Whitchurch Canonicorum, Blandford Forum, Toller Porcorum and Bombus Lucorum – all very Dorset names. Except the last of course. Here are a few of them, feasting on hyssop. The first one is launching himself on his way to the next stem.
The bees are working overtime as a chill spreads over September and winter downtime looms for them. So busy are they that there is competition for individual flowers – even though there are more than enough to go round. Bumbles were out in force yesterday, and there are still butterflies around, mainly tiny Small Coppers and Whites of different sizes.
We’ve done a quick assessment of plant popularity this spring and summer that produces this league table:
- Hyssop – the runaway winner for bees of many types, ditto butterflies and (new entry) moths. Planted for the first time in May, and has effortlessly thrived (throve? thriven?) to become Nectar Central.
- Lavender – perennial success with bees and butterflies. More planted this spring and very well visited.
- Cosmos – new to the garden this year, a fast and easy grower, and hugely popular with bees, especially bumbles. Also visited by honey bees and butterflies, but only on their way the the hyssop.
This year we had West Indian Woodpeckers using 2 nest boxes under the eaves.This successfully diverts them from drilling into the woodwork of the building. They raised two families this season, with 3 chicks fledging each time. Another nest box on a tree in the drive was not to their liking, and was quickly colonised by wild bees. The nearest small apiary – there are only two I know of on an island 120 miles long – is 15 miles away. These bees will never have known the luxury of a hive. I doubt they’d need or want it…
I photographed this sunset from our garden in Dorset a couple of evenings ago. In reality it was more dark pink than red, but by simply zooming directly at it the colour was altered dramatically. The second image is a simple crop of another photo taken seconds later, as the banding became clearer as the sun sunk below the horizon. It looks more like a planet. [NB No P/shop]