It’s good to watch to watch plants coming to life again, and I’m also glad to see more wildlife. I’m seeing more bees – large and small. I can’t identify most of them, but I can usually spot Carpenter bees (Xylocopa spp.). I learned recently they’re not bumble bees, although they certainly look similar. Carpenter bees have a shiny black abdomen, and are often referred to as the bee with a ‘shiny butt’. This one was getting nectar by puncturing blueberry blossoms.
I am amazed at the variety of shapes and colors of flowers, and I find the shape of Bleeding Hearts especially intriguing. This non-native one (Dicentra spectabilis) brings back many fond memories of my grandmother and her delightful flower garden. The plants get 2-3 feet tall, and the dangling blossoms on arching stems remind me of a charm bracelet. The flowers appear in April and May, and the attractive foliage dies back in mid-summer.
Colorful blossoms are my proof that spring has finally arrived in our backyard. During the last few warm sunny days, it’s been great fun to watch the changes. I love the buds as well as the blossoms of these Virginia Bluebells (Mertensia virginica), which seem to be ringing in the new season.
I like bumble bees. Their fuzzy bodies remind me of miniature teddy bear, and they move slowly enough that I can easily watch them. I was thrilled recently to see this large bumble bee visiting one of our daffodil blossoms. I suspected it was a queen, since I’ve learned that only fertilized queen bumble bees hibernate and survive the winter. They are the first to appear in spring as they prepare to establish a new colony.