Photograph – Oh Bee-aby!

There are loves throughout my life that have been questionable: people, habits, places, some friends. But my love of nature and the pollen-gathering creatures God has made is not a choice I feel will diminish or ever be deemed debatable. I don’t remember the exact moment in time I took this photo, but when I came across it today, it immediately brought back the spring/summer rush I feel when I grab my camera and run straight for the garden bed and insects gathered there.

The hum of bees is the voice of the garden.
Elizabeth Lawrence

There is nothing motley about the pollen sprinkled across the bumblebees, in fact it seems ethereal, dusting the bumblebee’s fur/pile with magic.

Bumblebees have round bodies covered in soft hair called ‘pile’, making them appear and feel fuzzy.

Nature – Check out this article for amazing facts about bumblebees!

The sweet bumbler hangs on and collects pollen from lavender bee balm (Monarda fistulosa), a dependable perennial in my summer garden. Bee Balm blossoms are my Flower of the Day.

Quotes, Proverbs & Poetry – Beautiful Bugs

In the waning days of July, my backyard is a living canvas of flowers and beautiful bugs.

“The pedigree of honey does not concern the bee, a clover, anytime, to him, is aristocracy.” ~ Emily Dickinson

“Until the crickets sing it is not summer.” ~ Greek Proverb

Hurt no living thing:
Ladybird, nor butterfly,
Nor moth with dusty wing.

~Christina Georgina Rossetti

“A dragonfly to remind me even though we are apart,
Your spirit is always with me,
Forever in my heart.

~ Author Unknown

“Happiness is a butterfly, which, when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.”
~ Nathaniel Hawthorne

Photograph – Ablaze and Abuzz

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Vivid.”
“The theme for this week’s photo challenge is “Vivid.” Perhaps it’s your favorite flower in full bloom, a beautiful sunset or the color of your ice cream. Vivid is limited only by your imagination. Have fun with the challenge!”

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I took a bike ride after reading the WordPress photo challenge for this week, I was armed with my camera and an eye for color. Vivid subjects for photographing presented themselves at every turn of my wheels and handlebars. When I came upon this beautiful rose bush, ablaze with color, I knew I need not pedal any further. Cascades of pink with yellow centers glowed vividly under the early afternoon sky.

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On closer inspection, I heard, then saw, dozens of honeybees clustered on the pollen laden centers. The rose bush was abuzz with their gathering.

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I love honeybees, my grandfather had hives, and now my sister is a beekeeper.

Roses & Bee

The bees, enraptured with the bounty of pollen, were quite the willing subjects for my photographs. I wonder if they might be from my sister’s hives.

Rose & Flying Bee

Honeybees can gather honey up to six miles from their hives, but usually stay within a two mile radius of their home. I enjoy the WordPress Photo Challenges. If I had not ventured out with my camera, I wouldn’t have experienced those fifteen carefree minutes standing beside a rose bush ablaze in petals of pink and abuzz with gathering bees.

Quote & Perspective – Busy as a Bee


The weather has turned warm in my area of New Jersey…perfect for an early Spring Walk. I took advantage of the warmth and strolled the paths of a local park. I love pussy willows, and as I gazed upward at the fuzzy catkins, awash in pollen, I made my first bumble bee sighting of 2015.


He was “Busy as a Bee,” butting and bumbling amongst the golden strands of pollen. On arriving home I followed his example and busied myself making a list of Springtime garden chores. The list looks daunting, but contrary to other to-do lists, this one fills me with JOY! Sunshine, birdsong and muddy fingers await me when I put this list into practice. Yes, I will be busy as that bumblebee this week.


As I was composing this post my husband walked by the room and said, “There’s an orange sky behind you.”


The sight of the brilliant morning sky reminded me that while I can choose to be as busy as a bee, I also need set aside time to cherish the splendor of the springtime and guard against being so completely immersed in the seasonal tasks that I fail to enjoy the glory surrounding me.


“Ey! Goddes mercy!” sayd our Hoste tho,
Now such a wyf I pray God keep me fro.
Lo, suche sleightes and subtilitees
In wommen be; for ay as busy as bees.”
~ Geoffrey Chaucer, Canterbury Tales, Squire’s Tale

Photo Challenge – Swallowtails, Zinnias and Bumblebees, Oh My!

