A mostly warm, on occasion too warm, week saw the first arrival in the garden this summer of Japanese Beetles in the usual pale pink rose they always home in on. By the end of the first day J had caught and killed 17 of them and every day since has seen similar numbers. Last summer she counted over 2000 going into the soapy water used to end their beetly lives.
On the 7th, dawn brought a thunder shower so lily pots did not need watering. The climate this year has brought the garden into burgeoning good health with berries on everything that is supposed to have berries on … though perhaps fewer (but larger) berries on the blackcurrant bushes.
Unfortunately, the weeds are also doing really well this year and so J (The Digital Botanist – click here to see her site) has set out to identify them all. It’s surprising how many turn out to be European or Asian imports, some by accident and some by design. A notable exception is the Selfheal which is actually a native … just growing in the wrong place, the very definition of a weed. Wondering about the seemingly high number of imported weeds J concluded that it may be a consequence of most natives in this part of eastern canada would have been adapted to forest life or the edges of waterways thus leaving cleared ground, such as gardens, to the immigrants where they have little native competition other than from grasses.
More sun at the end of the week continued the arrival of Japanese Beetles … they don’t fly in the rain.
The tall, blue Speedwell flowers are with us now and already starting to attract lots of bees and other nectar sucking insects. There are pictures in the slide show below – also pictures of some planters on the deck with a tubular red flower – Cuphea – that seems to be another addition to our collection of flowers that draw in Hummingbirds. Seems a winner.
Compost. To the side of the house we have a work area with storage for the mower and tools as well as a canoe and the gas tank for winter heat, Buried behind all that is a large, heavy wire enclosure perhaps five feet across and the same in height. Over the 19 summers we have been here it has been the final resting place of fibrous greenery too “chunky” for the regular compost heaps as well as surplus leaves at the end of autumn once the other compost bins are full. With time the contents settle and so we add more. To be honest that’s about it, we have never emptied it – a decision helped along by the day I climbed in to turn the contents over only to find myself standing in the middle of a very angry wasps’ nest!! I am told that I went six feet in the air vertically to escape their wrath. Treated the bin with respect after that … Anyway, I needed some compost earlier this week and saw nice black stuff at the base of the stack. Burrowed in and discovered mature decade old compost the like of which this garden has never seen. Black Gold – the mine is being quarried and the beds will thank us.
Little new on the bird and insect front – just the regulars hanging about with their juveniles, all looking sideways at the berries and wondering when they will ripen. Interesting activity though around the milkweed flowers … look at this picture of two different bees working the milkweed :
The bee on the right is clearly Apis mellifera, the honey bee … but what about the chap on the left. It’s features are all those of a “honey bee” except that it is black. If I were still (as I once was) a bee-keeper in England I would be leaping up and down with excitement at having found what might be the rare and endangered Black bee (Apis mellifera nigra) but I am in eastern Canada and somehow I doubt that would be the case – though one can dream. After much digging in the data banks I have concluded that while I can’t get this species level, it might be a member of the genus Anthophora – a group of native bees that are mostly ground nesters – there are some 450 species in the genus so I am in with a chance 😉 . I will keep working on the ID, but this blog is due to go to press. Anyway, how fascinating is that? There is much going on in the garden at the small-critter level that is easily overlooked.
And now we have the slide-show …