Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Happy Bee Watchers

Kitty is a woman with an enthusiasm for pollinator plants. She plants them in her garden so that the food gardens in her neighbourhood will flourish. They owe part of their success to her. It is no surprise that Kitty spent summers in the Outdoor School with her mother as a teacher. She knows how important bee plants are to the health of the ecosystem: "I look at grass and cedars and I see a dessert,"she says. With a small neighbourhood grant she is offering bee awareness workshops to the community at minimal cost. This Saturday she organized a lecture on honey bees by Brian Campbell and a bee walk.

Brian was in good form, with a polished and elucidating talk on apis mellifera, in which he finally helped me to understand some of the basics of bee genetics, which I'll explain in another blog post. In the mean time, come along with us on our walk through the neighborhood near Fraser and Broadway.

 It was not great weather for bee watching, but we took note of bee plants along the way like this salvia.

We bumped into a friendly neighbour who said if we wanted to see bees, we were welcome to check out the Styrax japonica in his back yard. It was humming with upside down bumble bees and I fell in love with the art-deco style blossoms. There's a house two doors down that has a honey bee hive, and the berries have been better ever since," he remarked.

 I love the little free box a local person has in their front yard. It's like a shelter for an icon.

Here are three bee plants that blossom in June with similar flowers: Number one is the white climbing rugosa rose.

 Number two is a single mock orange.

 Number three is a Himalayan Blackberry blossom.

 We saw an amazing number of California lilac bushes which really seemed to thrive in this neighbourhood, creating a good pollinator pathway for this time of the year.

After taking a look at the Urban Digs Community Garden, I headed home via La Consecha community garden which had good bee hedges with roses, oregon grape and mock orange.

Kitty will be organizing more bee awareness events, so stay tuned for more information and check out her blog: Happy Bee Gardens.

Also, if anyone knows what the purple flower is at the top of the post, I'd be much obliged!

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