What’s That Buzz?

bee covered in pollenThe clichés are true. Bees are busy and they do buzz when they move from flower to flower.  My gardening confidence bumps up several notches when they come to town, knowing my pumpkin plants are in good ‘hands.’

I’m terrible at sitting or standing still for long, but find the garden helps slow me down.  While standing still, I notice so much more. This morning I saw three different birds in the orange tree, a snail meandering on an orange peel and a group of industrious, shiny black bees.

The standing still part didn’t last long as I followed the bee from flower to flower, snapping as many pictures as I could before the pollinator moved on. Within a few minutes another bee arrived and as I darted from flower to flower, so too did the bees. They make a frantic bzzz sound before landing, then silence as they dip head first into the flower, rolling their shiny bodies in golden pollen. No time to lollygag, they quickly emerge, darting to their next destination.

bee coated in pollen

A nice dip in the pool

Pumpkin plants produce several male flowers at the start of their growth. Within a few weeks the female flowers appear. Without those bees, all the flowers would eventually shrivel and die, leaving a healthy but fruitless vine.

pair of pumpkin flowers

A pair of male pumpkin flowers

What’s that buzz? It’s music to my gardening ears!

bee with glassy wings

Spreading glassy wings

bee ready for lift off

Ready for lift-off

bee and his shadow

A bee and its shadow

You can learn more about the critical role of pollinators at Pollinator Partnership.  The site has a fun, downloadable poster as well.

The Joyful Gardener Turns 12

Harvesting his first watermelon

My cheerful, insightful, smart and creative son turns 12 today.  As an infant we joked that he was born with the “happy gene” as he soaked up his surroundings with a positive, mellow and inquisitive outlook.  His tantrums were few, even at two.  When he fell, his cries lasted a few seconds.  My son was joy, personified.

As it turns out, he was also born with the “gardening gene.”  Sure he liked the toy aisle at Target, but the seeds were his favorite.   We came home with many a packet of sunflower, pumpkin and carrot seeds, full of optimism and good spirit.  His grandfather would be proud.  During the Santa years, I mail-ordered his pumpkin seeds so they looked just a little different from the seeds we bought in town.  The jig is up, but the pumpkin-seeds-in-the stocking tradition lives on.

Here are a few pics of my joyful gardener over the years.

The first watermelon

Starting his garden

Reading to his pumpkin plants to help them grow

A little music never hurts either

11, years, 364 days old

Happy birthday, M!