The Monarch And The Bee

On a sunny October afternoon, the Frostweed, Verbesina virginica, is in full bloom mode.

A stately native perennial to Texas and other places as well, Frostweed attracts  those who pollinate for a living. This Monarch butterfly, Danaus plexippus, no doubt on his way to Mexico, rests on the Frostweed,


…while sipping nectar to re-fuel for the rest of his long trip.  He’s only the third or fourth Monarch to visit my gardens.  I hope there will be more.

One of my hived honeybees graciously shares her food bar space with the migrating Monarch.

There are plenty of life-giving, yummy nectar and pollen rich blossoms this time of year. In beekeeper-speak, Central Texas is experiencing nectar flow, meaning lots of honey is being produced because there are so many flowers in full, autumn flush.

In concert with the blooming Frostweed, GoldeneyeViguiera dentata, is another native perennial at its height in flowering.

My forager honeybees don’t travel far to find what they need for their hive,

…while Goldeneye conjures rays of sunshine in the garden.  Oh happy autumn blooms!


15 thoughts on “The Monarch And The Bee

  1. Wow that is some happy looking frostweed and goldeneye, both. Your bees are lucky to be housed in such well provisioned quarters. And if butterflies like blooms in profusion it is no wonder you keep getting the nicest visitors there! I’d be envious but like certain football teams my main garden beds are in a rebuilding phase, so I’ll just keep my hopes pinned on next season!


    • I should have titled this post “The Monarch and the Bees”–plural on the second species! That Frostweed is just the best pollinator plant. It’s active morning, noon and night (okay, maybe not night!) with critters sippin’-n-slurpin’. I’ve had several insect species visiting the various stands of Frostweed in my gardens. Interestingly, plenty of bees are in my gardens this year, but not butterflies, so that’s a disappointment. A few, here and there. have visited, but not that many. You will reap the benefits of a more discipline, well thought out garden next year, much like certain football teams in the same rebuilding phase!


  2. Such beauty. Thanks for sharing. Second spring is in full force. There are flowers blooming everywhere. I amsure your bees are as happy as can be. Love your frostweed. Do yours do ‘cool’ tricks when it gets frosty? Ive seen some spectacular pictures elsewhere.


    • You are more than welcome! “Second spring”–I like that and it’s so appropriate for our place in the world. The bees are very happy, or at least busy, indeed! I have seen the ice sculptures that frostweed is named for, though mine are just maturing this year. When I worked at ZBG and I’d be at the gardens the morning after a freeze, the many frostweed plants there were “bursting at the seams” with ice sculptures. Wish I’d thought to get photos of them..


    • My two original plants were four inch pots from a local nursery, Barton Springs Nursery. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center usually has them in their fall and spring plant sales and you can get seeds from Wildseed Farms. Check out local nurseries first, before you order online.


      • Thanks! I’m close to Shoal Creek Nursery and they don’t have a super great stock of the more unusual natives. Good excuse to visit Barton Springs!


      • Hey, I’m near Shoal Creek Nursery too! Yeah, I know what you mean. It’ll be worth a trip to BSN. The WC’s plant sale is this coming weekend (I think?), so that’s a possibility. Good luck!


      • Hey neighbor! Ooooh, I could swap you some giant purple canna or agave pups for some frost weed babies… 😉


  3. What beautiful fall bloomers. I only have one frostweed plant in the garden but it is also in full bloom. Makes me wish I had more. The bees do love it. It is so nice to have new flowers to look forward to in the fall.


    • Your frostweed will probably seed out–that’s what my original one or two have done. I love free plants! The bees adore this plant–there are always several bees working a set of blooms!


  4. That swath of Goldeneye took my breath away! Wow! I had heard that butterflies like Frostweed. I think I’m too far north for it, but I’ve seen it featured on several blogs. Does your Frostweed form those beautiful ice sculptures when it freezes? Lovely photos, lovely post. 🙂


    • Yes it does, Beth. The trick for me is to get out early enough the morning after a hard freeze, before it warms, to see the ice sculpture of Frostweed. Those sculptures are so beautiful!


    • Oh, that is so heartening! I’d heard that from other people, but thanks for the heads up. There are plenty of blooms, just waiting, waiting for them. I haven’t had that many butterflies this year–of any sort. Some, just not that many.


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