Right now my garden is filled with happy bees, busily gathering nectar to feed the hive through the winter. I'm impressed by their industry as I read on a chaise soaking up the slanting, barely-warm enough rays of the sun that signal autumn is fast approaching.
It's worth planting a few late bloomers to keep bees fed through autumn - the most popular flowers in my garden at the moment are sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale) and any kind of sedum, also lavender...all of which seem to vibrate with the concentrated, buzzy eagerness of bees at work.
A bee taking a rest on Clematis roguchi, above and hard at work on the dusty pink flower clusters of Sedum 'Purple Emperor', below.
One of the best books I read this summer is Honeybee: Lessons of an Accidental Beekeeper by C. Marina Marchese, a true and personal tale by a graphic artist turned beekeeper who followed her bee lust around the world learning all about bee care, lore and products. Then I just ran across a web page devoted to bee iconography - take a look at Bees in Art. Who knew we humans evoke bees in so many charming and beautiful ways to encourage their presence and survival? Speaking of, here's my own garden totem to bees and all they accomplish....a mosaic by Vashon artist Clare Dohna, and the cornerstone paver in my garden. My son helped me lay this paver on a cold February morning, and sure enough, it drew a fat, sleepy, grumpy bumblebee out of hibernation to buzz around our heads and land, yes, right on the bee. I took it as a good omen....