Happy Industry.

For the last few weeks photinias have been full of blossom. They’re very common around here and we have an inherited photinia hedge at the back of our garden. It is becoming a bit overgrown and there are two opinions about how it should be cut, and so it is not being cut at all.

I know they are not very popular, being a cause of hayfever and possessing an unpleasant scent, but there is no denying the love that bees have for them.

I spent some time lurking with my camera trying to photograph the bees in the hedge (I have no sense of smell) and they proved very uncooperative subjects despite the fact that their saddlebags were so full, they could barely fly. As soon as had I found one to focus on, she would mysteriously disappear on a trajectory only she knew. The hedge was full of them: a wonderful spring sound of happy industry.

17 Comments Add yours

  1. Which Photinia is this?? They used to be very popular here and all were killed – it was P. frazerii, I think. Did not remember the flowers, so pretty! Do remember the smell…

    1. Jane says:

      Since we inherited it, I really don’t know what it is. I guessed Photinia robusta. It’s certainly robust in its habit and hardiness!

  2. Heyjude says:

    Looks a bit like blackthorn or hawthorn (which also has a vaguely musky scent). Anything that attracts the pollinators is good in my book. I would imagine that like most spring flowering shrubs it should have a light prune after flowering to keep it in shape.

    1. Jane says:

      It’s gone past the light prune stage! Also, the growth has been patchy, so it’s 2m tall in some spots and much lower in others. It’s turning into a big job. Luckily some of it is hidden by trees….out of sight out of mind!

  3. susurrus says:

    Bees do make a very happy, determined sound. I like watching them when the ivy flowers first open. They have an unusual scent too.

    1. Jane says:

      I never think of ivy flowering, I suppose because the leaves seem more prominent, and I don’t have any in my garden. The flowers are quite pretty.

  4. Kris P says:

    Happy bees make a happy and healthy garden! The Photinia certainly looks pretty in flower. The plants aren’t all that common here and I didn’t even know they bloom.

    1. Jane says:

      There have certainly been a lot of happy bees this floriferous spring! Photinia blooms massively and frothily. It’s quite often used as street trees in Sydney.

  5. hb says:

    A neighbor has a Photinia hedge–it’s quite good looking. Cool photo of the frothy flowers and the busy bee. If the pollinators are happy–it’s good.

    Certain local native shrubs I discovered belatedly make excellent hedges–now am transitioning removing non-natives to replace with some natives for the local birds and pollinators. Not instant. A longer term project.

    1. Jane says:

      Photinia does look good in a hedge, especially if it’s a well-kept one, because its bright red leaves really shine. Ours is not a well-kept hedge and is getting far too big.
      We have native plants here too, which make fantastic hedges and of course, are very hardy. I think your plan is a good one.

  6. You really can’t smell, Jane. I choose a different route rather than walk past a photinia.

    1. Jane says:

      😂 No I really can’t.

  7. Lovely photos Jane!

    1. Jane says:

      Thank you. I would have liked to have done better catching the bees in more shots, but couldn’t get them to cooperate!

  8. Very interesting flowers. The mass of flowers reminds me of the Autumn Clematis growing in the fence row. Bees (and a few other insects) are very difficult to photograph. They are so busy and have to time to pose for a photo. GREAT POST! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Jane says:

      I like that: ‘no time to pose for a photo’. So true!
      The plant itself is not so lovely, but the flowers are nice when you look closely at them.

  9. germac4 says:

    Lovely post, and so true that the bee has no time to pose! We have a Photinia hedge and the red leaves are very striking in spring (now that we trim it!) however, our Photinia flowers are not as pretty as yours, and as you say, likely to bring on hay fever.

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