We have new neighbors today, and I'm jumping for joy. Their home is a really small one, wood frame construction, with a very tasteful green front door. So far, in spite of me stealing looks at it from the sun-room about every hour I'm home, I haven't seen much activity. After they moved in though, I did see one inhabitant - a male, come to the front door, then leave in what seemed to be a real hurry. But other than that, not too much to be seen at all.
The weather’s been quite rainy and windy though in the couple of days since they arrived, so I can't really blame them for not wanting to be social. And I'm not going to blame myself for being a snoopy busybody. After all, you're supposed to care for your neighbors, aren't you?
Actually i'm hoping they'll help in the garden!
My garden work
This has already been a busy start to the garden year, mostly with some more hard-scaping work completed, and the final development of my tiny orchard area on a small sun division lot. It's been incredibly satisfying, and what I love about it is, there's always something new and interesting to discover in the growing world.
You might remember, the focal point of the mini orchard is a grafted apple tree, that I plan to train along wires, a pruning technique referred to as espalier. So on one young trunk I have four different types of apples. Now this is fun, except my Transparent one blooms very early, and there aren't any other flowers to cross pollinate it. Apples need other kinds of apples to cross-pollinate. So I was feeling a bit stuck, and decided to invest in some mason bees to ensure the fruits are pollinated.
Their garden work
Mason guys are different. You don't often see them, but when you do, you'll know them right away, ‘cause they have cute fluffy little topknots on their heads. The ladies are plain - actually at a glance they look more like flies, but they're not. The boys always leave the home first, and lurk around, waiting for the girls to come out on a nice spring day. Then they do what boys do. After that the girls are primed to start collecting pollen and laying eggs. The guys aren't interested in any of that stuff.
I went into my local garden centre to buy the little house and tubes that go inside it. Then they produced the little boxes of ready-to-go cocoons from the fridge they’re kept in for the winter. Yes, my first little batch were boxed, and quite unremarkable to look at.
About the bees
- Masons don't sting. They're gentle, sweet little pollinators. And like all things in nature they provide an experience of true wonder for anyone prepared to study them. They carefully organise their little apartment homes. Working from the back of each tube, they lay an egg, ensure there's a good supply of pollen for the future larva, then plug it snugly using clay, and begin the next one. The fertilized eggs go towards the back of the tubes. Unfertilised ones are situated in front. They become the males of next year, and are first out of the hive.
- They finally seal up the tube entrance, after about six little spaces have been created for the next generation. There are a good number of tubes to fill.Then, when this wonderful effort is completed, the females die. By July nothing more will happen until the following Spring.
- Well, not nothing! As a caring neighbor of course I will take the tube orphans in, let the pupae develop, and turn into cocoons. They'll stay safely in a little box in my fridge until next year this time. At least that's what I'm hoping! Promise to update you on this one.
- Oil Pulling 101 via Graceful Intentions
- A Community via marcoujor's musings
- Freeware: Keep up easier with Feedly! via flashPress
Thanks for the visit and see you next week!