenge is Partners.)

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Local Color

Here in southern California, we didn’t have a winter. We had autumn, an extended spring, and now an early summer. In other words, we went from wildfire to pollen to smog season, skipping the mudslide/debris flow season this year.

They are subtle but we do have detectable differences from season to season. In the spring, the flowers have an intensity of color that they lose in summer, when it is too hot to be bright and everybody including flowers must fade and dim to survive the heat.

It is definitely still spring in the garden. The native sage is most brilliantly blue in the mornings before the sun hits:

Gray green leaves, purple-blue flowers, and a wondrous spicy fragrance - this sage has got it all!

Gray green leaves, purple-blue flowers, and a wondrous spicy fragrance – this sage has it all!

Spring is when this blue morning glory – a relentless, destructive weed – strengthens its hold on the neighborhood. The flowers are too lovely to remove:

Morning glory appears to encircle this aloe. By mid-summer, it will have strangled the aloe unless ripped away.

Morning glory appears to crown this aloe. By mid-summer, its vines will have strangled the aloe if allowed to remain.

No one knows where this morning glory begins, it snakes from yard to yard, along phone lines, across fences. I’ve even found runners in my dark, dry garage! It looks especially pretty with the bougainvillea, though, doesn’t it?:

Another year of morning glory invasion begins.

Another year of morning glory invasion begins.

As soon as the blooms wither, however, the vines must go, lest the rest of the garden vanish behind their twisting tendrils. Stylistically, the morning glory and kudzu have much in common.

Clearly my days as a plant nerd are over. I once knew the common and Latin names for this fellow, whose flowers glow even in brightest sunlight:

The ... er... purple one.

The … er… purple plant.

I don’t know what this flower is, either, but I have a better excuse. I discovered it in a neighbor’s yard today and have never seen one before. My guess is that it’s South African:

The... er... one with tall spikes of orange flowers.

The… er… one with tall spikes of orange flowers.

My Channel Island Bush Poppy is one of my favorite plants. It is not supposed to fare well in my hot inland location, yet mine is 15 feet high and wide. It blooms profusely and cheerfully every spring. Best of all, it requires neglect. If I water it, it will die. The plant made for me!:

Imagine these flowers filling your screen and your vision. That is the Spring experience near a Channel Island Bush Poppy.

Care for this one at its peril!

All this blogging about my garden makes me realize I am overdue to do some gardening… Well. Those that can, do. Those that don’t feel like it, blog.

The WP Weekly Photo Challenge wants to see “Spring”.