I have some Stachys towards the bottom of the garden.
Not many people can resist stroking the soft furry leaves of Stachys.
But if you see patches on the stem or leaves that are lacking the hairs, it could be that you have an interesting bee in the neighbourhood.
Yesterday in the garden I noticed this Anthidium manicatum, or wool carder bee making repeated visits to my Stachys. She must have razor sharp mandibles as the stem is shaved in a firm downward movement.
She has now collected her bale and is about to fly back to her nest. I watched her arrive and it took less than a minute for her to roll up a ball of the soft fibres. I don’t know where she has her nest but last Setember one nested in one of my bee houses and I described it in my other blog A French Garden. Check out Mason bee hotels or houses to see where she nested.
It was not only the Anthidium that was interested in the Stachys.
As I waited for the Anthidium to return, I noticed an Anthophora furcata.
Stachys looks and incredibly soft and welcoming plant for bees.
I shouldn’t forget the Carpenter who passed by too but she gets everywhere!