The Violet Fern

Creating Art & Gardens


May’s Featured Bee

The month of May in my North American Native Bee Calendar purchased from the Great Sunflower Project, features the Green Bee – Ultra Green Sweat Bee to be exact, genus Agapostemon. They emerge in early spring through summer and nest in the ground.

Green bees are small and slender. Females are entirely bright green. The males have a bright green thorax and yellow and black striped abdomen. They mate in late summer, early fall and the pregnant females hibernate over the winter. They then begin a new nest in spring for their young.

You might spot a green bee in your garden if you grow the following: grindelia (gumweed), erigeron (fleabane), coreopsis (tickseed), and cosmos.

I spotted this green bee in my Maine garden where I did have many cosmos and coreopsis, although he is perched on a cone flower. I did spy one last summer in my garden here but of course, did not have my camera. They are so striking and hard to miss. I hope to see more this year.

 An update on my mason bee house. You can see the holes are filling up and plugged with mud.



April’s Featured Bee

The month of April in my North American Native Bee Calendar purchased from the Great Sunflower Project, features the Digger Bee, genus Anthophora. They may also be referred to as Longhorned Bees because males sport exceptionally long antennae. They emerge in early Spring to Summer depending on the species and mostly nest in the ground.

Most digger bees range from small to medium size. They are fuzzy – very furry, and some species display prominent black and white banding on the abdomen. They fly very fast and are able to hover before landing on a flower. Swarms of males can be seen cruising around nesting sites seeking emerging females. Digger bees typically have very long tongues.

You might find digger bees in your garden if you grow the following: salvia, lavender, nepeta/catnip, phacelia.

I hope to search for them in my front garden that I expanded just last fall.

This photo was taken of the front garden last week before the “big clean up.” Here I have growing lavender and nepeta walker’s low, as well as snow in summer, russian sage, lambs ears, iris and aster. Blooming are reticulated iris.

I noticed that I have quite a bit of action in my mason bee house right now. I cannot positively identify the bees flying in and out of here – they are fast and go in the holes before I can get a good look! Then they pop back out like little rockets. I believe they are collecting nectar and pollen. On the day I observed them it was sunny and warm – today, not so much.


Above is a close up. These holes are made from bamboo and go quite deep so I’ve yet to see a mud plug but I am keeping my fingers crossed. I will let you know of any progress. This house should last for several seasons and faces southwest.

In the meantime I’ll be in the garden among the bees.