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Are you still seeing bumblebees O ldchippy? I haven't seen any since the
first frost here and I don't think I have any hibernating in my bee box .
I think you ll find hibernate in winter.
Thanks Flowering Rose.....Thought I'd sent this earlier to you....too
much red wine again!!
Not much in flower now although I did see a small bumble bee yesterday. There were quite a few queen wasps yesterday too looking for somewhere to hibernate. The favourite plant for early bees( I saw one in January this year) is the winter flowering honeysuckle (lonicera fragrantissima). Bullfinches destroy the flowers but it's lovely to see those too.
My hellebore Winter Bells has three flowers on.
Not seen any bumblebees for a couple of weeks. Seen the occasional wasp.
Still got flowers on Scabiosa Barocca, but no insects bothering with it.
Mahonia Charity is full of flowers, but not in an accessible place for me to check out wildlife. The birds are going down the feeders rapidly so I think they currently prefer a "ready meal" rather than finding their own.
Bess will come out to feed any time the weather is warm enough - some are still around now when the sun shines. Ivy is an important food plant for them at the moment. I've also seen bees on the white flowers of Fatsia, and in the clematis (Freckles). It's surprising what they can find at any time of year.
Fascinating about the change in habits of bumblebee- must have a good look if we get a nice day. I have mahonia, viburnum bodnantense and fragrans and coronilla in full flower and other small bits and pieces hanging on
I have also been thinking about these delightful bees and planning for a Spring garden which my garden has somewhat lacked until now!
I have started with several types of crocus all known for early pollen and planted the bulbs under my lawn alongside Snakes Head Fritillaries, about 300 bulbs if memory serves me right!
Camassia is another early flowering bulb which Spring Bumblebees will feed on, so again I have planted plenty of bulbs around our garden which stays wet through winter but dries rock hard in summer. This is actually good conditions for Camassia so they should hopefully naturalise given time I hope. Again I have planted three different varieties to try and establish the best one for bees.
My winter garden has now highlighted a few gaps which will need filing so I will take a few tips from here to see what I can stick in!
Nice blog higgy
I recommend Pulmonaria rubra for early bees. It's in flower already and will still be flowering when the other pulmonarias open up.
Liked your blog too, Higgy.
I saw a bee two days ago on the winter flowering honeysuckle. The bees loved it last year too and I often saw them on sunny days in the winter. Bullfinches were attracted to it too last year and stripped every flower off but it was good to see them too.
Thank you so much for the kind words nutcutlet and Pam they are appreciated.
As you will have guessed I am a bit passionate about the wildlife that visits and resides in the garden and always find the discovery of new residents somehow flattering!
Nutcutlet, Thanks the tip with the Pulmonarias, I have been attempting to find some for my Spring time garden and will keep Rubra in mind. My biggest problem is actually trying to find somewhere that sells them for a reasonable price as my recent searches on the internet turn up expensive plants with an extra large charge for posting!
Do you have any ideas where I can find Rubra and buy a few of them without needing to take out a second mortgage?
Bowles Red is a rubra cultivar. I think that's what mine is.It does the job for the bees
Brilliant, thanks I'll have a look at this but ebay only threw up a few when I searched yesterday and they were expensive with the same again on top for postage!
I'll have a look via this link anyway
Thanks Nutcutlet, I just bought their last plant!!
Nice timing higgy
We have two mahonias, a chimonanthes, two lonicera fragrantissima which sustain quite a few bumble bees (and other small bees) through most of the winter. It's great seeing them scrambling round the lonicera which are right outside the back door.
Rosemary, I grew chimonanthus from seed, years ago, still waiting for a flower. Is it always out right in the middle of winter or is this early?
I have nothing looking like swelling flower buds, I wonder if it will ever flower.