It was a dismal summer and in the country we lamented the absence of butterflies and bees, nodding our heads gravely and tutting over the decline of insect species. Now it is September and unseasonably sunny and warm in Montreal. Two days ago during a visit to a Home Depot garden center, the cone flowers, delphinium and sedum were a cheerful sight. What was even more startling than the bright colours were the swarms of butterflies and bees enjoying the sunshine and pollen. I went so far as to encourage our cashier to go out to the plant section and enjoy the sight. “Like the botanical garden when the butterflies come to visit,” she remarked and really it was. I am not sure but I think this species is Painted Lady or Admiral. If anyone is sure let me know. I particularly liked the lace effect of the wings when they were closed.
Another welcome visitor this morning was the grasshopper sunning himself on my step. I like the geometry of the bar shadows. Can you see him in a strip of sunshine? I wanted to recite the Lafontaine verse, The Grasshopper and the Ant.
My neighbor who has urban bee hives reports a bit of trouble with her attempt to replace a queen bee with a young queen. It seems the procedure is to install a new queen after three years so that a good supply of eggs is kept constant. Quite a contrast to our monarchy. It seems that it can be perilous to be queen bee, however. The other bees killed the new queen and would only accept one the hive chose by itself. A rough sort of democracy. My grandson’s laconic remark on the regicide, “With reason!. Why would you trust a stranger.” I have a feeling that was translated directly from the French. It retains a certain Robespierre tone. Anyway, all this bother about the queen means that the bees are late making honey and that my dear friend will not break the record of 70 kgs. of clear and delicious honey and all from one little city hive.
Much to observe and be thankful for during these wonderful hot and sunny September days.