pollen quest

A visit to the Van Dusen Botanical Gardens recently proved to be a real treat–my first honeybee sighting of 2015! The intrepid bees ventured out between downpours in search of nectar and pollen. This busy little worker was in the process of loading light yellow pollen onto her hind legs from a hybrid honeysuckle bush (lonicera purpursii).

lonicera-purpusii

In a different part of the Gardens, the scent of Sweet Box (Sarcococca) blossoms was intoxicating. Thought there’d be lots of bees there, but the skies darkened, the air became chilly as the sun disappeared behind the dense grey clouds. No bees, sadly.

I photographed my own Sarcococca ruscifolia plant, a small one, at home. No consolation for the disappointment at the Gardens, but a useful reference and resource for drawing, nontheless.  Here’s a close-up of the male flowers spilling creamy pollen over the leaves.

sarcococca-ruscifolia

The tiny amount of pollen provided me with the impetus to record this anther pollen color in a drawing, as part of my self-appointed work to explore and learn more about the plants that bees love. Dorothy Hodges (Pollen Loads of the Honeybee) lists 20 very early blooming plants and trees, but Sarcococca is not part of her record. So, although I could not use Hodges as a guide here, I started the pollen work with the Sarcococca.

detail-Sarcococca-rustifolia

Detail of pollen drawing in encaustic

Sarcococca-ruscifolia-drawing

Sarcococca ruscifolia 24″x 36″ graphite, soft pastel, encaustic on mylar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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