Tag Archives: Mock Orange

A mantis buffet

At Upolu Airport, where I go walking a lot, there’s a mock orange hedge with a passion vine running through it. I check this hedge to see what’s happening on it and lately, it’s been overrun by flies. I don’t know why this is, but I wasn’t surprised when I noticed two praying mantises stationed in the hedge. They were having a field day.

The flies would flit around as flies do, but when one settled, a mantis would strike. Their success rate was quite high, but the flies were easy targets. The safest place to be was on one of the mantises, but that wasn’t a long term solution.

The scene remained the same over three or four days, and then, though the flies were still around, the mantises disappeared. I guess that’s understandable. I mean, how many flies do you think you could eat before you’d start looking for something different?

Bees on a mock orange

The mock orange next to the house has bloomed again. It does this several times a year, sometimes just parts of it, sometimes all of it. This latest bloom was the whole tree and when that happens the bees come out in force. Step outside, and a low hum fills the air as well as an intense aroma.

I take lots of photos, trying to capture something of interest to me, such as a bee approaching a flower (top), helicoptering in to land (middle), and getting stuck in (bottom). In the bottom photo, I was struck by the flat underside of the bee, not something I’d noticed before.

Blooming mock orange

Bee flying to a mock orange

Bee on a mock orangeThree or four times a year, the mock orange in the yard comes into bloom with a prolific show of small, white flowers and wonderful fragrance. During these times it’s a bee magnet and the whole tree buzzes from morning to night.

Posted in response to this week’s WordPress Photo Challenge ‘Prolific.’

Bee on mock orange

A bee approaches a mock orange flower.A bee on a mock orange flower.

There’s a large mock orange in the corner of the yard that blooms three or four times a year. Sometimes just a section produces flowers. Other times, the whole plant turns creamy white. I do notice the blossoms, but what usually alerts me to a new bloom is the scent. A breath of air in the right direction and the house fills with the aroma of mock orange.

The most recent bloom encompassed the whole plant and also highlighted another of the plant’s attention-getters. It hums. It’s not unusual to wake up and, once the din of roosters and cardinals and francolins have been weeded out, a steady background hum takes over. This is the bees working over the mock orange flowers.

The blooms last only a few days. When the wind blows, which it does often here, the white petals fall to the ground like snow. But while this latest bloom occurred during a calm spell, still the snow fell. When the flowers first began to fade, the bees continued to pile in and their busy harvesting knocked the petals off.

Now the plant is a quiet, glossy green again. The blooms are gone, the bees are gone, the scent is gone, this temporary frenzy over in a week. Until the next time.