Paddy’s Blog

Solitary Bees

Mason, Mining and Leafcutter Bees

Audio version of Solitary Bees – P Madden There are 77 species of Solitary bee resident in Ireland and all are excellent pollinators.  They do not live in colonies like honeybees or bumblebees.  Instead of egg-laying queens in hives solitary bees have females that mate, lay eggs and build nurseries. If you erect a solitary…

Foxgloves

Purples/Pink Bells of High Summer

Audio version of Foxgloves – P Madden The Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea) or Lus mór or Méirín púca in Irish displays its spikes of purple-pink bells from June to August. (1) The genus “Digitalis” derived from the Latin word “digitus” which means finger.  A finger can easily be inserted into any of the tubular bells.  The…

Nettles and Plantains

More Plants That Don’t Need Bees

Audio version of Nettles – P Madden Plants that are pollinated by the wind lack the striking colours and strong scents of insect-pollinated plants.  Colour and scent attract insects; wind-pollinated plants don’t need either. One common flowering plant that is wind-pollinated is the Stinging nettle (Urtica dioica) or Neantóg in Irish. (1a) The whorls of…

Common Grasses

Plants That Don’t Need Bees

Audio of Common Grasses – P Madden Plants that are pollinated by the wind lack the striking colours and strong scents of insect-pollinated plants.  Colour and scent attract insects. In contrast, the flowers of grasses are dull because they only require wind to scatter their pollen. One very common grass seen now on roadside verges…

Hedgerow

Two Beauties of the June Hedgerow

Audio version of Hedgerow – P Madden The flat-topped, creamy-white flower clusters or corymbs of the Elder (Sambucus nigra) or Trom in Irish form lofty, fragrant tiers as they dominate the hedgerows in June.  The anthers which hold the pollen are pale yellow and this is gathered by flies, hoverflies and bees.  These flowers are…

Flowers

Unmissable roadside flowers

Audio version of Flowers – P Madden Masses of Cow parsley (Anthriscus sylvestris) or Persil bhó in Irish have been dominating and brightening up roadsides, hedgerows and woodland edges since April and are always a herald of summer.  They are beginning to fade now and leave nature’s stage. (1a;1b) It is sometimes called Queen Anne’s…

An Amazing Weed

Garlic mustard or Hedge garlic

Audio version of Garlic – Paddy Madden Hedge garlic (Alliaria petiolate), Garlic mustard or Jack by the Hedge or Bóchoinneal in Irish is one of those plants that is regularly weeded without a moment’s thought for the spectacular contribution it makes to biodiversity in the garden and on the roadside. Alliaria means that it smells…