Saturday, May 01, 2010
Onion, Thyme and Bees
Back in March, when my garden began to revive after that cold, cold winter, I had posted a picture of the first bud of 2009. It wasn't a crocus or a daffodil, as you might expect - no, it was on a green onion that had overwintered. I've been watching them come up since then - they weren't in a particular rush! 2 weeks ago, they were just beginning to split their papery coverings, as shown above.
Steve the Paddling Chef told me that the proper kitchen-gardener thing to do would be cut them off so that the onions would focus on bulbing out their roots. I couldn't do it though, like last year's experiment with the runaway chard, I was just too curious to see what was going to happen.
This week, I found out! Look, isn't it spectacular?
For size comparison -- oops, adding this note after some confusion was expressed in the comments: this is a Matchbox car that I found half-buried by my plot:
The thyme I showed in that March picture is flowering as well:
And I'm not sure why I didn't take a picture but in the next plot over, there are some collards that made it through the winter & they are putting on a show that's almost forsythian in nature. Who'd a thunk?
While I was taking pictures of the onion blooms, I noticed that a bee was working on them - but it was a kind of bee I'd never seen before. Not honey, not bumble, but the tiniest bee I've ever seen. I might have mistaken it for a fly if it hadn't been behaving in such a perfectly apian manner, and if I hadn't been familiarized with the idea that there are more than 2 kinds of bees by neighbor & fellow blogger "Xris".
I think it's a sweat bee - not a very attractive name for a not unnattractive little insect, but apparently they are quite fond of salt & if you are sweating on a hot day, they may try to land on you & lick some off!
I began to learn about native American bees when Xris the Flatbush Gardener (actually a neighbor of mine) introduced his readers to the cellophane bees who had taken up residence in his garden. He's got several interesting posts about bees of different types - including an interesting rant about how we could be less dependent on the health & well-being of our "livestock" honeybees if we'd paid more attention to maintaining habitat for the range of bees who are native to this country. For that, and some great pictures & video of his cellophane bees, click here!