Secrets of an English Garden Week 16

Bees, Butterflies and an ancient plant species.

May 21st — May 27th

I’m always very excited when there are lots of pollinators in the garden. I love the hum of the bees as they flit from flower to flower, busy in the warming air as we head towards summer.

This year I’m taking much more notice of the kinds of bees that visit. It’s a bit of hard work identifying each one as males, females and queens all have differing markings, not to mention the possibility of mimics such as cuckoo bees.

The Chives look wonderful at the moment and are the biggest attraction. The two main visitors at the moment are Red Tailed bees and Buff tailed bees.

The top picture is of a Carder Bee. There are several species of Carder bee and they can appear quite variable.

Another great pollinator is the Hoverfly. There are thousands of species so I’m not attempting to identify this wasp mimic. He’s harmless as he has no sting and will benefit the garden as the larvae eat insects such as Aphids.

The varieties of plants continue to increase with Purple Vetch, Buttercup and Star Headed Liverwort.

Liverworts are very strange looking. The male and female reproductive bodies erupt directly from the leaf like structures.

Liverworts are very common and have been around for about 400 million years. They are relatives of mosses. My garden is very damp in the shade of a very high stone wall allowing this specimen to thrive on the soil of a potted plant.

A less welcome visitor is this Harlequin Ladybird. I love ladybirds generally but this invasive species is something of a cannibal of other ladybirds, reducing the number of our natural types.

Finally, the latest visitor, a Large White butterfly. I love the soft blue colour of the top half of the body.

Award winning Artist and Photographer still learning and evolving. Blogging the journey.

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