What’s Bloomin’

IMG_4425Hairy Beardtongue

IMG_4567Hairy Beardtongue

IMG_4423Blue Flag Iris

IMG_4286Horseradish

IMG_4280Prairie Smoke

IMG_4233Canada Anemone

IMG_4439Red Clover

IMG_4265Wild Black Raspberry

IMG_4568Comfrey

IMG_4571Yellow Devil’s Paintbrush (Yellow Hawkweed)

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Bee Happy !

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Our alternate leaf Dogwood was flowering the other day, and was just humming with bees. It has a heavy pollen load and was particularly popular with the smaller native bees. Some bumble bees were around, but few honey bees.¬† I thought I’d try a bit of a photo survey of the bees that were out and about on some of the plants that are in flower right now. Some I could identify, a few I’m just guessing at.

IMG_4232Sweat Bee (Halictidae, Halictinae, Halictini): Augochlora pura ?

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GUESS: ??

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GUESS: Leaf-Cutting Bee (Megachilidae, Megachilinae, Megachilini)

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An Impersonator: Syrphid Fly

I love seeing the big queen bumble bees at this time of year. They’re so big you can see the down draft from their wings kicking up particles from the ground or moving leaves. And the honey bees, well they just have their heads in the flowers !

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Bumble Bee (Apidae,Apinae, Bombini) on Red Clover

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Bumble Bee on Wild Black Raspberry

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Honey Bee (Apidae, Apinae, Apini) on Comfrey

Garden Update Spring 2014

It was a cold winter and this spring has been a steady but seemingly slow climb towards warmer temperatures. The garden is in pretty good form so far and I was busy in early May planting fruit trees and bushes. Woo-hoo !! We now have four trees: peach; plum; apricot; plumcot. Also, two chum bushes and six black raspberry canes were added. All came from Whiffletree Farm.

IMG_4290In the photo you can also see another spring project; my mini Benjes Hedge. It was a great way to use the trimmings from a large Manitoba Maple on the property. I hate to loose any organic matter ! I’ve planted some climbing nasturtiums along it which will hopefully lessen the number of stares from passers-by.

We’ve already started enjoying a few pickings from the veggie garden. Radishes, baby Red Russian kale, cilantro, multiplier onions, rhubarb, as well as herbs have been gracing the table. Peas are looking promising and should be bearing in a few weeks. The heat lovers have been put in as starts (tomatoes and peppers) or direct seeded (cucumbers and zucchini). Spring turnips have lots of greens but are a bit slow bulbing up. I suspect the phosphorous levels in the soil still aren’t ideal. The garlic, despite a slow start, is being its usual dependable self. We almost made it through the year with our home grown garlic, but fell short by a dozen or so heads. This year I hope to have more than enough !

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Like Magic the Merlins Are Back !

Ok, I’m a little behind the times. Last year a pair of Merlins arrived in the neighborhood. This April they returned ! There is a rather tall dead tree at the end of our block which they like to use as a perch, in the beginning of the season anyway. Now in early June I only hear them infrequently so I’m guessing that they found a nesting spot a little further away. Merlins are small falcons and having a raptor in the area makes it feel a little bit more wild ! Better pictures and recordings can be found here : Dendroica.

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