|Yesterday, this area was|
covered with snow. Today
it bloomed with crocuses.
It hasn't snowed in ten days here in Medfield and the temperatures finally crept up above 50 yesterday and today. As a result, we're getting serious melting and we're seeing bare ground in many places. This afternoon. though, we got a surprise: the snow melted back from an area where we planted a large patch of crocuses two years ago. Less than a day after being snow-covered, the crocuses were in bloom.
|Bees! At the end of March!|
But the biggest surprise was still ahead. I went to photograph them and discovered the crocuses were covered with bees. This winter and last, Betty and I took steps to create habitats for native bees to overwinter. It wasn’t all that hard: instead of cutting our long perennial border to the ground, we left up a foot of stalk to provide a winter home for native bees. Instead of taking every fallen branch to our town’s transfer station, we created protected nest areas with layers of branches. The only thing we did that was an out-of-pocket expense was to buy a bundle of bamboo tubes, which creates a kind of ‘bee hotel’. Why do all that? Because native bees don't live in hives; they're solitary critters.
|A 'hotel' for native bees|
This was likely the first nectar these bees have likely seen this year (witch hazel blooms in January and February, but is not usually planted by homeowners). The ‘big’ flowers – azalea and rhododendron – are still months away. Our choice of trees and shrubs is designed to ensure there’s always something in bloom.
|When the amalanchier blooms|
there will be lots of pollen to go
around for everyone
We also have good news for the bees that were around today: as soon as the snow recedes another foot, there's an even larger patch of purple crocuses waiting to burst into bloom. And, with nearly 4000 bulbs on the property, there’s lots more pollen to come. The next big slug will be when our amelanchier (shadbush) blooms in a week or so. Its flowers last approximately two weeks and the shrub will be covered with
Take a look at the second photo, which is as great a magnification as I could get with a 6 megapixel point and shoot camera. The inset shows ones of the bees at work.