Thursday, January 27, 2011
Bee Pollen In January!
It was warm and sunny on Sunday afternoon, so I went out back to check on the flowering hazelnut catkins. The catkins first appear on the trees in late November, tight like pinecones in mid-summer, and slowly lengthen through December and January, when they develop tiny bright magenta blooms and shed pollen everywhere. These blooms are a sign of spring in the back yard, so I was hunting. While I stood on the garden bed bridge, studying the tree, a bee landed on my arm. I looked at her twice—she had saddlebags full of pollen! It’s January, I thought—where is this coming from? Then I looked up into the hazelnut tree rising above the hive and watched the long catkins moving slightly in the breeze and saw bees dancing among the branches, culling pollen from the tree. Food in January—my hive will be around to pollinate the fruit trees this year.
The quince bush is blooming. The rhubarb is just unfurling a leaf. One primrose is budding. Snowdrops are open in the front yard. Spring is on the way.