Monday, May 11, 2009

A Perfumed Spring - Our Last?

This spring has been so beautiful, so fragrant, so slow to unfold that it makes the pessimist in me start looking for the summer to be a nightmare of blazing heat, thunderstorms, tornadoes or whatever that new thing is called that's like a tornado only not a funnel. But I fear that there is worse than bad weather in store for us

This is our third spring in this house and for the first time, we are just surrounded with the most incredible fragrance from flowering trees. Two big crabapple trees in particular have been astounding in the bounty of their blossoms and the perfumed air they have provided.

We have never treated them very well because the branches hung down very low and were in the way. We've been chopping them off since we got here, but now we'll treat them with more respect, I think, after seeing what they can produce.

The perfume from those trees surrounds us as soon as we step outdoors into the yard.

If the wind blows from another direction, we get the scent of lilacs - blooming way more prolifically than we have ever seen them.

When the overload of blossoms on one lilac branch got weighed down by rain, the branch touched the ground. I stuck a rake under it until I could prune it back by cutting off a huge armload of flowers for the studio.

So here's the but...there is one big problem: NO BEES. I haven't seen a single honeybee all spring. There have been some big bumblebees and smaller waspy-type bees, but NO honeybees. This is not good. Already it is very obvious that our regular apple trees produced fewer blossoms than last year. We didn't see any bees around those blossoms this year either.

Yes, we've been reading about the diminished number of bees for a couple of years, but I really can't get over the absolute absence of honeybees when the weather has been so encouraging for maximum blossom production. No bees equals no fruit and vegetables unless farmers can hand pollinate all the blossoms. I think my pessimism is warranted and not just a symptom of my addled brain. And to live without this perfume in spring would mean bereavement on top of calamity.

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