"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion" Francis Bacon 1561-1626

Monday, 5 April 2010

There Will Be Apples!.. (if you have an Orchard Bee). Osmia rufa again.

I knew I was going to repaint this one, so here is this serious little mason bee again. I have to be completely frank .. she is not the most elegant of bees. The female bees have rather large heads, which plus the accompanying horns give her a rather pugnacious appearance. She will use the horns to shape the mud for her nest.  I have written about the Osmia Orchard bees both UK and USA before here, so I am not going to say much more and there is oodles of info on the internet.

Solitary Bee Blog

One delightful and fascinating blog is from Paul at http://solitarybee.com/blog/. Paul lives near Paris and charts his life with his solitary bees and his successes and failures in trying to increase their numbers. He talks about his concerns, his observations and conclusions with affection and humour. He doesn’t have fancy bee nests, some are as simple as beer cans and rolled paper. He is a diligent and resourceful carer. I particular liked his use of a black socks to keep out the light and prevent his cocoons from premature emergence (from an early post here). There are some short films with French bird soundtracks and lots of info about the care of Osmia rufa and cornuta 

solitary bee success

“End of 2009 solitary bee successes – c.90 cocoons became 400” Photo by Paul from his blog,,

I am quoting a piece from his intro which is interesting, not only because of his appreciation for and understanding of these lovely bees but for the curious attitude of the French.

“According to the experts, each bee can pollinate up to ten times more flowers than a honey bee but they are in no way aggressive to those in their midst. Over here in France, they are often misunderstood by people looking on; where my ‘colony’ of bees live, the locals here refer to them as lazy bees because they don’t produce honey (and thus appear to be of no exploitable value).

For me however they are a source of inspiration. What they achieve in their focused short existence leaves the world in a much better shape – in 2007 our orchards were full of fruit.”

I hope you are getting your message across Paul. 

 

The Painting

I changed the painting, made her a little smaller and daintier, and, in tribute to their unsung work in the orchards, she is now flying up towards apple blossom. .. I think this will also be the title of the painting…

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There Will Be Apples. 

osmia 2sm

Watercolour and pencil on Arches HP approx 7 x 8”

9 comments:

. . . Lisa and Robb . . . said...

Everything about this makes me smile.

nancybond said...

You are so incredibly talented! I think she's a darling little bee, and, because of her and others like her, there really *will* be apples. :)

Marcia said...

I think she is beautiful - your drawings are just so lovely Val, you really make these little creatures come alive. I am determined to find out more about our native bees after reading your blog. .
please publish all your gorgeous drawings in a book then I can buy it.

Jane said...

What a beautiful painting. I'm trying to encourage these bees into my garden with tubes - no takers yet, but early days! However, I did manage to photograph a gorgeous little bee over the weekend, this Andrena sp. (bicolor - I think!) was sat on a daffodil. http://www.flickr.com/photos/naturewatched/4496344498/ http://www.flickr.com/photos/naturewatched/4495705895/in/photostream/ and managed to see a Feather-footed flower bee (my first ever!) but unfortunately the photo was awful :) The weather is supposed to be nice this week - so I'm hoping to see many more while I'm gardening.

sharp green pencil said...

You are all so kind.. and I agree Nancy she is a real "darling". What a lovely word to describe her.

Lisa and Rob: Thank you It makes me smile too, as does your blog!

Marcia: Thank you so much. I will get round to making some of these available in some form or another!

Jane: Thank you.. Lovely photo as always I really must get a new camera!! I have hundreds of bad photos, good enough for reference for me but not good enough for the public!

Shady Gardener said...

She's very sweet. You always do such a beautiful job of illustrating them, and the composition is wonderful! :-) Thank you for sharing your endeavors!

sharp green pencil said...

SG Indeed she is a very nice bee.. Thank you so much for you continuing support and appreciation.

Deborah said...

That is a beautiful bee. You've really captured her essence. I rarely see honeybees in my garden, but am enjoying all the others that have taken up residence.

sharp green pencil said...

Hi Deborah, Lovely to hear from you. She is an adorably ugly little bee isnt she... but I wonder why no honey bees? Glad you have plenty of others!