Friday, January 30, 2009

Bombus affinis: a "rara apis" Spotted in Illinois

Bombus affinis / Rusty patched bumble bee

The citizen beespotter program at the uiuc, in it's first year, has had a positive ID of a bumble bee not seen in Illinois for many years.
What a great project to get the many eyes(and cameras) of the public working to understand where and which bees live in Illinois.

Beespotter has a website where Topics range from How to take a good photo of a bee ,
Designing A Bee Garden .

Once you join even if you have no pictures to add (yet) you can view pictures taken by other beespotters and identified by university staff.
I have added a couple of photos of bumble bees to the site and intend to add many more this coming year. Orland Grassland, where a prairie restoration is underway, should be a bee haven.
Check it out and if you live or visit Illinois, take a few pictures of the bees you encounter, then share.

Bees at pollinators-welcome

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Pictures of Gardening in San Antonio Texas

While googling San Antonio gardens to check out, I came across a post about visiting The San Antonio Botanical Gardens written by Pam at Digging in Austin Tx. She has some great pictures and an informative post about the water saver gardens display .

Pam's pictures of Water Saver Lane were taken in Summer.
The pictures here were taken a couple of weeks ago...a winter look.

The wildlife garden had many birds, which noisily let us know we were interfering with foraging.

Pam at ... Digging
Digging post...San Antonio Botanical Garden
Water Saving Lane .

The rest of these pictures were taken as we walked along San Antonio streets. A look at what some San Antonio gardeners are doing in real front gardens.

To bad I can't find any San Antonio garden bloggers.

Here is a great option for spending time outside.

Lawn people...

A touch of the south.

Friday, January 23, 2009

San Antonio Texas...Visiting Botanical Gardens In Winter

While travel in winter would not seem to be the best time for visiting botanical gardens, they are really both fun and beautiful as well as less crowded this time of year.

Of course winter in Southern Texas is quite a different thng than winter in Chicago Illinois, where we live.

No deep freeze or heavy snowfall to end bloom or bounty. I don't think I could find the Swiss Chard or fennel under the snow here at home.

There didn't seem to be much space devoted to lawn. Not even at the entry.

Plenty of color, ground covers and wide walks from which to enjoy the setting.

Small garden beds,

Dry slopes,

Great plant companions,

and desert habitat.

My favorite though was the trails through native plantings and some old buildings from Texas history.

Look at that wide expanse of porch and the vegetable garden to the side.

That porch was a perfect spot from which to view the pond and the abundant wildlife. I can imagine shelling beans for dinner and enjoying a breeze. Might need screening from the mosquitoes during summer but evening would be heaven.

The art work was a nice touch.

Map of San Antonio Botanical Garden