Bees in Bloom

I suppose the title should read:  Bees in Blooms.

Bees of all stripes and wings are active in the late summer garden, sticking their probosces into the depths of flowers and reveling in pollen. This week, I’m crowning the honeybees as the winners of the bee beauty pageant. From a purely self-interested standpoint, honeybees are significantly easier to photograph, as they’re not speed fliers, nor teeny-tiny, like most of the native bees.

A preferred nectar source for honeybees are the charming blooms of the Coral Vine, Antigonon leptopus.

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I grow one small bit of this vine and from late summer into fall, the bees are all over it, all the time.  Tagged as an invasive plant here in Texas, as well as some other southern states, in all the years I’ve grown my vine I’ve only seen two or three seedlings develop. That said, I probably wouldn’t grow it if I live in a rural area and not smack-dab in the middle of a city, at some distance from a green belt.  Rural gardeners should steer clear of this plant and choose native-to-region plants instead.

Honeybees enjoy the flowerets of FrostweedVerbesina virginica, a native perennial best known as a migrating Monarch butterfly favorite and a post hard-freeze ice-sculpture plant.

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Majestic sageSalvia guaranitica, is lush with its royal blooms this wetter-than-normal summer.   Typically, I see one or two native bee species at this plant, but honeybees have shown interest in stealing nectar.

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ZexmeniaWedelia texensis, always hosts a variety of  native pollinators who work its cheery yellow blooms;  honeybees are included in that mix.

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Garlic chivesAllium tuberosum, recently began their short bloom cycle in my garden, but it didn’t take long for the honeys to find them.

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I wonder what garlic honey might taste like?  Mmmm!

 

Another perennial preference of honeybees and many other pollinators is the Rock rosePavonia lasiopetala.  I like this back-lit shot with the early morning sun, setting bee and bloom aglow.

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As well as this shot, which simply highlights both–and the foliage, as well.

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An impulse buy from a nursery a couple of years ago as I observed honeybees clamoring for nectar from its blooms, is this Shrubby blue sageSalvia ballotiflora.

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I’d say that the bee is busy and content with its bounty.  The Shrubby blue sage also attracts several species of native carpenter bees, as well as a variety of butterflies.

 

The native-to-South Texas, Yellow bellsTacoma stans, always has bee visitors, but rarely (or so it seems)  at the angle that I can easily photograph.  No bees at this bloom cluster, but these flowers always please.

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A bee-less photo, but of a great bloomer and nectar source for many different pollinators.

 

Another bee-less photo is of blooming Garlic chives and in the background, a purple blooming Autumn sageSalvia greggii.

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 Both typically have pollinators in attendance; I happened to catch the combo in a quiet moment.

I thank Carol at May Dreams Garden for hosting this monthly bloom bonanza known as Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day.  Join in, share your garden pretties, then click over to her lovely blog to see and learn about blooms from many places.

 

May Flowers

May flowers–it’s such a cliché–but one that I’m going to embrace on this balmy May bloom day. The pinks in my garden seem to be front and center at the moment. Dusty  pink blooms of this Red yucca,  Hesperaloe parviflora, pop against a backdrop of Soft-leaf yucca foliage.

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While the blooms adorning a different Red yucca bloom stalk flash a bit of yellow–just enough to keep things interesting.

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With abundant rain, the Rock rosePavonia lasiopetala, is flushed full of foliage growth, but the few first blooms are opening up,

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…and many more will follow during the long growing season.  In truth, this is a plant that is floriferous in moderate drought; lots of rain produces lots of leaves, but fewer blooms. No matter, our summers are reliably dry and the multitudes of Barbie-pink blooms will turn heads as they open early in the morning, close by mid-day,  throughout the long summer.

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The pollinators and the gardener will enjoy the on-n-off bloom cycles of this hardy, small shrub well into October.

Purple coneflower,  Echinacea purpurea (which look pink to me) are in full spring show.

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And the large shrub, Barbados Cherry,  Malpighia glabra, is blasting the garden with its clustered version of the pink and yellow combo.

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Additionally,  the Barbados Cherry blooms fill the air with a lovely fragrance.   You can’t smell the blooms while reading this post, but the fragrance is special–a May garden delight.

Barbados Cherry and Purple coneflower are pink pals in the garden.

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Pink does not rule all of my garden though.  The yellow (Aquilegia chrysantha) and yellow-red (Aquilegia canadensis) Columbines are on their way out, having bloomed since late February.  However, they’re still producing for the pollinators, with some energy set aside for future seed production.

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Columbines soldier on as spring wanes and the temperatures warm. A cool season plant here in zone 8b, I miss Columbines when they’re done, but always enjoy their fairy-like, shooting-star charm in the cool spring garden.

Heartleaf Skullcap,  Scutellaria ovata, is filling the back garden with drifts of grey and blue.

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While Majestic SageSalvia guaranitica, is truly grand in the royal blue it wears.

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Finally, the creamy blooms of Twistleaf yuccaYucca rupicola, have made their once-per-year appearance in the front garden.  Poised atop the tall (5 foot) stalk, they beckon to native and honeybees to sip and gather from their floral bounty.

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Once the blooms are done, I’ll trim the stalk–maybe drying it for further use as a stake for some wayward plant later in the year.   The foliage is handsome, year-round, lending structure and evergreen sturdiness to the garden.

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Somehow, I managed to choose photos of all these blooms with not a single pollinator in sight.  Pollinators are in the garden and in abundance–nectaring and pollinating, even if I didn’t capture that particular beauty in this round of photos!

Fortunate to live where May blooms are plentiful,  I thank Carol at May Dreams Garden for hosting this monthly bloom frenzy known as Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day.  Join in, share your garden pretties, then click over to her lovely blog to see and learn about blooms from many places.