BC public holiday- what is happening out there?

The weather for BC at this time of year is quite extraordinary.  30C again today.  We are not used to this you see.  Usually it is around 24C, with cool nights, a bit of rain and then again sunny weather around 25C.  I can deal with that!  So on this public holiday I was in my cool basement office blogging and messaging and emailing to those not at the beach.  In the afternoon I though, I had better get away from that computer since I was getting a bit chilled at 22C.  I soon raced back inside.  Where did my camera vanish to?  I grabbed it and within minutes, I had set my little camera (Fujifilm EXR) to photograph some very busy bees. This tiny bee not bigger than 1/2 inch or 1 cm were busy feeding on the flowers of my anise plant.  I did not think any bee would be around- it is so dry out there right now.  Fennel, a licorice tasting herb, is part of the umbellifera family like dill, carrots and parsnip that have flower clusters in the shape of an umbrella.  This makes it very easy for bees to forage.  All that the bees and other insects have to do is to wander around and collect nectar and pollen.  For this bee, collecting nectar seemed to be a priority. I can’t see any pollen on its body.  Perhaps this flower does not have copious amounts of pollen like some other flowers ( e.g. dandelion).  I had to go outside again and check out this flower closeup.  I wanted to see which part was the female stigma and which were the anthers with the pollen.  With my handy 3x head-held magnifier, I was surprised to see that the tiny tall pompoms that stick out above the flower are the anthers.  The larger round structures are the stigma where the seeds will develop.  I guess these anthers on their stalks are making sure that some pollen is picked up by the bee and while cruising past, she would drop some pollen grains onto a stigma or two.  This is the second year I have had this plant.  Initially I placed it in the soil, but it was soon overgrown.  In a pot it went.  I placed it on a bench for no apparent reason and at eye level.  I could not miss this plant feeding some bees that I did not know were about.  From the stripes, it looks like a megachilidae family.  I checked U-tube and not only did I learn  how to grow fennel but learned how to  harvest fennel seed.  Next year I will have a row of fennel plants ready for these bees.

If there is food, the bees will come.

How to grow fennel

How to harvest fennel seeds  

 

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