Bees and Poppies – A Simple Post

We have been averaging 14-18 poppies each day. They make a good show in the morning but the petals fall by lunch, so they aren’t the best at providing a showy display. On the other hand, they did drift in free of charge. Others, which I have paid for, have failed to prosper. I keep saying I will have another go with the big red oriental ones, but never get round to it. Perhaps I will simply buy some cheap seed and sprinkle it in the gaps between flagstones. We established  a massive drift of Californian poppies on the farm by emptying some seed packets onto newly dug earth, so it’s worth a try.

Bee on Welsh Poppy

Bee on Welsh Poppy

There are some wonderful drifts of poppies on the ring road where they are letting the grass grow for the pollinators, with Californian and red poppies. They still have their petals when I drive home, so I’m thinking they may be better than the ones we have which, I think, are Welsh poppies. I always thought the yellow ones were Welsh poppies but when I looked them up I found these were an orange variety. There are yellow ones along the street, one of my gardening clients used to have them, but they don’t seem to have spread this far.

Hoverfly on Welsh Poppy

Hoverfly on Welsh Poppy

At one time we had a lot of marigolds. I was given them by a customer, and they spread well and kept coming back, but then declined over a couple of years. We still have three or four of them, but they are not showing any signs of recolonising the garden. It is strange how some things flourish and others don’t. The alyssum isn’t doing so well either, though I’m fairly sure that is being shaded out by the red valerian. That could be the reason why the marigolds have gone, as they would have been overshadowed by the valerian, which is a real thug of a plant, but I always think of them being tough enough to fight back.

Bee on Red Valerian

Bee on Red Valerian

That’s the trouble with gardening the way we do in the front garden – you get what you’re given, which in our case is red valerian. I’m thinking it might be time to cut some of it back and give other things a chance. The only thing that stops me is that it attracts hummingbird hawkmoths, which are always a pleasure to see.

The last bee is on Red Valerian because it would stay still in the morning when it was on the poppies. By 4pm there were no poppies.

I’m wondering id the black bee is a Field Cuckoo Bumble Bee because of the all black colouring. I’m not sure what else to look for to ID it, or if there are any other similar species. I’m hoping the hoverfly is a Marmalade Hoverfly because I like the name. It’s common round here, according to the ID guide, so I feel safe with that ID.

Marmalade Hoverfly

Marmalade Hoverfly

13 thoughts on “Bees and Poppies – A Simple Post

  1. Clare Pooley

    I find identifying bees a real headache. However, the bee on the Valerian might be a female hairy-footed flower bee (Anthophora plumipes) and I am sure you are correct in the ID of the hoverfly. I like ‘marmalades’ too. I think your orange poppies are Papaver rubifragum or Spanish Poppy.

    Reply
    1. quercuscommunity Post author

      That’s a bee I’ve never heard of, but it’s very welcome. I didn’t know there was a Spanish Poppy, but it looks correct according to the pictures that come up on the internet – the crinkly flowers, the leaves and the short live are all spot on. Thanks for the IDs.

      Reply
  2. Lavinia Ross

    The poppies are lovely, and I enjoyed seeing the bees and hoverfly. You have reminded me I was going to get some California poppy seeds and try to start some drifts of our own here.

    I also find commercial strains often lacking in vigor,

    Reply
  3. higgledypiggledymom

    You are getting some amazing photos! Love the orange-y poppies. We have red and pink. I accidentally yanked out the white one we had going-oops, but that was a while ago.

    Reply
    1. quercuscommunity Post author

      Sometimes accidents happen. I have been known to remove things that should have been left. I once had a customer say “What have you done to my X?” (I can’t actually remember what they were, but they were untidy and looked like weeds). I was not a great gardener. 🙂

      Reply
    1. quercuscommunity Post author

      I was happy to get back to a bit of bee photography. 🙂 The deadheading is constant with these poppies – 14-20 a day, lasting less than a day…

      Reply
  4. tootlepedal

    I wonder if those might be Icelandic poppies. We have similar ones which grow and fade quickly while the yellow Welsh poppies are more durable. I love the picture of the bee on tiptoe on the valerian.

    Reply
    1. quercuscommunity Post author

      There are points in favour of both IDs. They don’t last like the yellow ones but the centre of an Icelandic poppy seems slightly different and they are supposed to last well as cut flowers. All very puzzling.

      Reply

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