Art Works of the Week: In The Garden

Of Poppies and Bumblebees

By Cushla McGaughey

The Chamberlain poppyfield

My brother-in-law, military historian Howard Chamberlain, wears a poppy every day. Every year poppies grow in their garden.

One sunny morning, Finola went to investigate an unusually strong buzzing sound. She found their mini poppyfield in full bloom. Among the flowers, literally dozens of bumblebees were hard at work.

That afternoon the wind stripped the petals. The bumblebees too were gone. But overnight a fresh wave of poppy buds opened and the bumblebees returned in force.

Alongside is Finola’s close-up shot of a poppy-sated bumblebee, showing the heavily laden pollen bags.

Finola’s bumblebee close up

Honey bees have their priorities

By contrast, the sugar-water feeder in the Chamberlain garden was repeatedly besieged by honey bees. They came in their dozens, clustering around, over and under the feeder so thickly that the rightful tui visitors gave up in despair.

Of course, while those honey bees were bent on stealing sugar water, no pollination was going on.

Cushla’s poppy and bumblebee

Not a single bumblebee has ever been seen at the feeder.

It just goes to show that one bumblebee does indeed do the work of 50 honey bees.

For my part, I was inspired to design a special card with images from my original paintings.


Kia ora koutou Cushla and Finola
I often think about you and wonder where you are and what you are doing.
I’d love to catch up
Nga mihi

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