These are beautiful days – warm (up to 30 C!) with lovely breezes. The citrus trees are showing tender shoots of incredibly fragrant leaves. Flower buds are appearing. The birds are full of song, especially the bulbuls; warblers flit about in our hedge, hoopoes chase one another over the lawn. I’ve followed a fellow-blogger’s advice and put the soft hairs we get from grooming our golden retriever out for the birds to use for nesting. Now it only remains for me to write about the bees…
After a hard(ish) winter, we are down to one stack or hive on the roof. But the bees are all around us in the garden, active as ever, enjoying every moment of sun. The flowers in the kitchen garden are their favourites, to the extent that we don’t remove overgrown rocket or mustard from the raised beds in order to let them take whatever they can. There’s another attraction at the moment: the huge rosemary, positioned at a corner of the lawn below the area of roof where the hives are situated. It’s in full flower right now, and the bees are having a ball.
Basil flowers – rehan in Arabic – available almost year-round and strongly scented, are the bees’ favourite.
Perhaps the bees’ second-favourite flower, the rocket (gargheya in Arabic) has fallen over sideways in a raised bed. But we can’t remove it – they would never forgive us!
A mass of pale lilac: the rosemary that dominates one corner of the lawn is in full flower, and attracts insects by the score.
Mustard flowers – we’ve not had those before – are a sudden hit with the bees.
Among the rocket, there’s also coriander: I’m happy to use the leaves in cooking but I prefer the seeds, when dried. As for the bees, they take the part that’s in between – it’s flowering right now.
The dill has just started to flower. I’m not sure what our friends from the hives on the roof think about this, but as dill has a strong and attractive scent, I’m sure they’ll be down to investigate.
The osteospermum in the herbaceous border is attractively varied in colour, brightening up an otherwise dull patch at this time of year.
If you look very carefully, you might spot the bee making her way into the further flower – not that these are the preferred source of nutrition.
A mystery: What is this plant – and do the bees like the look/perfume of those pretty blooms? The jury’s out on that…