Friday, 28 June 2013

Our week in pictures at Bristol

Honeybee (Apis mellifera) on an ox-eye daisy (Leucanthemum  vulgare)
Musk mallow (Malvus moschata) has just come into flower this week at Horfield Common
Horfield Common perennial meadow
Five-spot burnet (Zygaena trifolii)
Victoria Park, one of our perennials that has become dominated by coarse grasses.   Despite this it still contains plenty of yellow rattle (Rhinanthus minor), carrot (Daucus carota), red clover (Trifolium pratense) and black knapweed (Centaurea nigra)

A tree bee (Bombus hypnorum) homing in on the viper's bugloss (Echium vulgare)
A common carder bee (Bombus pascuorum)
Viper's bugloss towering above the sea of Ox eye dasies at Stoke Bishop Halls
Carrot starting to flower
Perennial poser at Beacon Rise
Our first field scabious (Knautia arvensis)  of the year at Horfield Common
Perennial meadow at Hengrove Park 
One of our annual meadows beginning to flower at City Academy
Ryan the giant towering over Lynne
Our (Bombus terrestris/lucorum) nest right outside the back door of the university!

Leaving the nest to refill
Heading to the nest with her pollen basket full

Bringing pollen back to the nest (notice the two different colours of pollen on each leg)
While Ryan and I are hard at work weeding, Lynne checks the cloud cover!!

Thursday, 27 June 2013

Reading Flower Meadows in late June 2013

It is late June now and the perennial flower meadows in Reading are in full bloom, alive with pollinators and other insects. The most obvious flower in the meadows is ox-eye daisy (Leucanthemum vulgare) with its big white flowers with a yellow center.
Other plants which are flowering at the moment are for example birds-foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) with its small yellow flowers which often have a red tinge, pink-flowered musk mallow (Malva moschata), viper`s bugloss (Echium vulgare) with its brilliant blue flowers, red and white clover (Trifolium pratense and T. repens) and wild carrot (Daucus carota). Pollinators love the flowers and if you are standing beside the meadow you can hear them buzzing everywhere. We have also seen quite a lot of small grey-green and blue damselflies as well as interesting-looking solitary wasps in the meadows.

A solitary wasp
Wild carrot in our meadow in Meadway Recreation Ground
Birds-foot trefoil (Lotus corniculatus)
Musk mallow and viper`s bugloss in the Portman Road meadow
A sea of ox-eye daisies in Westfield Road Recreation Ground
A pretty rose chafer beetle
Wild carrot and ox-eye daisies
A tree bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum)
Bumblebees (here: Bombus lapidarius) like the ox-eye daisies
Our meadows are buzzing with pollinators
Red - and white clover growing in the Meadway Recreation Ground meadow
Our meadow along Portman Road looks really nice
Bombus pratorum on viper`s bugloss
A small tortoiseshell butterfly
White ox-eye daisies with pink musk mallows and blue viper`s bugloss
We have seen a lot of these small damselflies in the meadows

The annual flower meadows still need a bit of time but the first flowers are opening now as well. You can see small white-flowered and honey-scented sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritima), taller white-flowered white wall rocket (Diplotaxis erucoides), pink-flowered virginia stock (Malcomia maritima) and in some meadows the first orange californian poppy flowers (Eschscholzia californica).

Sweet alyssum flowering in the annual meadow in Palmer Park
A solitary bee visiting sweet alyssum flowers
Californian poppies and borage in the Victoria Recreation Ground meadow
A nice hoverfly on sweet alyssum flowers
Andrena haemorrhoa likes the sweet alyssum as well

Read more about the flower meadows here. If you want to visit the flower meadows have a look here to find their locations in Reading. Best time to visit the perennial meadows is from June to August. Best time for the annual meadows is from mid/end July to September.

Friday, 21 June 2013

Leeds Flower Meadows

Summer has finally has arrived in Yorkshire, so we have been out and about surveying the 15 flower meadows in Leeds. 

10 of our meadows were sown with an annual seed mix at the end of May, and so are still germinating - hopefully some rain and lots more sunshine will encourage the growth of these plants. 5 meadows were sown last year and this year, and 5 were newly implemented for 2013 - these newer meadows are currently growing more slowly, as you can see from the pictures below, but on the whole they are already doing well. These annual meadows will start flowering over the next fortnight and will be in full bloom between July-September.

Annual meadow at Armley Park
Annual meadow at East End Park
New annual meadow at West Park playing fields

Our 5 perennial meadows are in full flower now, after a slow start with the cold spring. We have thoroughly enjoyed visiting them over the past few weeks, particularly this week when many have been dominated by beautiful ox-eye daisies (Leucanthemum vulgare). Here are a few of our favourite snaps of these meadows and their pollinator visitors...

Perennial meadow at Scott Hall Pitches, Chapel Allerton
Solitary bee (Andrena sp.) on ox-eye daisy

Perennial meadow at Stanhope Recreation Ground, Horsforth
A bee's-eye view across a Horsforth hilltop
Perennial meadow at Burley Park 
Ashy mining bee (Andrena cineraria)
Hoverfly (Volucella pellucens)
Tree bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum)
Perennial meadow at Ebor Gardens, East Leeds
Our single Viper's bugloss (Echium vulgare) plant at Ebor Gardens

We have already seen high numbers and a great diversity of pollinating insects on these meadows so far - here's hoping they continue to develop well and attract a multitude of urban pollinators over the summer!