Bees among the Shrubs
Is there anything lovelier than a bee among the roses?
Summer is here, even if we technically have another month of spring. Today is the last day of public school, and almost all the roses are finished blooming. Some will put out a few flowers throughout the next couple or three months, but they will be much smaller and there will be many fewer blooms on all but a couple of the shrubs than there were in April and early May. The bees will revel in the blooms they do find but are moving over to enjoy the black and blue salvia that is beginning its flowering now.
For a few years I had some Bluebeard shrubs (caryopteris) that the large bumble bees absolutely adored. In the mornings on the way out to the car to take the children to school, we would find tens of them sleeping on the blooms, small black balls with fuzzy yellow stripes clinging to the blue flowers while swaying in the gentle breeze. It looked like the aftermath of a costume/slumber party without the attendant pizza crusts and soda cans. A few others preferred the Mexican sage (salvia leucantha) that was in a warmer spot nearby. Some mornings we thought all the bees in the neighborhood had spent the night at our house.
The bee population has been under severe stress these last few years, but I'm happy to say that's not true at my house. We have bumble bees, honey bees, carpenter bees (yes, they drill holes in the facia boards and yes, I let them), along with wasps and other pollinators. I always have some flowers and some water for them. Sometimes they have to share with the hummingbirds.
We all get along just fine.