Karl Foord - Extension Educator, Horticulture
I just returned from a two week absence from my garden due to training and a vacation, and I was anxious to see how things had progressed.
The first thing I saw was an 'Autumn Blaze' maple volunteer on the edge of my sidewalk. Normally this would be simply a weed to pull, BUT in this case the maple leaves told an interesting story. The holes in the leaves were clearly the work of leaf-cutter bees (Megachile spp.) (photo 1). Notice that the holes cut by the bees have two different shapes. One shape is a circle (photo 2) best for plugging nesting holes, and another shape is oblong best for lining nesting holes (photo 3).
And sure enough the leaf-cutter bee was found working a flower on Hoary Vervain (Verbena stricta) (photo 4).
Also observed was an Andrenid bee on Birds-foot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus)
Another fascinating creature resident in the pollinator garden was a male Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa) coming in for a landing (photo 6) and perching after having caught prey (photo 7).
The garden continues to provide compelling theatre for the patient and observant. Please enjoy your garden!