Flowering agave is the bee’s needs

Back in June I wrote about the agave that was beginning to flower in the garden of some friends here in the valley. Initially a huge stalk – looking rather like a giant asparagus spear – grew from the centre of the spiky leaves. As the agave dies once it has flowered, it’s probably as well that the stalk’s growth and subsequent appearance of the flowers takes place over the course of several weeks.

Yesterday morning The Boss and I went to check out the progress of this Mediterranean plant. The Boss took his iPod to capture some images to send to our friends (currently back in the UK) and I used my Nikon’s zoom lens to focus on the detail of the lofty yellow flowers.

The once-sturdy leaves at the base of the plant are now beginning to droop, as all the energy has gone into producing the spectacular flower. What struck us most was the huge number of bees swarming around the blooms. The property has some old hives and the bees often fly over to visit our finca’s bird baths, but we haven’t seen many for a few days.  We know little about bees (except that The Boss doesn’t react too well to being stung) but, from what we’ve observed, they love anything that’s yellow. They’re certainly loving the agave flower, but for how much longer? Only time will tell . . .

 

A daylight  glimpse of the moon as well.

A daylight
glimpse of the moon as well.

 

High in the sky.

High in the sky.

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Bee aware

Since we came to live in rural Mallorca, we’ve always been careful to ensure that there’s water available on our land for any passing thirsty wildlife. It’s particularly important during the summer months when we often have no rain at all for many weeks, and the temperatures are consistently high.

We brought four birdbaths with us from the UK, which are dotted around our property – and it’s simply a matter of making sure they’re all cleaned and topped up regularly with water. Our feathered friends are certainly grateful, calling regularly year-round for drinks and a spot of exuberant bathing (after which a water top-up is usually required). On one occasion we saw a family of partridge – six birds in total – all perched around the edge of the birdbath closest to the house. It would have made a great photo, but as I grabbed my Nikon from a shelf and removed the lens cap, they took off – as one – with a clattering of wings.

Dusty's turn at the watering hole

Dusty’s turn at the watering hole

The cats, the birds . .  and the bees

Ironically – birds and cats being natural enemies – the feline family that has adopted us, also use the birdbaths for drinking. Thankfully, never together.

Bees ready to hit the water

Bees ready to hit the water

But there’s new competition at the bar: for the past few days we’ve had numerous bees coming to drink from the largest birdbath, at the front of the house. We’ve always had plenty of bees around the place, as two farmers further down the valley keep hives – and we deliberately made our garden bee-friendly, with plenty of tempting lavender and rosemary bushes. I love the buzz of a few bees around the place – makes me think of summer – but The Boss thinks that the huge number of bees around might just be from a swarm that’s settled somewhere on our land.

Just in case, I’ve just checked out beekeeping gear on the Internet, and found a natty white bee suit – looks like a onesie with attitude – that might look good on The Boss. Or we could just call on the expertise of our beekeeping Mallorcan neighbours . . .