Autumn Bees


The weather is being very British right now. We have warm days and cooler nights, the tail end of someone’s hurricane has swept through, but today is calm and warm again, and the plentiful sunshine is being put to work ripening the apples and the tomatoes. There are so many late flowers full of nectar that on a warm morning the garden is humming with all sorts of wild bees and a few from local hives I imagine.


This year I grew some nicotiana from seed and the bees have been very appreciative. They are also fond of the thuggish yellow clematis which is trying to strangle my rowan tree.


There are lots of other lovely flowers to enjoy at this time of year, leycesteria formosa, Japanese anenomes, lavenders still blooming, and the perennial sweet peas dancing through everywhere, I’m still picking a few beans and the herbs are all delicious right now too.


For the first time this ornamental tree has masses of funny little purple crab apples, barely bigger than my thunbnail. I don’t know if I could turn them into purple crab apple jelly, I might get a couple of cups from the tree if I try to pick them.


22 thoughts on “Autumn Bees

  1. Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial

    I think a couple of cups of crabapples might give you a tiny bit of jelly only, but it seems a shame not to try! Maybe you could mix them with regular apples for bulk? I love the Japanese anemones, one of my favourite flowers! Beautiful fat bees you have in your garden! :)

    1. Joanna Post author

      I might try cooking a handful just to see what colour they go and mix them with some others, good idea. Then I could leave the rest for the birds in the colder weather :)

    2. Bob Colman

      As much as I love Japanese anemones I wish we hadn’t inadvertently moved some across from our old garden to the new one 14 years ago. They spread like crazy and are very difficult to get rid of – one one the few plants we have to poison every now and again.

      1. Joanna Post author

        Hello Bob, We’ve had these ones for six years and they are very slow to increase or bulk up so far and haven’t spread at all. Maybe it’s the variety? The plant I semi reget is the stipa tenuissima, a pretty grass with wonderful movement in the wind which seeds everywhere and gets in the dog’s fur. Some of the crocosima are bent on garden domination too, but I knew very little about plants when I planted this garden and I don’t know masses more now.

    1. Joanna Post author

      It’s a good chance to practice doing macro shots, I love the pollen they carry around on their legs :D

  2. teawithhazel

    oh..those bees are so so the one on the nicotinia with its fat little pollen laden legs..i harvested mine after i had enjoyed the little ruby orbs all winter..i only got one jar of jelly but it was worth the effort to see it glistening on a slice of hot buttered homemade sourdough bread..:)

    1. Joanna Post author

      Thanks jane! Last year there were hardly any flowers in my garden at this time of year, as I had only had spring and summer flowering plants, so I had a think about what else I could grow that flowered later and the nicotiana seemed to fit the bill :)

  3. heidi

    I sat in a garden in New York this week and watched the bees hustling through all the flowers. They are so industrious and make such quick work of their gathering and then whisk – on to the next flower! :)
    f enjoyed watching them- but my husband had the camera- so there were no photo moments to share.
    Love the tiny crab apples. But so do the cardinals and robins in January. I leave mine for them- I enjoy watching them even more than the bees!

    1. Joanna Post author

      New York bees have obviously no time to waste, my visitor are quite slow, they disappear into the middle of those flowers and are in there for ages, no idea what they are up to.. meditation maybe?

      If I had cardinals in winter I would leave them every apple going, but that would be a 5* bird event here :D

    1. Joanna Post author

      We’ve just sorted out the top of the bench which was an oak seat which had been colonised by fungi and fallen apart. We’ve rendered it and are waiting for it to dry out. And you would be most welcome to sit here anytime `:)

      In the meantime the fox has left his footprints in the top before it dried properly … the reason why I don’t have chickens. They go through my garden all the time.

  4. gina

    feast for our eyes, bliss for our minds and souls.. thank you joanna for sharing all of it with us! efharisto’! ευχαριστώ! :)

  5. jan trounce

    Beeautiful photos Joanna:) What is the lovely blossom in the third photo from the bottom?

    1. Joanna Post author

      The one with the hanging tassels of red and white is the leycesteria formosa. I think it’s commonly known as Himalayan honeysuckle. It has hollow stems and we cut it down to the ground each spring. The blackbirds jump up and eat the fruit which form which is always quite entertaining :D More about it here

  6. Melanie

    I always enjoy the gorgeous flowers in your yard Joanna. I don’t recognize many of them. I can almost hear the bees buzzing about the blooms. Whenever I see them now, I think of the characters in the BEE MOVIE. Have you seen it? Its a very cute movie.

    I have a poor little bee downstairs right now in a little food container. He flew in last night when I had the door open and sat in the window all night. Hubby put the little guy in the bowl this morning, I gave him a little sugar water to perk him up and hopefully it will warm up enough in a few hours, I’ll take him outside to let him go.

    1. Lynnep

      Love your flowers and bees photos. I have been planting as many bee plants as I can, and we have had loads of bees in the garden this year. We are getting our own bees in the spring, so hopefully there won’t be a shortage of nectar for them.

  7. Joanna Post author

    Hi Melanie How kind of you to look after the bee! I haven’t seen that film but I will look out for it.

    @ Lynnep Thanks for visiting! I don’t know if I will ever keep my own bees that would be a big step, good luck with yours in the Spring. Mine love alliums and cardoons in particular, you can see up to six different sorts working all over them when they are in flower.

  8. emilysincerely

    Oh what beautifully flowers and bees. I just put out humming bird feeders this week. We have and no rain in months and months so not many flowers out there I decided to help them out. They are thrilled and chattering out there all day. I love watching humming birds (and bees too when they are around). I have plans to build a few benches so I can sit out there and watch them. I should get to that now so I can watch all the hummers as they some and go. They are crazy wonderful birds.

    What nice looking crab apples too. That brings back great memories of my gram. We had a few crab apple trees in our yard when I was growing up and I would pick them and bring them inside and she would make crab apple jelly. Emily

Comments are closed.