Each Flower Has Its Own Strategy

tiny blue flowers

We are well into summer, though we’ve yet to feel much warmth. It’s still chilly at night, and it’s only on sunny days that it feels warm.

ripe thimble berry

It’s been warm enough for at least one thimble berry to ripen. A few more weeks and we’ll be gorging on these delicate morsels.

pink poppy
Japanese stewartia flowers

Each flower has its own strategy to get a bee to pay a visit. Some flowers put out sprays of small flowers making bees flirt from flower to flower, spending a second at each.

bee in Japanese stewartia

I watched the bees on the Japanese Stewartia. The Stewartia strategy is to put on a feast and get the bees to spend a long time in each flower. How much more can that bee eat and gather? I wondered as I watched the bee bury deep into the heart of the Stewartia.

Japanese stewartia flowers on the ground

To love flowers is to have a broken heart. Most of them last for such a short time.

Disaster Averted

hens on nest

The longest days of the year are here. It’s still light at 10 p.m. when I go out to put things away before bedtime. The summer solstice always comes too soon. Every day there are things to make me smile and laugh.

purple flower
snow preening

These days, I don’t get to see Snow but once every few days. Today has been three days since I’ve spotted her. Most of the time she’s on her nest, but where is it? I’ve looked all around the pond for it for several weeks.

I knew from the way she hissed and spread her tail feathers when I got too close to her that her nest was nearby.

snow preening
snow on way to nest

I got curious when I saw her head out across the grass.

snow in nest

And when I saw her sneak into the burn pile, I got my answer. She has her nest under the pile of brush we’ve been building. Two days ago I nearly set it ablaze. It was a good day to burn the brush. If I hadn’t seen her sneak into it this evening, we may have lit the pile in a few days. I’m so relieved I found out where her nest was before it was too late. Disaster averted indeed.

yellow flowers

Cool, Wet June

forming apple

So far it’s been a cool, wet June. But that’s not unusual around here. Some call it Junuary. The forecast is for rain and showers for the next seven days. The bees don’t mind the mild temperatures. They swarm the cat mint and California lilac. Our cat goes bonkers if I weed around the cat mint. When I come inside, he rolls all over me in ecstasy.

I grew up with rainy Junes. Japan has a rainy season, the Plum Rains, 梅-plum 雨-rain, from early June into July. Though instead of being cool, gentle rains, they are hot and muggy, at times torrential rains, Rain pouring so loud, you couldn’t hear yourself think. The frogs love those rains. I remember being kept awake all night by the hot, muggy temperatures and tree frogs quacking up a storm all night long.

bees on cat mint flowers
bees on California lilac
Japanese iris

Each year the landscape changes. The sequoia we planted fifteen years ago is now a stately tree. It would be nice to see it five hundred, a thousand years from now, the tallest and thickest tree for miles around. Hopefully, no one will cut it down. I could put a plaque on it, “Cursed be the one who fells this tree.” That should work.

growing poppy
snowbell flower buds