Saturday, April 25, 2009

Bees and blossoms

Apple blossoms awaiting the bees..
We have a small apple orchard in the backyard. I mean tiny really. It is comprised of two red delicious and two mystery trees that produce amazing, sweet, red streaked golden fruits.
They have only ever been pruned in a furtive way, as I was always afraid of really having a go at it and wrecking them.

I finally sucked it up and pruned the heck out of them this year, after consulting a friend who knows how to do such things properly. He walked me through it, and shared his knowledge of pruning, which Iam grateful for!
So, I waited, and the buds unfurled, the old , shiny cd's hung in the branches kept the bud eating birds away. Soft pink petals opened and smelled so sweet...on all but one tree.
One of the mystery apples decided to just give blossoms a miss this year: only one flower on a usually heavy bearing tree.
What gives?
Iam not sure why it's not fruiting.
Didn't like the wassailing year? Pissed that I pruned it after 4 years of not pruning it...we left plenty of growth that should have produced blossoms...the green buds were already formed and about to open when I finally pruned the tall, whip like branches from it's top..
Is it a variety that skips seasons? It never has before..Iam vexed.
Iam just starting to take this apple growing thing seriously, so more research is needed..

Little Miss Bee
Yesterday I went out to admire the garden and see if the bees were out fertilising my apple blossoms yet. It was 70 degrees, sun shining gloriously, birds singing from above... and only one valiant little honey bee flying from flower to flower. ONE.
This is a bummer because while it had been a bit cool, this was warm day, and there should have been many bees, including the Mason kind buzzing around the trees..We have plenty of resident Mason bees, they have nesting holes in the shop, fence posts, little wooden blocks we set out for them..but they were still snoozing apparently.
Iam not sure if it's colony collapse, or just the lack of local hives to explain my solitary honey bee, but there she was. All alone, systematically hitting every flower. Better than nothing I thought. Thank you little Miss Bee!
So I thought I would do my best to snap a few pics of her in action.

She was so intent on her job that she never gave me a second thought. I waited for more to arrive but it was only her all afternoon.. I hope she went home and waggled out some directions for her hive mates, and that the next warm day we have (not today, it's 50 out and raining) will find plenty of honey bees all over my fruit trees.
Or as I l like to say, "Happy bees having sex with my trees!"
Ironically as I sat hunting and pecking this out on the computer, Wolf Woman called to share with me her news, That she is now the proud owner of two bee colonies, and has started her beekeeping in earnest!
Pretty cool.
Here's to the bees!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It looks truly beautiful and spring like. Glimpsing that tree in the background you are certainly further on than us - but this w/end our apple blossom started to open too. Maybe your mystery apple got hit by frost? Our quince has - every bud burnt - so not quinces this year.
I'm glad you have even one little honey bee. Their decline is frightening. The BBC are showing a series of documentaries on bees at the moment and