For illustrated talks on natural history and history see

For illustrated talks on natural history and history click link for

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Gardening in shade: brightening a shaded path with Ransoms, wild garlic, which is good for wild bees too.

The path above, in West Sussex, England was boring before wild garlic seeds were added.  Ransoms or wild garlic, Allium ursinum has lovely white flowers at this time of year.
Add a few raw flower florets to a bowl of vegetable soup and the explosion of taste is spectacular -- if you like garlic.
The leaves are attractive yet beware -- the plant is invasive.  To check its spread, I run a rotary lawn mower over the flowers before final seed set and compost the leaves in a wild part of the garden.
 It was chilly yesterday, less than 10C and Osmia bicornis a Red Mason bee was feeding on the flowers.

Red Mason bees fly March to July and are economically important as a pollinator of fruit trees and oil-seed rape.

The extraordinary lives of wild bees and the important role of gardeners in their survival. 
is one of my illustrated talks.  Please see for details.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Large Red Damselfly, Pyrrhosoma nymphula spotted for the first time this year yesterday.

 A Large Red Damselfly male, Pyrrhosoma nymphula was spotted for the first time this year yesterday in my garden in Cuckfield, West Sussex, UK.  Also in the photo' above is a Nomad, parasitic solitary bee both on honeysuckle leaves.  There are dozens of such bees flying around now.
 A Large Red Damselfly male, Pyrrhosoma nymphula on a yew tree.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Bumblebees, solitary bees and honeybees today in Cuckfield, West Sussex

Hairy-footed flower bee female on a kale flower

Garden bumblebee, Bombus hortorum
Despite the chilly weather a few bees were flying today in my garden pollinating soft fruit and apple blossom.

Garden bumblebee, Bombus hortorum

Buff-tailed bumblebee worker, Bombus terrestris
Here on blackcurrant bushes.
Buff-tailed bumblebee worker, Bombus terrestris

Common carder bee 

Common carder bee 

solitary bee

Parasitic Nomad bee
Honeybee worker on apple blossom.

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