365 Nature – Day 111

In 2016 I’m doing a 365 Nature project. Each day of the year I will post something here about nature. It may be any format, a photo, video, audio, sketch or entry from my nature journal. It could be a written piece. Each day I will connect to nature in some way and share it here by the end of that day. You can keep up-to-date by subscribing to the RSS feed or be notified by email. See all the 365 Nature posts.


When we bought our house, nearly four years ago a row of evergreen shrubs was growing along the entire front yard and I declared when we had plants suitable to replace them, they all had to go. They had been pruned away from the yard so they all hang over the sidewalk and one continually grows around a fire hydrant and requires constant pruning. There are several rhododendrons/azaleas and two California Lilacs. Personally I think the California Lilacs are ugly, scraggly things that should be removed immediately, but they do have one enormous benefit: the bees go crazy over them. They don’t bloom long, maybe a couple of weeks each year, but when they do bloom there are dozens upon dozens of bees constantly swarming around them. And not honey bees – nearly all are solitary bees, perhaps mason bees.

Today when we got home, I stood in front of them and watched the bees buzzing all over the flowers in a frenzy. I was close so I could take photos with my phone and they kept bumping into my hand and arms in their haste. Last year I think the plant bloomed early because I don’t remember many bees then. This year the timing is just right and I can see the tiny bodies of bees swarming around even from inside the house. At some point the plants will have to go, but until then I hope the bees continue to make good use of them.

Kelly Brenner
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Kelly Brenner

Kelly Brenner is a naturalist and writer based in Seattle. She founded and writes The Metropolitan Field Guide, a blog for ideas, thoughts and resources for the design of urban wildlife habitat and has contributed articles to a variety of other websites and publications.

Kelly has a certificate from the University of Washington in non-fiction writing. She continually takes classes and attends talks on various natural history topics. In 2009 she earned a bachelors degree in landscape architecture from the University of Oregon.

She's also an avid photographer focusing on the natural world.
Kelly Brenner
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  1. Glad you are keeping the lilacs for now. I really like the flowers and their scent. And of course, those bees are voting with their buzz.

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