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Bees! And Hummingbirds, Too.

The butterflies are mostly gone for the season, but bees are still going strong. And nowhere do I see more evidence of that than in the Perennials Department at Behnkes, where I took these photos and could have bee-watched all day. The big, furry bumblebees are especially fun because besides being big, they’re nice and slow. Also, apparently unbothered by nearby humans with cameras.

Bumblebees on Agastache ‘Purple Haze’ and ‘Blue Fortune’.

I asked Perennial Department staffer Karin whether they ever sting anyone and she’d never heard of that happening. She was stung here once, though, not by the friendly bumblebee but by a wasp, and only because she grabbed it mistakenly when picking up a pot by the rim. Karin is called upon regularly to assure some bee-anxious visitors, especially kids, that left alone, bees are far too busy feeding to bother with attacking us humans.

Honeybee and Bumblebee on Sedums.
Bees and butterfly on Asters.
Honeybees on Coreopsis and an Echinacea variety.

I didn’t see any hummingbirds among the perennials the day I visited, so asked Karin about her own hummer sightings. She told me that late afternoon is prime hummingbird time in the nursery, and that these plants are their favorites: Penstemon, tubular Agastaches, Lobelia cardinalis, Monarda, the annual ‘Blue Black’ Salvia, and the summer bulb Crocosmia ‘Lucifer.”

Gotta get more of them for my garden, put them in a prime viewing spot, and wait for the party to arrive. I’m totally awed by seeing them up close, especially after seeing their movements slowed down and up close in this PBS documentary.

Posted by Susan Harris.

Stephanie Fleming was raised at Behnke’s Nurseries in Beltsville. Her Mom, Sonja, was one of Albert & Rose Behnke’s four children. She was weeding from the moment she could walk and hiding as soon as she was old enough to run, so many weeds, so little time. Although she quickly learned how to pull out a perennial and get taken off of weed pulling duty.

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