Bee Friendly

bird bath set up for the bees

Sometimes when I’m pondering posts for this blog, now, after five and a half years of blogging I have to doublecheck to see if I might already have covered some percolating idea. This post rather falls in that category, for I did, indeed, write a post a few years ago called Where the Bees Go. But upon revisiting that particular post what I found most interesting is that while there is some overlap with the one you are about to read, I had written that post in August, when what was flowering in my garden is not precisely what is in blossom now. And I point this out because one of my personal goals is to stretch the amount of time bees will find something yummy and delicious to harvest at ever-lengthening seasons. Apparently I’m meeting some of those objectives.

So, upon first days of summer I invite you into my garden to visit my visitors! I’ve been logging them for a few days. And this morning I actually tasked myself with the absolutely impossible guesstimation of how many bees and pollinators are visiting my garden on a daily basis. I decided 500 was a fair number, but it could be far more. What is driving up the honeybee numbers at this very moment are primarily this large stand of lavender, the true myrtle and the ever present and expanding buddleia, as there are now three to choose from, planted to attract butterflies, obviously, but far more bees responded, as might be expected. I guess. As I did not. ๐Ÿ™‚
old lavender stand abuzz with bees from early morning ’till dusk

honeybee in true myrtle
another honeybee in the true myrtle
honeybee in the buddleia

honeybee in the newest buddleia

Some of you might have heard in the last week of the devastating news out of Oregon that the gardening service of a particular shopping mall sprayed an insecticide called Safari on their linden trees and 25,000 (that’s THOUSAND) bumblebees died within a day or so. Their bodies littered the parking lot. I am posting a particularly lot of pictures today as some small tribute to our pollinator friends, not that it makes up for such a horrendous loss, but perhaps some one or two of you might be inspired to do a bit more for your own bee visitors and this post will have made some teeny difference. I hope so. Had I been in that town in Oregon I believe I would have been compelled to walk the parking lot spreading flower petals, at very least. Since I can’t do that, I will give my gifts of writing and photography combined with my deep love for the pollinators. Thank you.

This bumblebee found the borage, tucked below some roses.


Teeny little babies. Don’t ask me what they are called. They do the work, however. ๐Ÿ™‚


Honeybees are very attracted to this plant, which I continue to call my Mystery Plant. Do you know its name? Its leaves look like pot. Yes, they do. Scared me to death when they emerged! Finally the purple spike grew and I breathed a sigh of relief. I do know that Liz Watkin at Nutty Gnome blog in the UK has one, too. She also does not know its name. Help us out. ๐Ÿ™‚ Meanwhile, the bees don’t care what it’s called. It’s yummy.


The 4th of July roses attract all manner of pollinators. I’m imagining if I were a pollinator these spectacular colors would attract me, too.


The trumpet vine, which runs rampant on this property, is always a favorite of the honeybees.

bumblebee and honeybee frolicking in the lavender

One of my very favorite observations has to do with the magical mix of bumblebees and hollyhocks. It is not unlike them to tuck themselves into a hollyhock for the night, awakening slowly to morning’s early warmth and continuing whatever they were doing before they fell asleep. Have you seen this? And of all the pollinators it is the bumblebees who seem most intoxicated with the pollen of the hollyhock. They immerse themselves with the discovery of it, wallow in it, revel in it in the greatest joy.




Blessings on our bees. Thank you for whatever you might do to ensure their well being.

Love and gardening blessings,

Book News: On June 23rd I will be a guest on KSFO’s popular show “Bob Tanem in the Garden” at 8:30AM (PST)!

12 Responses to “Bee Friendly”

  1. I don’t have any hollyhocks, but I’ve seen bumblebees sleeping overnight in my big lavender bushes. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Lovely post Kathryn, thank you!


  2. LOVE this post…a delightful look at the way these fine friends burrow in to reach their “yummy” (to them!) food!

  3. Hi, Kathlene, Yes a nice nap in the lavender is a very happy thing to do! ๐Ÿ™‚ Love, Kathryn xoxo

  4. Good morning, Mary O’Connor and welcome! Glad you enjoyed the bee post! Kathryn xoxo

  5. Beautiful post, mom! The bees come to visit my lavender and basil plants. Love them, and their presence.


  6. Hi, Antonia! So glad you have bees visiting your garden! Love, Mom xoxo

  7. Happy to see your bee photos. I had the neat experience the other day of watching a swarm of bees hunting for a new home. Saw the cloud descend to my cherry tree, but they did not stay. I ran out to follow them but lost the “cloud” when it entered the woods. We probably have another bee tree now! I am very fond of bees. My Dad kept them. A very early memory is going with him to tend them. Joe and I could not keep disease out and lost all we tried to have. Still, we have bee trees in our woods..interesting that they do not have the disease.

  8. Hi, Alice, Wow! How utterly thrilling! Fascinating that if bees are left to their own devices they might just be healthy! How fortunate you have the memory of having bees as a child and that precious memory of tending them with your father. I love that! Kathryn xoxo

  9. LOVED LOVED LOVED your article on bees!!! I really don’t think very many people today understand how IMPORTANT bees are to our Earth and its continuing survival!!!! Can you please tell me where you got the bird bath with the roses and leaves in it in the opening photo??? Its lovely and I’d like one for myself. TIA and please keep up your good work!!

  10. Hi, Carleen, thank you and welcome! I’m delighted you enjoyed this post.
    Yes, bees are really really important. I’m doing my best to offer them plenty when they discover my garden and hope many follow suit. The bird bath is sweet, I agree. However it came from a nursery that no longer exists. Maybe you can find one on the Net? I hope so. Kathryn xoxo

  11. Is the purple flower Veronica? Or Liatris?

  12. Hi, Elyn, and welcome. It’s actually veronica! I finally saw one posted on someone’s FB feed! Thank you! Kathryn xoxo

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