“Away with the colors of Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa. Show us what “Yellow ” means to you.” Photo Challenge at WordPress – December 19th

swallowtail on zinnia

My first thought for this challenge was to choose a photograph of yellow flowers. I have dozens, hundreds, maybe thousands of flowers on disc. Many of the photos have been taken in my own gardens, others at local public gardens in the area I live.

I decided instead to combine a favorite flower, zinnias, with a yellow swallowtail butterfly. Perfect. I love swallowtails. Lately, the weather and environmental issues have diminished their ranks, but hopefully their numbers will rebound in our area soon.

I love zinnias, and especially am entranced by the yellow ring of flowers surrounding their center. I always give this ring of small flowers, technically called “disc flowers” my own whimsical name of fairy ring flowers. This is where the butterflies find the nectar that they drink.

Zinnias have “Heads composed of both disc and ray flowers, with disc flowers tightly packed together in the head’s “eye,” while enlarged ray flowers function as petals radiating outward from the eye.” Composite Flowers – Backyard Nature

Here’s a closer look at the yellow “fairy ring” of zinnia disc flowers, this time hosting a Skipper butterfly.

skipper on butterfly

I loved this photograph so much I used it as a reference for a 5 x 7 watercolor, and posted the finished results on this blog: Skipper on a Zinnia


Another visitor to the zinnias is a bumblebee in a fuzzy yellow jacket. Gorgeous insects all!

This post is definitely a tad out of season, but perhaps you are like me, and at the threshold of winter enjoy being reminded that Spring is only three months away.

Painting & Phavorites – October Wet Canvas Plant Parade Challenge & Color Palette Generators

big huge lab

The Summer of 2014 was not very hot, but that fact was an advantage for my wildflower garden; the closely packed flowers thrived without the wilting heat. I spied a sweet bumblebee visiting a bachelor button and managed to snap a photograph at just the right moment. I have chosen this as my reference photo for this month’s WetCanvas Plant Parade Challenge.

WetCanvas is free for anyone to join – Welcome New Visitors Page
WetCanvas Create New Account Page

Joanne N is the host for the WetCanvas Plant Parade October.

The October 2014 Plant Parade

“Welcome to October!

Fall is just beginning in the Northern Hemisphere, while Spring has just arrived in the Southern Hemisphere.

But I’m not ready to let Summer or my garden go quite yet (even though we had a huge dump of snow in early September). So if you’ll bear with me, I’d like to share some photos from my garden with you to use as reference photos this month. Feel free to paint your own garden reference if you wish.
Use any media you like, we love them all! If you have time, do more than one!

Keep the banter going, share your adventures and misadventures while you’re creating.
All we ask is that you do not post your work until October 25th!.”

Joanne N posted an amazing array of reference photographs to use. I’ve chosen three of my favorites for this post.

PicMonkey Collagejpgwc

After I chose one of my own photographs as my reference for the October Plant Parade I broke down some of the colors in my Paint application.

Bachelor Button Chart

When I create a color chart I have an easy time choosing watercolors to use.

I also enjoy using color lab palette generator sites for viewing the color charts they create. I’ve included three for you to take a look at:
Color Palette FX
Color Palette Generator
Big Huge Labs

Plant – Verbena bonariensis

blog 028Last year I wrote about a plant I loved by the name of Verbena bonariensis. Well, this year I love the plant and its flowers even more! The plant self-seeded and now I have dozens of this tall and beautiful perennial adorning my mid-summer garden. The flowers draw honeybees, bumblebees and butterflies.

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I get a lift each time I walk by and see the blossoms swaying in the breeze or playing host to a hungry bee or butterfly.

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Some great information about verbena bonariensis can be found here: Verbena bonariensis

Peculiarities – In Love with Bugs/Dragonflies, Hoverflies and Bumblebees


Dragonfly on Stick

I’ll admit I’ve always been in love with bugs. They are fascinating. Many of the ones I’ve included in this post are beneficial to have in your yard. Dragonflies, beyond their amazing beauty, are voracious mosquito-eaters. Hoverflies, besides sipping nectar from flowers, are a predator of aphids. Bumblebees, in their velvety jackets, are amazing pollinators.


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