Sunday, May 31, 2009

Bumble Bees in Bleeding Hearts

I like the semi-industrial spaces in Vancouver, especially when the artists use these liminal spaces to practice their various forms of creative expression, kind of like urban pollinators working in the spaces between busy roads and concrete warehouses. There are loads of studios around Clark and Porter, and some quirky little garden spaces that are droning with native bumble bees. If you look very closely at the photo above you can see a little bumble bee looking for nectar in these bleeding heart flowers. This shady little oasis is very close to the extremely busy thoroughfare of Clark Street. I had a very inspiring walk around the neighbourhood.

At the side of this building, which is painted a fresh green-gold color is a lovely xeriscape garden that is fantastic for bees. They love this variety of Spanish lavender.

This silvery sage fits is very well next to the lavender foliage.

Look at the color relationship here with the blossoms and the stucco.

I was also struck by the yellow color of this studio.

It's picked up and repeated with the yellow school buses that are parked here when they are resting.

Some of the curbside gardens in this neighborhood have been very carefully sculpted.

This cat is the personification of summer relaxation--stretched out flat in the cool shade of a balcony. I want to do that!

I am intrigued by mosaic park, but it offers little in the way of bee forage.

These curbside gardens are fantastic, and I like the way the mosaic motif with picked up in the colors of the flowers.

Look at the varying shades of these simple poppies and the way they all catch the sun.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Swimming in Pollen

The bees are really coming out in force now. This is one of my favorite times of the year in Vancouver because so many things are blooming and it's not so bloomin' hot. This little visitor was swimming in the pollen of this Nootka rose, circling over and over again as if she didn't want to miss bathing in every grain of pollen. What a sensualist.

I like this little guy too, peeking over the edge of a ragged rose blossom.

Just a week ago the twinberries were just flowers, but now they also bear fruit. They are one of the unusual plants that fruits and flowers at the same time. Hummingbirds love this plant.

The bee-herding fence describes circles of bee dances.

Baby fruit ripening in the sun.

The bee garden is surrounded by lush green growth and a the living fence really anchors it into the site.

A spiral of buckwheat sprouts around three white sunflowers. The clover is starting to sprout too. I didn't water today because rain is in the immediate forecast. We need some moisture now.

Edelweiss? In any case, I'm happy to greet you.

The lupins are blooming, which means great bumble bee watching.

This little one visits our bee garden.

A woman does tai chi on the top of the hill. Sunflowers will soon be turning their heads to the morning sun.

A volunteer cornflower.

A pale yellow iris bows and yawns in the breeze.

Friday, May 22, 2009

UBC Farm Hive Tour

Wednesday I was lucky enough to give hive tours to a class I've been working with that are in the Landed Learning Program at UBC Farm. The salmon berries are blooming on the path to the farm although the berries forming are still quite green.

This is a native plant I've seen in books, but never for real. I'll have to look up the name.

Bike racks and blooming fruit trees.

I love the colour of this clover.

Next time you're in line waiting for the market to open, take a look at these columbines. The little bumble bees are robbing the nectar from the back. Their tongues aren't long enough to reach the nectaries so they cheat by biting a hole in the back of the flower. I couldn't catch a photo of one because they move so much faster than the queens. I think the hummingbids will love them.

The students were very intrigued by the hive and just watching the bees for twenty minutes is a good way for them to get over their fear of being stung.

This is an old frame of comb we pass around so the students can get a close look at the wax. I didn't get any photos of the bees because I was too busy handling the frames, but I snapped a shot of the beekeepers of the future.

We just heard good news about B.C. honeybees. Apparently the owner of the Honeybee Centre in Surrey says winter losses were 35%, which is normal, and the spring weather has been favorable enough to build the stocks back up quickly. We've also been given a great forecast for the next few days. Fantastic!

Monday, May 18, 2009

My Best Guess

I like to keep track of what is blooming in the neighborhood of the MOP, but this does challenge my plant identification skills. I will just give my best guess here until one of you experts out there helps me out. This looks like a pink chestnut blossom.

The tree is overlooking North China Creek Park facing Burnaby Mountain.

The leaves have got me sunk on this one.

Columbines, poppies and "true" geraniums.

Buckets of rosemary blooms--one of the few plants that survived the winter here.

TWF's: Tiny white flowers with a silvery foliage. Any help identifying these would be greatly appreciated. Over and out.

Preparing the Landing Strip

Here it is...the new landing pad for the two honey bee hives Brian will be installing at the Means of Production Garden. He says the queens have eaten their way through the candy and they have been accepted by the hive, but they don't quite seem settled yet. Saturday afternoon Sharon lead a work party to build a "bee herding fence" between the landing pad and the path so the bees will fly over the fence and over the heads of the people and pets using the path.

There's plenty of bumble bee fodder here in this tough patch of broom. I don't know if this is a mutation, but I've never seen this bi-coloring happening on broom before.

The brussel sprout flowers are fully in their glory and they are great for snacking on while we work.

The lupins are just about to bloom.

Dainty daffodils dilly-dallying in the dale.

Ephemeral dandelions--they'll be back!

Saturday was warm and muggy and the Nootka roses were luscious and fragrant.

Note how long those grasses are becoming already. Strewth!

Jean and I re-marked the path in the bee garden and with the help of the new bee apprentice program the EYA is hosting we weeded and added some more compost around the edges of the garden. Jean and I planted, white and red varieties of clover around the bottom "circle", and buckwheat inside the upper circle. We also planted coreopsis in the southwest corner, and salvia, agastache, calendula, and marigolds all along the top of the garden. Now we need a good shower to get those seeds sprouting. Thanks to everyone who came out to give us a hand.