Monday, August 24, 2009

Garden Visitors

Dragonfly sunning itself in the garden.I went out to check on the progress of our grapes in the garden a few days ago and found lots of garden visitors. The insects have certainly found a safe haven back there. It's fairly quiet and undisturbed back in the garden since we've hardly made use of the patio for eating outdoors at all this year. A few days ago I noticed a young dragonfly under some lilac leaves. It looked a bit bent out of shape like it might have just hatched and was trying to stretch out a bit. I don't know if they hatch this time of year, so cannot say if that was really the case. Seems kind of late in the year to be hatching now. Perhaps it was some other kind of insect. Anyway, I caught this dragonfly on camera and it is quite a bit larger than the one I saw a few days ago.

Dragonfly up close and interesting.I caught it clinging to one of our tiki torches sunning itself. Thankfully it hung around long enough for me to run back into the house to grab my camera. I was glad to get such good shots of it. Later when I started photographing the bees it took off . . . obviously it knew I'd lost interest in it and I had moved onto other winged creatures. Fickle paparazzi - LOL!

You can click on the photo to see it just a bit larger. You'll be able to see the details of those wings nice and close. What vibrant colors these guys have with their body markings.

One of my coneflowers hosts a bee for dinner.The thyme in our garden is growing out of control this year. I haven't harvested any of it for cooking, we just let it grow every year. This year it is going crazy and sprouting up all over. I'll have to pull some of it out this fall or that's all we're likely to have next year. The bees really love those dainty little flowers. Earlier in the afternoon I was seeing lots of these bigger bees and bumble bees. Later in the evening I went out to look again and it was lots of little tiny bees . . . the ones we used to call 'sweat bees' when I was little. Strange they're out at different times like that.

A closer view of this bee as it collects pollen.The bees I saw were different sizes and had different markings and body shapes. This one had some reddish color along with the yellow. Others were yellow and black.

I have a few cone flowers that made good perches for the bees. I just love cone flowers. They strike me as an interesting mixture of shapes and textures with their large pink petals surrounding a big protruding spiky center. They are a pretty and unusual looking flower. I like that they're so very different from other flowers like roses and such. I've got yellow daisies in the front yard. Those are equally as fun to look at with their yellow petals and velvety/furry centers. They're a fun, friendly kind of flower.

The thyme has done really well this year and is a hotspot of bee activity in our garden.Here's a great close up of a bumble bee in the thyme. One would think the flowers are too delicate to hold their weight, but these bees still manage to do their work even hanging upside down at times.

This year the grapes grew to mingle with the honeysuckle vines.I planted some sweet green seedless grapes for eating a few years ago. Last year was the first year of grapes for those vines. We lost the whole crop to the birds so I'm trying to keep a better eye on them this year. It will be great to get out there and pick these when they're ready. They're still fairly small and hard. They need a little more time to ripen and fill out a bit. There are lots of grapes hidden under those leaves.

I also planted honeysuckle on this fence so it would fill in and create more privacy between us and the neighbors. The grapes seem to be overtaking the honeysuckle now. They will need to be cut back this fall. Hopefully it won't do too much damage to the honeysuckle vines to rip the excess grape vines out later after we harvest them.

Concord grapes are just turning purple.On the side of the 'lodge' we have grapes for cooking. The concord grapes are just turning purple now. They a kind of small compared to last year. Usually we get a huge crop to cook down and make into grape juice or grape jelly. Yummy. The birds don't go so crazy over these since they are not as naturally sweet like the green grapes. A few jars of juice or jelly will taste scrumptious this fall.

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