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Did you know bees can ‘do it’ in the rain?


By mrv


Now I don’t by any stretch of the imagination consider myself to be a fair-weather gardener , but in view of today’s weather forecast I had very simple plans to avoid getting soaked and blown-about.

1) Have a quick squint in the garden to make sure everything is ok in the wind
2) To make some rhubarb and orange jam
3) Phone the local college and talk to them about a course to get my City & Guilds in Propagation
4) Have a bit of a catch-up on GoY and start writing a blog about the legend of Ellen Ann Willmott and her bloody Eryngium giganteums
5) Listen to some new music (I sometimes DJ and as I’m going to be playing at a big party in about a month – and I need to get my act together) … it’s ok though, I’m listening to music whilst I’m writing this and if anyone’s interested I’ve found at least one new tune; Changes (ATFC’s Schizophrenic Instrumental Remix) by Dirty Vegas. As if any of you really wanted to know that.
6) Do some invoices and calls and stuff. Or, to put it another way, do some actual work
7) House work and get food on the table for about 7 o’clock tonight (Mrs V needs the kitchen to make a cake for a raffle prize when she gets home from work).
8) Charge the camera battery (it’s a bit low)

Now reading back across the to-do list, to me I sound like a madman or a Middle-English Semi-Retired Housewife who DJs at the weekend … randomness.

Armed with a coffee and a fag I set forth into the garden having noticed from our bedroom window that our runner bean frame was wobbling in the wind. As I always seem to take our camera into the garden with me these days, I pop to the shed (to kill two-birds with one stone) grab some tough string a couple of tent pegs and leave the camera safe on the shelf out of the weather. I tether the bean frame securely with the ever-useful bits of string and go for a wander to check for any problems and to give the re-secured bean frame a bit of time in the wind to make sure it will actually stay up!

Nothing too much to worry about in the garden, everything appears to be flexing well in the wind. I’m pleased that I poplared the Buddleia in March; the fresh stems weren’t snapping in the strong gusts like they were last year.

The drumstick alliums seemed to be a bit droopy because of the rain and wind so I pop back to the shed to get my camera and take a picture of aforementioned Alliums as an aide-de-memoire for colour (if they happen to get beaten down by the weather). I want to move these bulbs and plant more in and around a back of border low Lavender hedge (probably “Shaw’s”) along with some Verbena bonariensis; hopefully creating a misty purple bee friendly high-summer boundary that the buddleia can droop into from the right. Another plan for next year!

I’m kneeling there on the damp grass trying for the best shot I can get of the wind bounced and droopy Alliums, when, over the wind I hear a terrifying hum. Just for a second, I thought “HORNET” as my bonce was used to ricochet a BIG black and orange buzzy thing onto the wet (what’s left of it) lawn next to me.

I leapt up pretty sharpish I can tell you then glanced down. With relief it was just a couple of bees in a life a death struggle. With hindsight, my reaction was a bit slow on the uptake; like a small child in the park as one dog mounts another “Mummy, why’s that dog getting a piggy-back ride”.

I almost got a properly focused shot before they were off again into the laurel hedge, or should that be off and at it again in the laurel hedge. I was so shocked and appalled I just had to take another snap of the disgraceful display for the album. It was like the scene in Carry on … Doctor, when Kenneth Williams is trying to seduce dear Hattie Jacques … certainly dimensions wise, Hattie: “I want to be wooed” Kenneth: “You can be as wooed as you like with me!”

I didn’t notice until just now the offended look of the little green caterpillar towards the bottom left of the picture. I’m sorry you had to see that, mate.

Joking aside, I’m pleased that the bees like it enough in the garden to breed.

Moving swiftly on. I took another couple of snaps. It was nice to see another morning glory had opened most likely to never get pollinated in the rain and wind … unless of course the bees were going to be a bit peckish later.

The rain drops or the bloom pigment changing in this fading bloom closing-up shop had given the flower such an almost trippy ultra-violet blotching effect. I’m glad the camera caught it. My old Olympus C-760 has a bit of trouble in deep blues and purples.

Sadly my camera battery failed (remember task 8) after taking a couple of snaps of Mrs V’s fantastic planted chimney pot. So, it’s time I started back on that list, having done 1, 5, 8 and a bit of 4.

Time marches on and there’s jam to be made so if you’ll excuse me I’m going to turn off this dance music and listen to last week’s Gardeners’ Question Time (I love my iPod) – and away to the kitchen to boil an orange!

Mr V

More blog posts by mrv

Previous post: Another 2-3 year delay on a bit of construction ...

Next post: Can you improve your onions with homemade Bonemeal?



Your pictures are so lovely and clear. My problem mrv is, if it is windy the plants move and I can't photograph them clearly. Also we have had so much rain I am concerned I might miss a flower I have waited all year to photograph. That is if it hasn't been flattened by the heavy rain!
Best wishes

15 Jul, 2010


Too true, Linda. Digital cameras make it so much easier though - imagine how much wasted film, at least with these you can keep rattling them off until you get a good one.

Hope the wind and rain hasn't caused you too many disapointments.

Best wishes

16 Jul, 2010


Thank you for a really interesting and amusing blog mrv. Also for the wonderful photos.
I'm amazed at the bees though - I do know that birds 'do it' and bees 'do it' but I thought only the Queen was allowed to mate, but maybe they're Bumble bees. I don't know half enough about bees, but they are so fascinating.

16 Jul, 2010


You're welcome :) I enjoyed trying to pad out what could simply have been:
"It was wet and windy in the garden, but I did see two bees bonking in a bush."

It's a bit hard to see the scale, but the bee at the front I'm possitive was a queen ... she was just over an inch long. The one bringing up the rear was a third of her size. If that.

Here's a good page for bee indentification:

I think this pair were buff-tailed bumblebees.

16 Jul, 2010


I`m delighted you managed to pad out your blog but have to admit your next comment really had me chuckling. Good pics as well even with a nearly rundown battery.( I get really annoyed when mine goes down just as I`m set to capture that special pic) Hope you managed to work through that list.....

16 Jul, 2010


I'm glad you enjoyed it :)

A total pain when a camera goes flat ... could almost through something, well maybe not quite that far! An yes, thank you for asking - I did get through all but one of the list, which is on my list again for tomorrow.

20 Jul, 2010


Just found this blog, have not laughed so much for ages, please keep them coming. I take it Miss Willmott is not a favourite of yours then?
Agree about the ipod could not live without mine, means I can listen to some with-it music without OH complaining "what's this rubbish you are playing now" I am a closet DJ, can spot a hit a mile off......Rox is at the top of my list set to take over from Amy W.....? Love the pics by the way!!

24 Jul, 2010


Thank you, Dotty :)

Miss Willmott ... hhhhm. I am still working on the blog. Under total secrecy and darkness. The darkness is causing me a problem though - I can't read my hand writing in the morning.

iPod gardening - a winner every time.

29 Jul, 2010

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