Buds, Bees, Butterflies and Blueberries
|Redbud tree with Swallowtail butterfly|
The Eastern Redbuds stand tall at the edge of the stark woods, which is still waiting for foliage to leaf out and provide a opulent canopy. These small yet sturdy trees are a powerhouse of pink, covered with vivid blooms from top to bottom, even exploding out of the trunk.
|Bumblebee on redbud blooms|
This early blooming native tree is a package of happiness in our garden, attracting a variety of bees and butterflies to its dainty flowers.
Our 15 blueberry shrubs (yes, 15 and I still want more!) begin their bloom period this month. Their pastel buds bring renewed energy to the kitchen garden, catching the evening light glowing gorgeously as the sun gently sets each evening.
|rabbiteye blueberry buds|
I can hear the loud buzzing of the bees that cover the blueberry blooms, before I even reach the kitchen garden. These bees are essential to successful berry production because blueberry pollen is sticky and heavy and can't move on its own. Rabbiteye blueberries are native to Georgia and we now lead the nation in production, beating out Michigan, traditionally regarded as the blueberry capital of the country.
|Southeastern blueberry bee|
Butterflies are also a fan of the blueberry's sweet nectar. I adore how they hang upside down and cling to the drooping blooms, inserting their proboscis and drinking effortlessly.
|Eastern Tiger Swallowtail on blueberry blooms|
Based on the pollinators who are visiting the blueberries, I think I'm safe in saying that we will have another fruitful harvest this year.
Another fruit tree that has burst into its spring glory is the peach tree. Blooms range from pale pink to dark blush. These too are a pollinator favorite even though they don't requiring pollination services to produce fruit (self-pollinating). However, nectar-collecting insects will help move pollen subsequently assisting in fertilization.
This Eastern Tiger swallowtail continually returned to visit the peach blossoms, diving freely into the flowers. Enjoying the sun-kissed day.
Other recurrent visitors are beetles, native bees and honeybees. Notice the pollen covering the thorax and abdomen of this beetle as it bustles about the stamen and pistal. Fruit production is underway.
While seedlings are growing indoors, planting will wait until April and my fingers will feel the richness of the soil soon enough. So, as we gingerly march through this blissful season, I am delighting in each sweet sign of spring. The buds, the bees, the butterflies and of course the blueberries!