Gotcha! This is the first ivory banded digger bee Anthophora californica I spotted this year in the garden. It most likely is a female, with ivory bands, and green compound eyes. It is so hard to take photos of these bees because they are always in motion, circling quickly around the native patch constantly. When they do land on a blossom when foraging for pollen, it is very momentary before they fly off again. These bees are solitary and nest in the soil, and frequently take
I took this photo last weekend of a Sapygid Wasp on one of the Yellow Coastal Bush Lupine blossoms Lupinus arboreus . And see the nasty plump pale green aphids walking around the blossom and its stalk. It's the perfect image to demonstrate the fact that wasps are also very beneficial insects. They eat those nasty aphids that love lupines.
It's always so exciting to see the first blooms on a plant, especially when you've been battling voracious slugs throughout the late winter. For example, here is our first Tidy Tips Layia platyglossa blossom of the year. It is the product of the third Tidy Tips seedling I planted in the winter. The first two seedlings were immediately gobbled up down to the nubs, by slugs. The third Tidy Tips survived the slug onslaught because, in an attempt to discourage slugs, I tried some
And here are images from our garden as examples of why Earth Day should be observed every day. Above is a Yellow Faced Bumble Bee Bombus vosnesenskii covered in pollen in a golden California poppy. Golden-Crowned Sparrows were very busy in the birdbath today. I had to fill the bath twice, because they were very vigorous with their bathing. The Black-tailed Bumble Bees Bombus melanopygus visited the Silver Lupine Lupinus albifrons throughout the entire day. Note the red poll
We've got superbloom going on in our garden now. The poppies are growing tall and have such vibrant colors. These California poppies are growing in a brick planter along with Cream Cups Platystemon californicus . Nearly every morning in March, I picked off voracious slugs from the soft leaves of the Cream Cups. I was afraid they would completely destroy the plants. And as you can see the Cream Cups survived. Fortunately, slugs aren't interested in poppies. All of the poppies
Bees are very busy in the garden now. Just look at the pollen basket on this Yellow-Faced Bumble Bee Bombus vosnesenskii . These are the first bees that we see in the garden in the springtime. This is the same bee seen from behind, on the same ceanothus shrub. Its flattened wings look like dark ruffles on its back.
Look who is visiting the Silver Bush Lupine Lupinus albifrons “Silver Bush Lupine”. It's a Black Bottomed Bumble Bee, and look at the red pollen in its baskets. I planted three of these lupines in pots on the patio, primarily to provide more food for butterflies and to create habitat for the endangered Mission Blue butterfly. But all the pollinators are welcome, and the bees are coming. These are images of the same bumble bee, who often visits the patio plants as well as the
Can you tell I love poppies? Here is California Orange Chiffon poppy in the early morning. At first these poppies are dark orange, then the colors slowly fade, day by day, in the bright sunlight. Here is a Golden Poppy Eschscholtzia californica, the state flower of California. This was also taken in the morning, before the sun rose. These poppies are sometimes known as the Flame Flower, and became the state flower in 1903. Meanwhile, on the patio the Pandora poppy plants Papa
Ah, here is an Anna's hummingbird in its namesake salvia plant Salvia spathacea "Hummingbird Sage". Hummingbirds and larger bees visit this plant all day. We have this plant growing in a large pot, and it is doing well, especially when we have a lot of winter rain. It spreads by rhizomes, so it would even happier in the ground. But there is no space for such a large plant in our garden, so we just try to keep the plant happy so that it produces blossoms for the pollinators.
Yes, these look like aliens. They are new sprouts on one of the showy milkweed plants. I am so happy to see that not only the narrow leafed milkweed plants are sprouting after a dormant period. This is the very first time that the showy milkweed plants are reproducing. In the past I've had to pull out milkweed plants that simply shriveled up and perished during the winter. It's interested how these milkweed plants sprout from the mother plant. Some grow directly out of the cu