We walked out to the garden today and discovered that the Fernleaf Peony has burst into bloom. And you could hear the buzzing from several feet away - the bees were all over the plant, visiting the pollen in every blossom. We have rarely seen such an invasion of bees on one plant.
The blooms were looking spectacular against the early morning sunlight. This is the first of the larger, showier flowers to bloom in our garden, so it's always a nice sign of spring in the garden, and much more to come.
The one plant we have has gotten quite large, and you can see how the leaves are extremely thin, giving rise to its name. This year it seemed to all burst into flower all in a single day.
I often find these pictures taken into the light give a unique view, even though it's tricky to get the right exposure.
The flowers were beautiful enough in their own right, but the bees were amazing, almost one on every flower, sometimes two or three, constantly moving, gathering the pollen. We'll always associate these blooms with a low buzzing sound from now on.
Here's one picture (of about 50) that is almost clear, showing the bright orange sack of pollen this bee has gathered, hanging beside its body. The bees were in such constant motion, it was hard to get a clear picture.
I've been watching this plant and saving these earlier pictures since it came out of the ground, a month ago today, because it looks so interesting as it grows. The shoots are all reddish at first, and stay that way for about three weeks.
Here's a little forest of them in early May. Their appearance at this stage is certainly unique.
By that time the flower buds were showing, though its taken them 3 weeks since to grown, turn green and finally burst into bloom.
These blooms will probably be with us for at least a few days, and hopefully a lot of bees will get fed! One of my favourite early plants in the garden.