Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Naramata Bench: The Wine and Bee Tour

Yesterday was another awesome day on our wine and bees tour, starting with lunch at Lake Breeze Winery. I love this planting of sedum and agastache. There's also sea holly and perovskia in the background, which carries the eye back towards the lake. Brilliant!

Then we were excited to look for bees among the lavender flowers at Forest Green Man Lavender farm. The muggy hot air temp made the scent of the lavender absolutely pungeant and glorious.

Here's Jasna among the rows of lavender, some of which has been harvested.

 And I finally got some pics of a male Bombus nevadensis.

 This species has exceptionally large males. Their heads fit right into the lavender florets.

 Bee scientist Lincoln Best recommends planting sunflowers for bees. I always enjoy seeing more than one species foraging at the Helianthus buffet.

 The pollen grains look very large and waxy.

 These male Melissodes were patrolling the sunflowers.

 This one really looks like a miniature jackalope!

 Here's another odd couple on gooseneck loosestrife.

I was so pleased to see some fireweed in bloom. This little sweat bee kept returning to these fading flowers.

She was determined to get every last bit of pollen off those lovely anthers. What a persistent little bee.

The plant has almost completely gone to seed, but it's nice it has an extended bloom time because of the succession of blossom development. It would be nice to see more fireweed in the Okanagan because it supports so many bees.

The abdominal tergites have a pearly sheen and the head and abdomen are yellow green as opposed to blue green I've seen on other sweat bees.

Here's a Colletes (I think) on chrysanthemum.

This is my happy place.

I did catch a glimpse of one of these gopher snakes. Better take a look at this image because today we are heading south to rattler country, which does make me nervous.

 Look at this beautiful climbing rose across the street from the farm. I want one! Before going to Penticton we stopped at Elephant Island winery. I like to support a winery that produces from bee-pollinated crops. We got to taste some fresh fat cherries too! Then we went to Penticton to hit Poppin's Quilt Parlour, The Book Shop (an awesome second hand book store) and the science-based toy store, Sirius Science and Nature. Fun was had. Money was spent.

My brother-in-law says that the thunder storm we had last night was the most dramatic they'd seen since moving to the Okanagan. We watched its safely from the living room, sipping wine from Osoyoos LaRose as it moved across the lake. This is the view from Summerland, looking towards Naramata.

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