Sunday, July 17, 2011

What the bee sees

The other day I took a walk with Callie along the road by our Saturna cabin.  We wanted to take a look at the gorgeous fox gloves blooming there.  They are late this year and that's good because I got to take some photos of them in their prime. I love these flowers, not just for their poetic name, but also for the way they beautify the woods and roadsides with their tall flowering stalks.

But yesterday I saw this common flower in a different way.  We had just seen seen a movie about the honey bees with stunning closeups of the bees crawling right inside the flowers.  The photo below shows how the fox glove looks to the bee.  Enticing, no?
It looks like a tiny orchid even.

The movie gave me a whole new appreciation for these incredible insects.  One commentator mentioned that the aesthetics of the bees match those of humans: we are both attracted to the same colors and scents of flowers.

The documentary is called The Queen of the Sun, what the bees are telling us, and it looks at the collapse of the honey bee colonies caused by pesticide use and other issues.  But it's also a hopeful and inspiring look at the way people around the world are getting together to address the problem.

Here's a link to a page on the website:  Ten things you can do to help the bees  Did you know, for example, that bees are thirsty and benefit from a dish of water placed in the garden?


  1. What a treat to be able to see so many Foxgloves growing along the roadside.
    I think they are beautiful flowers.
    I adore bees and have a big swatch of Rosemary in the front of my home that is usually covered like a blanket with Bees.
    Because of the freeze we had plus no rain in winter we haven't had a lots of blooms this year.
    So I haven't seen many bees this year.
    Several bushes are starting to bloom right now so I hope some Bees come back.
    Great article.

    cheers, parsnip

  2. Hi Parsnip,
    Yes, Rosemary is a favorite of bees. I hope your weather turns around soon so you and the bees can enjoy the flowers.

  3. That's a stunning photo of the inside of a foxglove. I see the orchid resemblance. But it also looks a bit dangerous with those long 'horns'. I was amazed to learn that there are so many solitary bees which don't live in colonies. They do have to work so very hard. Good thing they have beautiful workplaces.

  4. Your Foxglove photos are fantastic! I planted them in my high altitude garden years ago, but they didn't come back after that first season. The inside photo looks like a miniature flower sitting on a lacy doily.


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