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.


Nancy Wallace said…
What beautiful roses.
I had not heard of 'carpenter bees'. In our (walled) garden we have 'wall bees' which drill into masonry.
Thanks, Nancy. These are hybrid musk roses called Erfurt.
Your wall bees must have really hard heads! Many folks find carpenter bees to be a nuisance, especially if they are drilling lots of holes in your deck or house. Mine come to the same couple of spots each year and make holes near the roof, so they are not a bother to me.
Ray Barnes said…
You paint a lovely picture Penny, but much as I love bees, carpenter bees are something else.
What will happen when your house falls to bits?
I suppose you'll move into the bee-hive!
Ha ha, Ray - fortunately, they aren't making my house fall to bits. Just drilling a few holes in a couple of pieces of wood. I patched the holes one year and they just drilled them again, so now I just leave them. They don't make extensive excavations and really the damage is minor, according to what I've read. And they are important pollinators - particularly for maypops (purple passion flower vine), which I love. So we coexist peacefully.

Also, I forgot to mention the leafcutter bees. They cut out very neat circles in the rose leaves to use for nesting material. They are also important pollinators.