While on holiday to the Okanagan I saw this beautiful bee in the garden at Poplar Grove Winery. Wineries that plant pollinator and/or insectary gardens are my favorite because it breaks up the monoculture of the acres of grape vines. These gardens also provide beneficial insects that help make healthier grapes, even though they are pollinated by wind and gravity. As I guessed, there was an abundance of ground-nesting bees.
A highlight of the trip was the Summerland Xeriscape Garden where we made mental notes on which plants were functioning well with minimal water while feeding the bees. This is a cuckoo bee on Heliopsis.
Golden rod and milkweed make good companions and attract beneficial wasps.
In other gardens, spirea supported bumblebees.
There were many turquoise sweat bees, especially in this weed. The bees circled round and round the stamens collecting pollen.
Syrphid flies also visited these small white flowers.
Gaillardia is an important drought tolerant flower and Perovskia is used in many gardens as well.
We'll need to continue to look to the Okanagan to choose hardy plants that perform well in dry summers.
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