A while ago now, on a Sunday evening, 2nd June to be precise, I went for a lovely evening walk in my local park. I had been imprisoned in a hot car all day, from Sheffield to London, watching the tarmac whir past. It felt great to venture out into the sunshine as it slowly slipped away.
A few wispy clouds scudded across the sky. Blackbirds rattled their evening cries and bunnies hopped.
Pretty pink flowers. Do bees like them? Not sure, but moths do.
EDIT: standingoutinmyfield has left a comment below to say that these pink beauties are a species of Silene (commonly known as campion).
Again, not sure what these white flowers are…
Buttercups produce a toxin which prevents them being eaten by grazing animals like ponies. They have been around a long time – 130 million years. Insects like sawflies, aphids and beetles enjoy pollinating them.
A bumblebee staying up late for nettles.
Plants and Honey Bees: their relationships by David Aston and Sally Bucknall (Northern Bee Books, 2004) says: “Special mention must be made of the importance of white dead-nettle as a bumblebee forage plant for queens emerging from hibernation in spring.”
The dandelions’ time has passed.
Alkanet is still going strong and attracting plenty of bee action. The bees move so fast on it – in and out of the tiny open flowers in less than a second – that I haven’t got a non-blurry photo of them enjoying it yet.
There is plenty of blossom still around. Below is hawthorn (also known as May). I know the leaves well, because my mum used to buy in silkworm larvae. She was a infant school teacher and used the silkworms to demonstrate their life cycle to her classes. Silkworms originally came from Asia; they prefer mulberry leaves, but will also eat oak and hawthorn. We collected bushels of oak and hawthorn and took them to the growing larvae, who quickly turned into plump, voracious caterpillars, mechanically munching their way to adulthood.
Unfortunately Plants and Honey Bees: their relationships tells me that “Hawthorn only secretes well when the temperature is exceptionally high, at least 25C during its flowering period” (p.31). The temperature rarely gets that high here. Hawthorn honey is said to have a sweet almond scent and taste.
So some old favourites are over already – bluebells, dandelions. Nettles and alkanet are still going. Other June flowers include field beans, acacia and lime.
Thistles, clover and blackberry brambles should be out a little later. After them will follow rosebay willow herb, himalayan balsam and ragwort; later still michaelmas daisies and finally ivy is the last big bee-friendly forage of the year. But I don’t want those times to be here yet.
A satisfying walk. What’s flowering where you are?