Sunday, June 19, 2016

Bee-Watching at the Devonian Gardens

 My friend Sue and I visited the Devonian Gardens, just 15 minutes out of Edmonton. Since it's on the way to the airport, it was very convenient to visit on the way home. One of the plants that attracted the most varieties and numbers of bees was thyme, planted in carpets all through the main garden. These carpets provide important pollinator pathways throughout the gardens.

I don't think the pollen this honeybee has collected is from the thyme, but she is definitely topping up on nectar here.

This mystery mint was very popular with the bumblebees. It was difficult to find some of the labels.

There was a nice collection of columbines here in the shade. I think they look best mixed up like this.

 This aesthetic, introduced at the entrance to the garden was common throughout the site, with an emphasis on xeriscape plants. I'm excited that shrubby penstamon in hardy to this zone. It's such a beautiful bumblebee plant. In the background of this photo you can see some children dressing as bugs, bees and butterflies for a special family program in the garden.

So this is the silver lupin that is native to the prairies. It's gorgeous.

 In the foreground you'll see a species of plantain that was attracting bees.

 These chives by the lake were the largest I've ever seen!

 Here's some milkweed from by favorite part of the garden, the native Alberta plants.

 Slopes entirely covered in pebbles--not so great for ground nesting bees.

Gardens with patches of bare soil were covered with ground-nesting bees.

There were lots of leafcutter bees on these asters. I like the combination with the seed heads of the pulsatilla.

 This hardy yellow rose reminds me of my grandma May, who had them in her garden in Luseland, Saskatchewan.

I think this Assiniboine rose is what I was seeing all over Edmonton, full of bumblebees.

Don't you think this would be the perfect place for a princess-themed birthday party?

Here are some nets, ready for kids to play with bugs.

 This dainty plant is blue woodruff.

 I'm curious whether the colour variation in the Veronica is two cultivars side by side.

And it seems this Veronica is mislabeled as Salvia. No?

Sue snaps photos of some Canada Geese goslings.

The Japanese garden is tranquil, but eerie. No bees. It's too manicured and lacking in bee forage.

Only there were some swallowtail butterflies dancing on the irises.

What a treat to finally visit a garden I have passed by so many time since my childhood, always imagining it was a garden based on the Devonian geological era! I can't wait to return.

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