Six on Saturday – W23/2020 – 1 year celebration and the little things in life

Today celebrates one year since I posted my first ‘Six on Saturday’. What fun and what a learning curve it has been. A year ago I featured my Fried Egg plant, Rose of Sharon, Aloe, Polygala (which I noticed today looks as if it is dying), small cuphea (still going strong) and a Viola. The Fried Egg plant started flowering much earlier this season compared to last year, as did the Rose of Sharon. This week as I ambled around the garden, I noticed some of the little things that normally go unnoticed or those that are taken for granted.

1. The white Dombeya is flowering, and a-buzzing with bees! I took a few close-up photos of one bee who seemed a little undecided. The bee hovered at the opening of the flower for a while before landing on a petal. The bee’s back legs had two distinct white lumps of pollen on them. These are known as the bees pollen baskets, or corbiculae. Pollen is a protein source for bees.

In this photo you can clearly see the pollen basket on the hind leg and the proboscis (tongue) of the bee

2. The Dombeya had other bugs on it as well as the bees, and this tiny spider caught my eye. It had spun its web just above the surface of a leaf. Notice the zig-zag pattern of the web, and that the spider is sitting with its legs in pairs.

3. Earlier on this year I discovered a nest of beneficial wasps. They had constructed their nest right under the arch leading into the garden. The link to that post is HERE. The nest has been abandoned. Looking at the other side of the nest you notice that each little egg cells are empty as the tiny wasps have emerged and left the nest.

4. I found another little nest in the garden, this time belonging to (I’m guessing) the Golden Orb spider. You can tell this as the web fibres are a golden colour and are very strong. Tiny spiders will eventually emerge from this nest, and if no predator find them they will scatter into the garden. This little egg case has been attached to the underside of one of the leaves of the large Bromeliad.

5. While I was cutting off the dieback from one of my small potted roses this week, I noticed a slight movement in the rose bush out of the corner of my eye.

At first I could not see what it was, but when it moved again, I looked a little harder, and spotted it!!

A very well camouflaged stick insect!! Isn’t nature amazing?

6. Despite the cold weather there are still some moths and butterflies fluttering around…. oh, and mosquitoes, unfortunately! This little butterfly was sipping nectar from a Calendula flower. If you look closely you can see its proboscis stretching out to reach the nectar.

There is such a variety of things to see in everyone’s garden, so take a look at The Propagator’s blog, and in the comments section view the links to other gardeners from around the world. Happy gardening!

24 comments

  1. Your anniversary coincides with my first week. I am certainly motivated to last the course, particularly when I read a post such as yours. Very very informative, wonderful photographs and a writing style that appeals to me. Wishing you well as you start another year.

  2. You did so well with the photographs of the bees. I will admit that I struggle to look at insects, bees included, which I guess is maybe a bit of a phobia. I can cope with them in the garden, it’s their home after all, but I have looked at a yours (with an eye almost shut lol) and the stick insect shot is also excellent.

    Lots of very interesting comments too.

    • Oh dear! Never mind, we all have a phobia of some sort. I’m pretty nervous about big spiders and poisonous snakes (as you’ve noticed from my blog, I can go quite close to pythons, and have become quite protective of them. Pythons are not poisonous). We do have lots of insects in the garden though! Yes, there have been some very interesting comments, and I have learnt a lot from everyone this week!

    • Thank you! That was a surprising find indeed! And since the post I have learnt so much more about them too. The bees are incredibly busy at the moment (and its winter here…).

  3. Stick bugs are amazing! When I worked at a local feed store, we sold stick bugs for pets. A local family would bring them in to us. We had to go out back of the store, across a railroad track, to get their bramble food. I don’t know if different kinds eat different foods, ours ate blackberries and roses. Unfortunately, we had to stop when too many homeless encampments made us concerned for our safety. Then again, stick bugs do belong in the wild, so it was for the best!

    • Thank you Lisa for your interesting reply! I had always thought they were similar to praying mantis and therefore predators, so was fascinated to read that they ate plants. I followed up by reading more about them online. They are really fascinating little creatures. Thank you kindly for all the information!

  4. I looked up Dombeya, the name being familiar but not the plant. It led me to the Wikipedia entry on Joseph Dombey, who botanised extensively in South America, though your plant appears to be D. tiliacea which comes from South Africa. You have led me to knowledge and for that I am grateful. The stick insect is pretty cool too.

    • I wondered if my plant was D. tiliacea; I had it down as another species, probably from when I bought the plant two years ago. I have very fond memories of D. rotundifolia and just loved the way it lit up the dry brown grasslands and hills as it heralded in spring. You could spot each Dombeya shrub from afar. I learnt a lot from another comment by another blogger Lisa, who prompted me to read up more about the stick insect. I had for some reason thought that they were predators. Turns out they eat vegetation, and roses are one of their favourites. The stick insect can stay, seeing as there is not a plague of them.

  5. Wow I learned a lot about insects today! That stick fellow would have been chopped in my garden because I could hardly find him! Have you changed up your blog? I don’t remember it having this setting and I like it! I’m going over to find the fried egg plant because iI can’t remember it and I definitely want to!

    • We do have a good variety of insects here, and unfortunately there are only a few that I am able to identify. Yes, I have changed my blog – and I’m using a different theme. (It was all a huge learning curve for me, but I somehow muddled my way through it). Glad you like it. I really like the new theme and look. I just need to do more with the blog….I will get there!

  6. Great nature shots today. It is a wonder that stick insect didn’t get the chop! They are so well camouflaged. The Dombeya is lovely and I too have not heard of this before.

    • Thank you! I would have been so upset if I had chopped it!! I have since done some reading on the stick insects, and am amazed by what I read! Dombeya is one of my favourite shrubs, and the flowers are just beautiful!

  7. Happy anniversary! And wow! Wonderful pictures, and I’m enjoying your wildlife especially the stick insect. I had to look up dombeya, what a beauty. Have a great week 🙂

    • Thank you! I love discovering the wildlife too, and you have to look carefully in order to spot them. I’m thrilled with my Dombeya. Once it finishes flowering I will try and propagate more from cuttings. The flowers turn brown when they dry, similar to hydrangeas, and look quite pretty too.

    • I had to look closely to see the stick insect too. It was a lucky find! They move very slowly, in jerky forward movements, making them hard to spot. And they are well camouflaged!

    • It’s interesting to read Lisa’s comment. I had no idea they ate plants. For some reason I thought they were predators. I read up about them, and it was a very interesting. I do love discovering these little, often overlooked, creatures in the garden.

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