A couple of years ago, our neighbors replaced their grass parking strip with a water-wise garden. In addition to a number of other things, they planted four Russian Sages. The garden looks great and I love the sages because they so many attract bees and other pollinators. Don’t think I’ve ever shot this particular leafcutter before. It’s really a neat one.
One of my very, very favorite plants in the garden. A ground cover – Sedum Angelina (I think). Neat little succulent that starts yellow, but ends up with pinks, reds, greens, etc.
One of the reasons it’s so great is that it’s really aggressive – truly covers the ground. But aggressive isn’t always a good thing if you can’t get rid of whatever it is that’s aggressive – if you need to. But the Angelina is really easy to “weed” – to keep in check. Comes out really easily (for transplanting, I’d hope – giving to neighbors – whatever) and isn’t at all obnoxious that way. Blooms once a year and the pollinators seem to like it. The blossoms are so small that the bees don’t stick around long so it’s tough to get a shot, but…
Anyway, fantastic plant. Pretty, aggressive, yet manageable. Get it.
Terrible day for taxonomy. But a very good day for a neat looking bee. I know neither the name of the bee nor the flower. I took it at the Ogden Botanical Gardens in August of 2019. This is one of my favorite bees. It often has its back end up as you can see in the picture. When I was younger, I saw the aftermath of a traffic accident in which one of those long, wide, boat-like American cars from the early ’70s had gotten rear ended. The whole rear end was pushed upward, uniformly, at past a forty-five degree angle. This bee reminds me of that.
I’m not much of a taxonomist yet. Just a guy with some cameras. But I suspect I’ll get better with that over time. This one is some kind of Megachilidae for sure – unsure of genus/species. I’m pretty certain this little one is female (check out her left rear-most leg and notice the corbiculae – the pollen basket. Males don’t have those.). She’s on a Sempervivum (commonly known as Hens and Chicks) bud. Yep, the semps bloom. And they can be beautiful.
This particular bee is really territorial – downright ornery. I cannot count the number of times I’ve been lining up a shot of one bee or another on some blossom and one of these guys has bombed, full speed, into my intended subject. And not to be indelicate (cover the kids’ eyes, please), but the males of this species are, um, pretty adept at non-consensual birds-and-bees stuff – both on an intra- and inter-species level.
Kevin Vaughn has written a very worthwhile book on Hens and Chicks. It’s really accessible and is a good, instructive read if you’re interested in these amazing plants: Sempervivum: A Gardener’s Perspective of the Not-So-Humble Hens-and-Chicks (That’s an amazon link, but any bookseller can order it for you.) They’re really neat little plants and over time you’ll see a number of them in my photographs here.