"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Friday, 8 April 2011

Spring in the Garden

Spring has really taken off in the garden this week with the gloriously hot, sunny weather we are experiencing.

There are a lot of signs of nesting activity with blue tits regularly going in and out of the nest box, starlings and house sparrows collecting nest material, the wren collecting moss from the lawn and taking it into ivy on a wall at the side of the patio. The blackbird eggs hatched a few days ago and the adults are busy feeding young.

The blackbird nest can just be seen in the bamboo in the centre of the photo below (I was very careful when I took the photo to make sure the adults were foraging for food for the young in a different part of the garden).

I have seen several more orange tip butterflies in the garden today plus buff-tailed bumble bees and my first red-tailed bumble of the year.

There have been a lot of tawny mining bees (Andrena fulva) in the garden in the last week or so - I love these bees they have such pretty colouring and are entirely harmless.

These bees are solitary and build individual nests by digging holes in the ground to provide a safe haven for laying eggs and rearing young. Their nests shown above look like miniature volcanoes and I counted over 30 individual nests on just one of the smaller lawns.

I found it impossible to get a photo of the mining bee in the garden as they never seem to keep still!!! So here is a poor record shot of one I caught in the kitchen just before I released it which at least gives an idea of their colours.

We are still counting newts in the evening in the garden pond and have seen a total of 15 at the same time now!! No wonder I can't see any frog tadpoles!

The garden has lots of spring flowers



Daffodils are still flowering

Spiraea arguta or "Bridal Wreath"

I can never remember the name of this shrub which is full of yellow crysanthemum type flowers




There are lots of violets in various nooks and crannies

and Bluebells are starting to flower


Pete said...

lovely isn't it!! There was a blackbird in the garden and his beak was STUFFED FULL of nesting material!!

Ragged Robin said...

Yes, Pete it is lovely. I can never decide whether Spring or Autumn is my favourite season but at the moment it is definitely Spring :D. Its wonderful to see the returning migrant birds, nest building, spring flowers and the return of the flutterbies especially when the weather is so lovely.

blue roses said...

Hey, so I see you have a picture of those holes in the ground. I have those same holes in my garden and mistook them for ant hills. I was adding new soil and preparing it to plant some new sunflower seedlings I have grown, and a bee flew into my face! I think it was either the bee you have mentioned above, or it may be an ivy bee (there is lots of ivy in this area of my garden and sandy soil). Do you know if it will it upset/hurt the bees if I go ahead and plant the seedlings in this area? I'm worried that I covered their some of their holes too... I see that you said they are harmless, but nonethless, I am terrified of bees! Haha... What do you suggest? I rather not come face to face with one again...but my sunflowers need a place and maybe the bees will like them?

Ragged Robin said...

Hi - I must admit I am not an expert on bees! but I will try and help. If your bees are tawny mining bees they definitely will not sting and are really good pollinators so good for gardens. I think it only takes a couple of weeks for them to raise their young in a burrow under the hole so they won't be around for too long. I would just try and plant the sunflower seedlings if possible inbetween the bee holes so that the bees can still access their young. Hope that helps.

momv said...

I was looking up burrowing bees to show my friends because they don't believe I have harmless little bees all over my lawn. It was fun to see your blog. I'm from Salem, Oregon. Our little bees were out and about in great numbers this year, but they're already heading back into the ground. We won't see them again until next April, but is fun to see them each year.

Thanks for your blog,

Ragged Robin said...

momv - Thank you so much Terri for leaving a comment on my Blog.

Your comment has made me realise why this particular post is probable the most visited - people looking for burrowing bees :)

No sign of ours yet - its so cold over here. More like January than April but hopefully they will return soon - they are so fascinating to watch :)